Created by writer Gerry Conway and artist Al Milgrom in 1978, the character of Firestorm came into being when high-school student Ronnie Raymond and physicist Martin Stein were caught in a nuclear accident that fused them into a ’nuclear man’, with Ronnie’s body sharing his mind with Stein.
Teased in ‘The Flash vs Arrow’ and ‘The Man In The Yellow Suit’, the character took centre stage The Flash Episode 12, ‘The Nuclear Man’, and Episode 13 ‘Fallout’, with Robbie Amell (The Tomorrow People) as Raymond and veteran actor Victor Garber as Stein.
We caught up with DC’s other Amell to find out more…
Usually there’s an origin story for characters like Ronnie. You don’t get one. How tough is it to find the character in that circumstance?
In my first three episodes you saw a couple of different versions of the character, none of which is what he’s going to be. The real-life version you saw in the flashbacks was just Ronnie Raymond as a normal guy. Then you see this schizophrenic homeless-looking guy who’s got two people fighting for control of his mind – myself and Martin Stein. And it’s not going to get a whole lot easier quickly.
How do you view Ronnie Raymond?
The fun part about the flashbacks, and the main thing we wanted to get across, was that Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) and Ronnie are in love and they’re engaged, and you get this relationship. I think that’s the closest that Ronnie is going to be like after the smoke clears. He’s a little goofier than you’d expect – it’s not all dark and weird like it is at the moment dealing with two minds inside his head. In episodes airing in February [in the US], you get what’s our origin story, in a sense.
You get a feel for what happened, pretty much from the blast on, and what we’ve been dealing with. For the first time, one of the minds takes control of the body significantly better than the other one. It becomes more true to the comic-book once Tom Cavanagh’s character Dr Wells tells us, “Let it happen.”
As long as we both accept that we’re going to merge, that’s when it becomes Ronnie controlling the body with Stein’s brilliance and voice inside his head. Of course, if you can imagine having somebody’s voice in your head at all times, I’m sure it would get pretty old.
When the smoke clears and Firestorm is Firestorm, how do you define him as a hero?
I don’t think we’ve seen Firestorm as a hero yet. You’ve seen kind of a scared version of Ronnie Raymond who’s really just trying to figure out how to get his life back. Part of that means leaving for a little while and honing our abilities and learning how to do things in a safe way.
Firestorm is so powerful, the nuclear energy and the possibility of going nuclear and just exploding is dangerous. We need to learn how to use these abilities and harness our powers without putting the people around us in danger. For the most part you’ve got two people in Martin and Ronnie who really wish they could have their lives back with their significant others – Martin’s wife and Ronnie’s fiancee.
At the same time Caitlin doesn’t have a normal life anymore either, and he couldn’t go back even if he wasn’t a superhero. It’s the old ‘With great power comes great responsibility’, and it’s time to take some of that responsibility and become the hero that I want to see him become.
The Flash is airing now on Tuesday nights on Sky1 in the UK. Read all about the rise of TV’s Justice League in issue 103 of SciFiNow. For more on the comics that inspire the series, pick up our 100 All-Time Greatest Comics bookazine now!