I remember during the last few episodes of season 1

"Wells" aka Eobard Thawne states that he is not born until 100+ years in the future (I don't remember the exact year). However, Eobard despises Barry/The Flash, which is why he went back in time to murder him (and killing his mother instead). Clearly there is a pretty deep hatred/rivalry that has developed at some point in the future.

Which brings me to my main question:

How did The Flash/Barry and The Reverse Flash/Eobard Thawne ever become rivals if there is such a large age gap between the two of them? Surely Barry would be dead by the time Eobard is even born.

As far as I can tell, this isn't explained at all during the season and no characters ever acknowledge the fact which slightly irritated me through the last episode or 2. Did I miss something, or am I supposed to have some sort of knowledge of the comics?

  • 1
    You're not "supposed" or required to have any knowledge to watch the show. The origin of their rivalry has not been revealed in the tv-verse as of yet. We do, however, know that time travel is possible in the tv-verse (both from what we've seen and the whole "DC's Legends of Tomorrow").
    – phantom42
    Jul 31, 2015 at 17:48
  • 1
    It's much more fleshed out in the comics, assuming the show ends up following the same story (which they seem to be). I'll let someone else write up the full answer (my new job tragically doesn't allow for nearly as much SE time), but the short answer: Thawne clearly time-travels easily, and even Barry can time travel when necessary. There are plenty of opportunities for them to run into each other.
    – Nerrolken
    Jul 31, 2015 at 17:49
  • @phantom42, that's what I assumed at one point. But that's also what confused me, when nobody questioned it at all. Jul 31, 2015 at 17:51
  • Related (if not duplicate) question on Movies and TV stackexchange: movies.stackexchange.com/questions/37132/…
    – onewho
    Jul 31, 2015 at 18:01

3 Answers 3


I don't think this has been explained on the show yet, so the only thing we can do is fall back on the source material and hope it's similar.

In the comic books, Thawne's hatred for The Flash was a typical example of a predestination paradox. Eobard Thawne initially considered The Flash (the Barry Allen version) a hero, and spends a lot of his early life trying to replicate the Speed Force. He even manages to acquire Allen's treadmill -- the thing (in the comics) that lets Barry time travel.

Unfortunately, to get to that point, Thawne (or, more often, future versions of Thawne) end up killing a whole bunch of people, or otherwise doing very bad things in the past. When Thawne actually travels back in time to meet Barry Allen, he goes to The Flash museum and sees an exhibit to himself -- as The Flash's greatest villain, Professor Zoom.

This basically drives Thawne insane, and he starts to go around pretending to be Barry Allen, and fights alongside Wally West (The Flash at the time -- Thawne had accidentally sent himself to a point after Crisis on Infinite Earths when the real Barry Allen had vanished and was presumed dead.) Eventually, though, Wally figures out that he's not really Barry Allen, and sends him back to his own time. When Thawne gets back, he doesn't remember anything about what happened to him, but he's still crazy, and now has a deep-seated and unexplained hatred for Barry Allen.

  • So the whole thing is just a crazy obsession with wanting to be another Flash like Barry, but things don't go his way (which isn't 100% known what happened with him) and therefore blames the whole mishap on Barry/original Flash? Jul 31, 2015 at 18:04
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    yes, that's most of it, but also, Thawne's insane. It's kind-of implied that all the times he traveled into his own past and killed people that were in his way turned him into the kind of guy who would go back and kill people -- a predestination or ontological paradox, not unusual in time travel stories. When he finally went back in time and saw that he became a villain, he snapped; he tried to be a hero, and that failed, and now he hates the hero he was trying to be.
    – KutuluMike
    Jul 31, 2015 at 18:06
  • Maybe this would be better suited as another question or was explained, but if Barry gets his powers because Eobard wanted to create him, how did he originally get his powers to inspire Eobard in the first place? Was the original accelerator built by the real Wells doomed to failure anyway? Jul 31, 2015 at 18:12
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    That's a different question and it might even have been asked here, but Wells always makes the accelerator and it always explodes. Thawne only makes it happen years earlier than it was supposed to. That's why he picked Wells to impersonate in the first place.
    – KutuluMike
    Jul 31, 2015 at 18:16
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    It's also classic displacement (scapegoating)... Psych 101. Thawne is obsessed with Barry Allen, but the harder he tried to do "good" things (like replace the dead Allen) and be a hero, the more things went wrong. In Thawne's mind, it simply cannot be his OWN fault, so he instead imprints everything onto Barry Allen. Somehow, every bad thing that ever happened to Thawne becomes The Flash's fault.
    – Omegacron
    Jul 31, 2015 at 18:51

This has since been explained in the TV show (can't remember off hand the episode number in Season 2), where Thawne tells Barry that

he wanted to be a speedster hero in his own time, and he had figured out time travel to come back and meet his hero, the Flash. Records are less than complete where he's from, and it wasn't until he had come back he discovered that he was the arch enemy of the Flash, that it was his destiny to become the Reverse Flash.

And so having discovered this, Thawne decided to be the absolute reverse of everything Barry was and stood for.

It's implied though not outright stated that he went back to his own time for a while, and occasionally met/fought Barry before finally coming back to the point where he killed Nora Allen, lost his speed and killed/became Harrison Wells, and Season 1 begins...

  • Welcome to SFF. Nice job providing an update with new information to an older question!
    – Skooba
    May 5, 2016 at 13:00

barry is a meta-human. With super advanced healing powers, meta-humans can surely live much longer than normal humans because most of damages done by ageing processes would be repaired efficiently.

Note: The case is similar to that of Wolverine who has lived for centuries.

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