Say goodbye to the Elongated Man — for now. The Flash showrunner Eric Wallace revealed how the CW drama will handle the exit of Hartley Sawyer’s character, Ralph Dibny, following the actor’s June firing.
“We’re going to treat it like we would if we were writing a comic book graphic novel,” the producer told Entertainment Weekly in an interview posted on Monday, August 24. “We’re giving the Elongated Man a bit of a rest for a while. But we will leave the door open. Who knows what the future could bring. It is unknown.”
He added that that does not mean the end of the character, but they “don’t know when he will return, or in what form he will return.”
The writers did want to “honor” the character before saying goodbye, which they plan to do when season 7 begins.
“Thank goodness, Ralph is a guy who can change faces and his appearance in many ways. Without giving any spoilers away, 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 revealed. “I guess technically it would be a recasting, but the character won’t be a big part of season 7.”
In June, The CW announced their decision to fire Sawyer, 35, days after old racist and homophobic tweets by the actor resurfaced. The tweets, which have since been deleted, included sexist comments — “All women should be in sex farms” and “If I had a wife I would beat the hell out of her tonight lol” — and racially charged comments “The only thing stopping me from doing mildly racist tweets is the knowledge that Al Sharpton would never stop complaining about me,” he tweeted in June 2012.
Shortly after the ousting, the Young and the Restless alum shared a lengthy apology via his social media, noting that his past tweets “are not reflective of what I think or who I am now” but he does take responsibility.
“I’m not here to make excuses — regardless of the intention, my words matter and they carry profound consequences. And mine can and have caused pain and embarrassment, along with feelings I can only imagine, to supporters and fans, my cast mates, the crew, my colleagues and friends. I owe them all an apology. And I owe each of you an apology. Thank you for holding me accountable,” Sawyer wrote via Instagram at the time. “My words, irrelevant of being meant with an intent of humor, were hurtful, and unacceptable. I am ashamed I was capable of these really horrible attempts to get attention at that time. I regret them deeply. This was not acceptable behavior. These were words I threw out at the time with no thought or recognition of the harm my words could do, and now have done today.”
The Flash returns to The CW in 2021.