Who Is Red Death in ‘The Flash’? Season 9 Villain Explained

red death flash featured

The Flash series entered its final season, and the season premiere already brought us some epic twists – and a new villain that has been teased for a while. The Red Death was revealed as the one behind Captain Boomerang, and although the character wasn’t actually named as such, we have enough to draw our own conclusions. So, who is Red Death in The Flash Season 9?

In the comics, Red Death is a version of Batman from an alternate universe that lost the battle against Gotham’s villains, so he went bad and went after the Flash to become the Speed Force’s avatar. In The Flash series, however, the character is pretty similar, but it’s not Batman – it’s a version of Batwoman.

The showrunners revealed they wouldn’t really follow any DC Comics storyline and that their Red Death will have a completely new origin story. However, seeing that the character is portrayed by none other than Javicia Leslie – who already portrayed the Ryan Wilder version of Batwoman in the Arrowverse, we have more than enough to piece some facts together. Let’s begin.

Who is Red Death in DC Comics?

In DC Comics, Red Death is an incredibly powerful character that entered the main universe’s timeline from an alternate dimension. Red Death was the other universe’s Bruce Wayne, who was Gotham City’s protector, Batman, just like Bruce Wayne from the main timeline.

However, this version of Bruce Wayne lost the battle with the villains and criminals of Gotham City, and the place fell into chaos. Batman survived, but many didn’t – including numerous allies of his. The grief and guilt he felt prompted Bruce to essentially lose his mind, thinking that the only way he could ever win was to become the avatar of the Speed Force.

red death comics

You guessed it – he went after the Flash, believing that his intelligence, experience, and superior combat skills would make him a much better Speed Force avatar. First, Batman killed Barry Allen’s enemies not to help the Flash but to steal their gear.

Then, he fought Barry, but instead of just taking the Flash’s powers, they inadvertently merged into a single person, with Batman’s mind and personality remaining in the driver’s seat. However, he obtained the Speed Force and all other powers that the Flash had.

Merging one of the most brilliant minds in the world, along with his combat skills and equipment, with someone as powerful as the Flash made this new individual one of the most powerful beings imaginable. Batman became Red Death, and he let out all of his guilt, grief, and rage onto Gotham City, killing the bad guys one by one.


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The process, however, made Red Death lose his mind – and temper – more and more, up to the point where his dark side completely took over, and he let his most vile instincts and impulses take over the person who was once a protector.

Red Death – and many other evil versions of Batman from different universes – crossed over to the main DC universe eventually and fought against not only the Flash but the entire Justice League. Barry fought numerous speedsters over his comic book history, but Red Death – the Flash in Batman’s body – is certainly one of the most powerful.

Who is Red Death in The Flash TV Series?

Now, The Flash show has already teased Red Death several times. First, way back in Season 5, when a future Barry talked about Cicada and claimed his kill count exceeded Red Death’s. Fans thought it was just an Easter Egg at the moment and that this future Barry had to fight an evil Batman speedster at some point.

But, Season 8’s Armageddon crossover Arrowverse story put that opinion to rest, as there was a mention of a ‘Lady in Red,’ an evil speedster that Batwoman had already fought before. It was never explicitly stated that it was Red Death, but now that Season 9’s premiere came, we can safely assume that this was precisely who Batwoman was referring to.

red death flash

So, The Flash series Red Death isn’t Batman gone bad – but Batwoman. The final scenes of Season 9’s premiere reveal that the character is portrayed by Javicia Leslie, the actress who portrayed Ryan Wilder – a version of Batwoman within the Arrowverse.

We still don’t have her exact origin story, but we know the following. The Red Death is a serial killer who gains speedster powers. She hires Owen Mercer to steal a quantum battery, and in exchange, she gives him new weaponized boomerangs and vows to take everything from the Flash. She then hires Andrea Wozzeck to steal Hartley Rathaway’s sonic gauntlets. When Fiddler fails, Red Death punishes her but ultimately succeeds with Owen Mercer’s help. Red Death reveals her true form on a building and vows to seek justice against Central City for the Flash’s actions.

What’s clear is that she probably had a similar path to Red Death from the comics. The difference is it wasn’t Bruce Wayne that went rogue and became a Speed Force avatar – it was Batwoman.

What could happen in The Flash Season 9?

Some things are obvious about where The Flash Season 9 is going. Chester and Allegra shared their first kiss, new villains emerged, new characters with old faces, and Barry finally realized he shouldn’t live his life based on facts he knows about the future – just let things happen. 


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However, we can’t quite know the motives or the plot yet. What we do know, however, is what Eric Wallace, The Flash’s showrunner, shared in an interview for TVLine. When asked why Red Death wants to go after the Flash so badly, he said:

“You’ll find out in a couple of episodes. There’s a reason why this speedster has shown up here. I’m trying to say this without spoilers, but it’s pretty heavy duty.”

If you were hoping to piece some things together by taking a look at some DC Comics storylines, think again, as Wallace shared:

“We’re not doing the Metal Knights storyline from the comic book, or any DC Comics Metal- or Dark Metal-related storyline, so we’re not using Bruce Wayne or anybody like that. We’re using kind of a completely different character, and our Red Death will have their own new origin.

There has to be a reason for this character to be not just obsessed with Barry Allen but hate his guts enough to try to take him down and ruin his world. That will become obvious, but it takes a few episodes to peel back the onion of why she hates Barry so much. And I think the audience is going to love it.”

red death danielle panabaker flash s09e01

I’ve mentioned there are new characters with old faces appearing in the show. Namely, Danielle Panabaker appears with blue and brown hair. “It is not Frost, and it is not Caitlin,” she said to Barry Allen. As to who she actually was, Wallace revealed:

“She’s not lying. However, her appearance at this time is not a coincidence. Heroes rise up when the universe needs them to appear, so there’s a reason why Danielle [Panabaker] is coming out of that crystal coffin right now. 

Because as we’re going to find as we get closer and closer to the series finale, her character is very wrapped up in the season finale. She’s the right hero for the absolute right time.”

If you ask me, Season 9 will be a hell of a ride and a grand finale that The Flash deserves. The next episode airs on February 15, 2023, and then weekly until the season – and series – finale on May 3, 2023.

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