Wednesday, August 24, 2016

THE FLASH Casts Todd Lasance as The Rival

Savitar?  Nope, try again...

TVLine reported late yesterday that The CW series The Flash has cast Todd Lasance as DC Comics supervillain The Rival.  Several news sites originally reported that Lasance was playing a different villain, Savitar, until this was debunked by Flash executive producer Greg Berlanti on his official Twitter account.

The Rival will be a recurring character who first appears in the Season 3 premiere, "Flashpoint."

Lasance, 31, is an Australian actor probably best known as Julius Caesar on Spartacus: War of the Damned and as Julian on The Vampire Diaries.  In addition, he's appeared on episodes of Home and Away, McLeod's Daughters, Rescue: Special Ops, and ANZAC Girls.

Created in 1949 by John Broome and Joe Kubert, The Rival first appeared in Flash Comics #104 as Dr. Edward Clariss, a professor at the university attended by the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick, who recreated the formula that gave Garrick his speed, which he called "Velocity 9".  Clariss had heard the Flash's girlfriend, Joan Williams, talking about how the Flash gave his speed to another student, which helped him develop the formula.  Bitter at the scientific community's rejection of his claims, Clariss became a criminal.  He wore a darker version of Flash's outfit and gave it to several other criminals. The Rival's version of the formula proved to be temporary, however, and he was defeated and jailed.

Through unexplained methods, Clariss regained the power of super speed.  During a second battle with the Flash, Clariss reached light speed and vanished into the Speed Force.  Following the reformation of the Justice Society of America fifty years later, Johnny Sorrow retrieved Clariss from the Speed Force and invited him to join the new Injustice Society in 2000's JSA #16. The Rival, driven insane by his time in the Speed Force, raced across the country on a super-speed killing spree.  The Flash realized that the Rival's path across the country spelled out Clariss' name, and that the final murder would be Jay's wife, Joan Garrick.  The Flash later absorbed the Rival's speed before he could kill Joan.

The Rival eventually returned, posing as Joan's doctor.  Now pure speed energy, he possessed Jay's fellow Golden Age speedster Max Mercury.  After battling Jay and Impulse, the Rival escaped via time travel to an unknown destination, still in possession of Mercury's body.  In The Flash: Rebirth #4, Max Mercury escaped from the Speed Force and was rejuvenated by Wally West's energy, allowing him to return to Earth in a new corporeal body. Following the events of Flashpoint that altered the timeline, it's unclear what happened to the Rival and Max Mercury's original body.

The Flash Season 3 premieres October 4th on The CW at 8:00 p.m. EST.

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