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The Real Reason That Bart Allen Was In Smallville Instead Of Barry Allen

Before Stephen Amell's Oliver Queen ushered in a new heroic age on the CW with 2012's Arrow, there was a popular, self-contained series that gave DC fans their weekly dose of super-heroics and teen drama: Smallville. The series charted the early years of Clark Kent (Tom Welling), introducing a host of other DC heroes and villains along the way. This universe's Green Arrow (Justin Hartley) stole the spotlight once he became entangled in Clark's life, acting in a Batman-like capacity by funding the various heroes and their missions to stop the likes of Lex Luthor, Checkmate, and Doomsday.

One of the heroes who arrived in Smallville season 4 was a tracksuit-wearing version of the Flash, played by Kyle Gallner. But surprisingly, the Jennifer's Body star wasn't portraying everyone's favorite awkward crime scene investigator Barry Allen. Instead, he was playing Bart Allen. Comic readers will likely know Bart — otherwise known as Impulse — is Barry's grandson from the future. But in the Smallville continuity, Gallner's Bart has no ties to Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, or Wally West aside from a set of fake IDs referencing the previous speedsters. The character started as a mischievous young teen, before Clark's influence pushed him into joining the Justice League and working alongside the other heroes under the Impulse codename.

It's not like Barry's story wouldn't have worked on the series, but DC and Warner Bros. were saving the character for something bigger.

Barry Allen was off the table for Smallville

In an interview with KryptonSite back in 2004, Smallville showrunner Alfred Gough revealed that DC had only approved the use of Bart Allen in the series because there were already plans for the Flash in other mediums — namely, a movie being written by Batman Begins writer David S. Goyer. According to Goyer's now-deleted blog, the film would have followed Wally West after Barry Allen dies battling the Turtle.

Of all the villains in Barry's rogues gallery, it's the Turtle that does it? Fine, whatever. Anyway, in the planned movie, Wally would've then inherited his uncle's abilities as well as the mantle of the Flash, eventually embracing his own heroism. The film would've pitted him against another speedster: Hunter Zolomon, aka Zoom. It would be quite some time before Barry would be seen in theaters, first played by Ezra Miller in a Batman v Superman cameo appearance.

It makes sense that Smallville was allowed to introduce Bart instead of Barry, since other projects weren't likely to use the futuristic hero because he isn't the most popular member of the Flash's family. Of course, the main Scarlet Speedster eventually came to the small screen when Grant Gustin began playing Barry Allen. After Gustin's Flash appeared in a backdoor pilot in Arrow season 2, the CW greenlit the hero's own solo series. In season 7 of The Flash, audiences will meet a new version of Bart Allen in To All The Boys I've Loved Before star Jordan Fisher – but in the CW series, he'll be Barry and Iris West's son instead of their grandson.

All in all, while Kyle Gallner's Bart Allen appeared in only a handful of Smallville episodes, he still paved the way for future stories from everyone's favorite Scarlet Speedster.