Why The Flash season 10 isn't happening

The Flash was the most popular show in The CW's history, so why did it end before it reached the 10-season mark?
The Flash -- “Hear No Evil” -- Image Number: FLA902a_0154r -- Pictured: Grant Gustin as The Flash -- Photo: Colin Bentley/The CW -- © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
The Flash -- “Hear No Evil” -- Image Number: FLA902a_0154r -- Pictured: Grant Gustin as The Flash -- Photo: Colin Bentley/The CW -- © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

When it comes to superhero TV shows, The Flash is unmatched; or at least it was in its earlier seasons. The DC TV series premiered on The CW back in 2014 as the second installment in its ever-growing Arrowverse franchise and it broke a number of records, quickly becoming its biggest hit ever.

Starring Grant Gustin, the show focused on the adventures of Barry Allen, who had been granted the gift of super-speed, as he saved the citizens of Central City (and sometimes even the multiverse itself) from major supernatural threats that only The Flash could save them from. As the Scarlet Speedster, Barry encountered many infamous foes over the course of the series, battling evil speedsters, giant monsters, and even a twisted version of himself.

The Flash enjoyed a lengthy run of nine seasons, so why didn't it return for a tenth? There are multiple reasons for that, and the underpinning point to all of that seems to be: It was simply time for it to end.

Grant Gustin wanted The Flash to end with season 9

For the vast majority of its run, The Flash was the most-watched show on The CW. It dominated Tuesday nights throughout its first six seasons and even when its numbers fell off, it was always among the three most-watched programs on the network. It was also incredibly successful for Warner Bros, both due to the Netflix deal it had in place in the US and selling it for international broadcasts. So make no mistake about it, The Flash wasn't cancelled due to ratings.

But when a show is incredibly successful, it can go on for a very long time, which is exactly what The Flash did. That can understandably get tiring for the cast, crew, and writers putting it together, which is what happened to star Grant Gustin.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the actor revealed that he had initially wanted to end the show with its eighth season, particularly because predecessor Arrow bowed out with eight seasons too, but he was ultimately convinced to suit up one more time. But for him, season 9 would be the last one.

"I just knew it was time for me to step away, have more time with my family, and just enter this next chapter of my life."

Grant Gustin

Gustin wasn't the only one who felt this way, as Candice Patton (who played Iris West on the show) was also ready to leave after season 9, revealing to EW that she was relieved when Grant told her it was ending as she "didn't want to leave before everyone else".

Even though Gustin was the star of the show, he wasn't sure if they would find a way to carry on without him as Barry Allen. After all, Barry Allen isn't the only Flash in the DC Comics, and we now know that the Supergirl showrunners were interested in doing a seventh season of that show when star Melissa Benoist was ready to end the series (and The CW ultimately passed on that idea). But it seems that was never on the table for The Flash as there were things going on behind-the-scenes at both The CW and Warner Bros. that would have likely shortened its run anyway.

The changes at The CW and WB would have eventually ended The Flash

As understandable as it was that the cast was ready for The Flash to end, it is a shame that it never quite got the chance to make it to season 10. The thing is, even if the cast did agree to return for another season, it still may have ended up concluding with season 9 as there were major changes going on in the background at both The CW network and Warner Bros.

With The CW being sold to Nexstar, its new owners were cleaning house in a bid to rebrand the network. The Flash was one of the shows renewed ahead of their takeover, which honestly isn't surprising considering both its popularity and legacy, and that made it one of the lucky few to avoid the cancellation spree of May 2022 and get the chance to end on its own terms.

So while it was renewed for a ninth season, it was subsequently confirmed that season 9 would be its last and that it would consist of just 13 episodes. Nexstar weren't interested in making superhero shows, particularly because of their hefty budgets, and they also weren't interested in having more than 13 episodes in each respective show's seasons.

The Flash season 9, The Flash season 10
The Flash -- “It's My Party And I'll Die If I Want To” -- Image Number: FLA909b_0185r -- Pictured (L - R): David Ramsey as Spartan, Stephen Amell as Green Arrow, Grant Gustin as The Flash and Keiynan Lonsdale as Kid Flash -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Meanwhile, even if The CW were interested in making more seasons, Warner Bros.' merger with Discovery resulted in new leadership there too. That new leadership resulted in the cancellation of other Arrowverse shows such as Batwoman and DC's Legends of Tomorrow. Those two were supposed to survive the aforementioned cancellation spree as former CW president Mark Pedowitz wanted them renewed ahead of the Nexstar takeover, but Warner reportedly didn't want to pay the leases for the studio space anymore. And now The CW's last remaining DC TV show, Superman and Lois, is also ending prematurely because Warner Bros. Discovery doesn't want it competing with James Gunn's new Superman movie.

WBD want a single, shared, cohesive universe of DC superheroes and villains, so the remaining relics of the previous leadership were being phased out. With that in mind, it's unlikely that The Flash would have gotten a tenth season even if The CW and the cast wanted it to happen. The Arrowverse had been obliterated by both new regimes, and The Flash was the last remaining part of that; so it's better that it got the chance to go out on its own terms with a definitive series finale rather than leaving it open and risking cancellation.

The final season of the show was not well-received by fans, with criticism directed towards its repetitive "graphic novel" format, the surprising number of filler episodes for a 13-episode season, the handling of the newer, less interesting Team Flash characters, and the lack of focus on a single, coherent storyline. Nevertheless, there were moments of brilliance throughout, particularly the ninth and tenth episodes, and that final shot of the Scarlet Speedster racing through Central City is exactly what the final shot should have been. And that alone made the final season worth it; because The Flash got to bow out on its own terms.

What an incredible legacy the show has left behind.

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