We now know that Robbie Amell is Deathstorm in The Flash, but what will that mean for Team Flash and the Series?
Yesterday Entertainment Weekly confirmed in an interview with Executive Producer Andrew Kriesberg that Robbie Amell would return as Ronnie Raymond in an upcoming episode of The Flash. But fans were thrown when Kriesberg also revealed that Ronnie, a resident of Earth 2, would no longer be Firestorm but rather Deathstorm. Based on the name, I’m sure most people can guess that Deathstorm is a villain, but other than that…
Who is Deathstorm?
In the recent (but retconned) pre-New 52 timeline of DC Comics, Ronnie Raymond was dead and Jason Rusch (the comic parallel to Jax in The Flash) had taken up the Firestorm Matrix with someone else. During the major event series Blackest Night (and subsequently Brightest Day), an empowered force of death known as Black Lanterns spread chaos by reanimating numerous superheroes who had died (by this point, DC Comics had a lot of dead heroes). One of those heroes was Ronnie Raymond, who immediately began tormenting Jason Rusch. Ronnie killed Jason’s new partner and forcibly fused into the Firestorm Matrix with him, only instead of becoming the hero, the fusion left them as the Deathstorm.
In the New 52 (i.e. the current comic canon), the Martin Stein of Earth 3 is somewhat of a mad scientist (yes, this is all a little weird, but bear with me). Rather than finding a partner to form the traditional Firestorm Matrix, this Martin Stein fuses his own body with that of a corpse to make Deathstorm. Not only is that creepy (and I dare say ill-advised), it was also the recipe for evil.
So what we now know is that the Ronnie Raymond of The Flash is no longer a good guy (Earth 2 really has a way of turning nice people into villains). So now we should be asking…
Which Version of Deathstorm will we get?
First and foremost, I think it’s safe to assume there will not be a Blackest Night event on the CW (much to my own disappointment). So the original origin story for Deathstorm seems to be completely off the table. Does that mean we will see Ronnie Raymond of Earth 2 fuse with a corpse? Yikes. That sounds…dark.
A theory posed by TheArrowverse.com points out that earlier in the series we see Martin Stein’s fire glow blue when he is unable to merge with Ronnie in the matrix. Of course, the pre-New 52 Deathstorm has blue flames rather than the red ones that Firestorm is known for. Furthermore, in the show these blue flames ignite to indicate that Martin is dying, linking the “death” part of Deathstorm to the show.
The theory is that if Ronnie of Earth 2 was unable to merge with anyone, the blue flame of the firestorm matrix would kill him and unleash the evil version of the hero. Maybe there was no Martin Stein on Earth 2, or Stein died in the process of fusing. Multiple iterations would lead to the villain coming to life (well, not life, but you get the picture).
Overall, it’s likely that the Deathstorm we will see on the CW will be nothing like the comic book incarnations. For one thing, we have seen a set photo of Robbie Amell looking like…well, Robbie Amell instead of the flaming skull monster that Deathstorm is in the comics.
Does his being Deathstorm mean Ronnie died?
In the comics, Deathstorm is directly linked to death, so seemingly someone must have died around the circumstances of Earth 2 Ronnie’s becoming the villain. In The Flash, Ronnie of Earth 1 is lost in the void of the multiverse breach that opens over Central City. By all appearances, Earth 1 Ronnie is dead. So, could that contribute to Earth 2 Ronnie becoming Deathstorm? Or is the Ronnie of Earth 2 really just Earth 1 Ronnie transported through the breach, either dead or alive?
In Ronnie’s Earth 1 origin, the particle accelerator explosion that later gives him his powers put him in a coma, near death. It would be no stretch to assume Ronnie of Earth 2 might have had a similar experience, only what if the explosion killed him? That would leave how he got reanimated a mystery still, but The Flash (and CW DC shows as a whole) have never had too much problem solving the problem of death.
It could also be possible that either the Martin Stein or Jax Jackson of Earth 2 may have died (the particle accelerator explosion seems like the most logical cause). If they were then fused with Ronnie Raymond, the Firestorm Matrix would become Deathstorm instead.
Earth-2’s Infamous power couple?
Andrew Kreisberg not only revealed Ronnie’s current identity as Deathstorm, but also confirmed that the Ronnie Raymond and Caitlin Snow of Earth 2 are still a couple. We already know that Caitlin on Earth 2 is the villain Killer Frost, set to appear in an episode where Barry comes to the alternate Earth. This seems to imply that the two villains, Deathstorm and Killer Frost, are more or less a dastardly duo. This feels like a rewarding parallel to the relationship Ronnie and Caitlin had on Earth 1. To see them not only as villains, but still together will shake up the series for the characters a great deal.
Will Death(storm) be here to stay?
There is plenty of mystery still surrounding Ronnie Raymond now that we know he will be Deathstorm on The Flash. I’m certain we will get all of these answers and more, but one question in particular has a large baring on the future of the series: Will Deathstorm remain in the universe or will Ronnie Raymond’s return be only a one-off appearance?