Elongated Man To Take A ‘Flash’ Sabbatical; Sue Dearbon To Stick Around
by Erik Amaya
If there was one thing missing from The Flash‘s DC FanDome presentation on Saturday, it was clarity about Ralph Dibny’s future.
Formerly played by actor Hartley Sawyer, the character was just beginning his love story with Sue Dearbon (Natalie Dreyfuss) and working out a way to clear her of a murder wrap when production on the series suspended during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Then things got more complicated when Sawyer lost his job.
Just after production went dark, old social media posts by Sawyer emerged featuring “jokes” of an appalling misogynistic nature. There were also posts of sexist and racist bents as well. The actor was quickly fired with showrunner Eric Wallace vowing his set would be a safe space and the sort of humor Sawyer churned out in the past would not be tolerated.
Since Sawyer’s termination, Ralph’s fate has been in flux. But according to EW, the character will be taking an extended leave.
While talking to Wallace about the character, the executive producer told the site, “We’re giving the Elongated Man a bit of a rest for while. But we will leave the door open.” He went on to suggest a solution reflecting “the beauty of comic book stories” will emerge when and if they need Ralph to return.
In fact, it seems they may need to deploy that answer to wrap up the Season 6 storyline. “There are a couple of ways that we can have Elongated Man still appear in at least one episode this season to wrap that storyline up, that gets us what we need and still allows fans to say goodbye to the character, at least for the indefinite future,” Wallace said. Curiously, he was reticent to call this plan a recasting as Ralph will be absent after the first episode or two. A storyline intended to feature the character has been transferred to another series regular and Wallace hinted the amended plot will make this mystery character a lot stronger across the upcoming season.
Which just leaves the question of Sue Dearbon and Natalie Dreyfuss — will they have a place in The Flash future? “You’re going to see Sue more than once this year even without the Elongated Man — on her own, making appearances, and helping Team Flash in an unexpected way,” Wallace said. “And it’s just going to be hilarious because she was so much fun.”
We’re glad to hear that. After much speculation about Sue since Sawyer first debuted as Ralph, Dreyfuss turned out to be better-than-expected casting. It will be interesting to see her grow as a character outside of her “Sue Dibny” context.
Of course, we hope the show will eventually find a Ralph worthy of her. Much like Ralph and Sue’s regular guest turns in 1990s DC Comics, we’d love to see the pair hit the road and guest on Superman & Lois or Batwoman.
The Flash returns in 2021.