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Your Flash Movie Theory Is Wrong - At Least For Now

This article contains spoilers for "The Flash"

Now that "The Flash" is finally out in theaters after years of languishing in development, one of the most popular fan theories regarding the film has been instantly disproven. Many fans expected the villain Eobard Thawne, aka Reverse-Flash, to rear his head, but they were, all of them, deceived.

Near the beginning of "The Flash," Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) is pushed out of the Speed Force by another speedster with purple energy signatures. This causes him to become stranded in a past, alternate-universe version of Earth in which the Justice League doesn't exist, leaving the planet vulnerable to General Zod's (Michael Shannon) invasion from "Man of Steel" since Superman (Henry Cavill) isn't there to stop him.

Brief hints of this rogue speedster were previously shown in trailers, leading many to speculate that he may be Reverse-Flash. But Reverse-Flash never makes an appearance. The gruesome creature hunting Barry when he enters the Speed Force turns out to be none other than an older version of the alternate, younger version of Barry.

During the climactic battle against Zod, as all hope seems lost, alternate Barry is convinced he can set things right if he keeps traveling back in time. But the more time travel attempts he makes, the more destruction occurs across the multiverse, as timelines collide and threaten to rip apart the fabric of spacetime. Moreover, alternate Barry keeps getting bits of metal and armor stuck to himself as he continues to travel back and forth through time, until eventually, he comes to resemble the monster seen near the front of the film.

But while fan predictions about the Reverse-Flash's appearance in "The Flash" turned out to be wrong, there's still much potential for the character to appear in future projects.

Reverse-Flash could still appear in the future

While the Reverse-Flash never shows himself in "The Flash," he's lurking around the edges of the film nonetheless. Those who know their comic book lore will recall that Barry's mom Nora was murdered by Reverse-Flash. Since that origin story seems to be mostly unchanged in "The Flash," it's probably safe to assume that the movie version of Nora Allen (Maribel Verdú) was also killed by the sinister speedster.

The events of "The Flash" taught Barry that messing with time can lead to horrific consequences. Simply sneaking a can of tomatoes into his mom's shopping cart leads to a world without Superman and dooms Earth to destruction at Zod's hand. Nevertheless, even after learning that lesson, he changes the past just enough to exonerate his dad Henry (Ron Livingston) for his mom's murder. But even that minuscule change is still enough to turn Batman from Ben Affleck into George Clooney, so it's possible that it also created a way for Reverse-Flash to make his way into Barry's timeline.

Reverse-Flash is a time traveler, and he'd most likely stalk Barry before engaging him in combat. A more careful reading of "The Flash" could give us clues as to how he might be introduced later down the line.

Have we seen Reverse-Flash without knowing it?

Although we are never introduced to Eobard Thawne in "The Flash," one possibility is that we saw him without realizing it. But in order to unpack that potentially hidden cameo, we have to remember some key details of Reverse-Flash's backstory.

Eobard Thawne comes from the future, and he was Flash's biggest fan. In fact, given that Thawne even got plastic surgery to resemble his idol more closely, he was a full-on Stan. But when he finally figured out how to travel back in time with the hope of meeting Flash, he discovered a museum exhibit declaring him Flash's archnemesis. The revelation drove Thawne to madness, and he decided to fulfill his destiny of battling Flash across time. Not only did he kill Flash's mom; he even got Barry's childhood dog killed by leaving a door open.

A similar time travel paradox creates the older, purple version of Barry in "The Flash." It was the older Flash who knocked the original Barry out of the Speed Force, causing him to find the younger version of himself and help that version gain powers. But when the younger Barry became fixated on going back in time to beat Zod, he became the purple Flash, which is when he knocked Barry out of the Speed Force.

Given the way time travel works in "The Flash," it's possible that Barry already met Eobard Thawne without knowing it. Could the chatty barista he got impatient with be a time traveler from the future? What about the guy Barry stole food from while running to work, who happens to be played by "Game of Thrones" star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau?

If a sequel to "The Flash" ends up happening, chances are high that Reverse-Flash will be zooming in to finally get some facetime with his hero-turned-enemy.