'The Flash': Candice Patton Dishes on Iris' Journey From Ace Reporter to Mirrorverse Villain! (Exclusive)

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It's time to reflect on Iris West-Allen's amazing season of The Flash!

The CW drama's sixth season ends tonight, but it's not the final episode fans were originally supposed to see. Back in March, the DC Comics–inspired showwas forced to shut down production due to coronavirus concerns.

Originally, season six of The Flash was going to comprise 22 episodes; however, due to the cast and crew's unexpected early wrap, episode 19, "Success Is Assured" will now serve as the season finale.

To help make up for the fact that this season was cut short, ET called up The Flash's leading lady, Candice Patton, over video chat for an exclusive, in-depth talk about Iris West-Allen's amazing evolution from ace reporter to Mirrorverse villain.

Plus, the 31-year-old actress opens up about the future of The Flash, her Iris "wish list" and what it meant to show off her natural curls this season!

We have been loving this season for Iris! We've waited so long to see "ace reporter" Iris. What did that mean to you to see her build up Team Citizen and declare that this is who she is, and this is what she's going after?  

Candice Patton: It was great! As you've said, we've had many, many talks over the last six years about Iris. Her being a reporter and her really having her own agency -- not just being a wife or a member of Team Flash, but you know, following in her passion and doing what she can to help Central City in her own way. So it was really exciting for me to see that, and to see [The Flash's showrunner] Eric [Wallace] bring in two other females to join Team Citizen. Diverse females. He really had this idea of this, kind of like, Charlie's Angels–empowered Team Citizen and so I was really excited about it. We have two great actresses that joined and it's been really, really good.

Seeing you rock your naturally curly hair this season as Iris was such a highlight. Talk to me about how that moment came about, and what that meant for you to be able to show your true self on camera.

I remember Eric had mentioned it was gonna be a really, really light episode for Grant and I. We would shoot, maybe, one day, if that -- I think it was like half a day -- and the premise was we were going on a little mini-vacation. And I thought, well this would be really easy to kind of do something different, if we wanted to, in terms of hair. And if it didn't work, it was something that we could quickly kind of move past -- but it was really exciting for me and nerve wracking for me! You know, it's something we haven't done on the show.

Being a woman of color and not having a lot of access to women of color doing my hair, and doing my natural hair, was a little bit scary, but they were very patient with me, and they made me feel comfortable -- and I think it turned out great! It seemed to have a really powerful, important response, which is what I wanted. I remember Jesse [L. Martin] saying to me, "If you can't wear your hair the way it grows out of your own head, then that's a problem." So I just felt like it was really important for me before I left the show -- whenever that ends -- that we saw Iris, and saw me, in my natural hair, which I wear often when I'm not on the show.

The Flash Iris West-Allen
The CW

Seeing you play Mirror Iris -- this alternate version of the character that you've been playing for the past six seasons -- has been so much fun to watch! When you were wrapping your head around crafting this new version of Iris, what did you want to get right?  

In the beginning, I was asking Eric, "How close is this version of Iris to the Iris we know and love?" And he was like, "98%." We wanted her to be believable enough that Barry would not catch on very quickly and that Team Flash wouldn't catch on. So I just wanted to build in these small, subtle nuances that the audience would see, and that maybe members of Team Flash would see that [seemed] a little off. You know, she is our Iris and there are parts of her that we know and recognize and love, but something is amiss. So I didn't want to go heavy-handed on like, "I'm a villain," but I just really wanted to build in small moments of like, yeah something's not right with her and she's not the Iris that we know and love. And just being able to play that, and being able to be a villain, like, I don't know how many opportunities I would have to do that on the show. It's been really, really fun -- everyone wants to be bad once in a while.

It was exciting to finally see that Barry did catch on and realize that she is not his wife. What was your reaction when you saw that Barry would eventually figure out the truth?

Yeah, it took a while, but I was, like everyone, relieved that he finally caught on. You know, we all want him to come save Iris. We all love Iris and want to get her out of the Mirrorverse. So, I was happy to read the script and was like, "It's finally in motion!" Everyone is finally catching on. We are gonna get her out of there.

As Iris has been stuck in the Mirrorverse, we've heard that her brain has been affected by this world. Do you think that this is something that might have long-term effects on her?  

Yeah, that's a great question, and it's something that I've been thinking about. I mean, even thinking about us being in quarantine for over a month, like, I'm going crazy. I think we're all going a little bit crazy -- so I can only imagine what it's like for Iris to be stuck in this mirror world with this sinister person, Eva McCulloch, and the damage that's gonna have on her mentally. Not to mention the ramifications of reading everything in mirror language and the long-term effects of that. And also feeling like, maybe there's some resentment that the team didn't figure it out soon enough or come get her sooner. I mean, there's so many aspects that we can play with. And how this could potentially affect Iris in the future.

The Flash
The CW

As we approach episode 619, which is now The Flash's season finale, there's still so much left up in the air! A lot of Flash episodes end on a cliffhanger, so technically this one will work as a finale, but how are you feeling knowing that this sixth season is cut short?  

I mean, it's bittersweet I think for everyone. I think the writers, and the actors, and the crew, and everyone involved saw what it was going to end like and, obviously, that's the version we wanted to give to the fans who love this show. But just given the current global situation, that's impossible -- so we kind of have to do the best with what we've got. And like you said, fortunately our show, kind of, always ends on a cliffhanger. I have no idea actually how they plan to kind of tie it up with a bow -- that's thankfully something I don't have to deal with -- but it's hard. It's not how we intended it to be, but we're gonna make the best of it. And I think, hopefully, the intention is to come back and resolve the story and pick up season 7 resolving everything that's happened in season 6.

How many more seasons do you see yourself playing Iris West-Allen on The Flash?  

I don't know. That's kind of up in the air. I know I'm contracted through season 7, so I've definitely got one more in me, contractually -- but, you know, anything's fair game after that. It's just part of where the show goes, what they want it to look like, and how I feel toward the end of season 7. There's a lot that kind of goes into why a show continues and stays on the air. If Grant and the other cast members want to stay. There's a lot of things to consider.  

What is still on your Iris wish list? What would you like to see from her?

I haven't really thought about that. That's a great question because I've never really thought of it coming to an end, like, I feel like it will just go forever. I mean, selfishly, I would love to relive her as a superhero. I would love to have one more, kind of, look at maybe her and Barry team up as a superhero team. I don't know. That would be something really cool to relive... Nora coming back! God, Jessica Parker Kennedy was just so great and such a great actress. She's just a lovely human being. Like, I would love to see in some way, us revisit that story, that character in a small way. You know, I'm always wanting Keiynan [Lonsdale] back, more of Jesse Martin, more of West-Allen family aspect of the show, which is the heart of the show. I think more of that is always better.

The Flash's season 6 finale airs tonight at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

Calling all WestAllen fans! Be sure to check ETonline or @LeanneAguilera's Twitter feed immediately after tonight's finale for a special exclusive featuring Grant Gustin and Candice Patton discussing Barry and Iris' romantic future in season 7.

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