This week, it was announced that veteran actor and horror icon Tony Todd was cast as the voice of Zoom in the smash hit show The Flash on The CW. Maybe it’s because I’m already a mega-fan of the show, or maybe it’s because I have long known that Todd is solid actor, but I think this is a fantastic move.
If you saw the season one finale of The Flash in the spring (and if you didn’t, seriously, what’s wrong with you?), you saw the death of the Reverse-Flash, who was played brilliantly by Tom Cavanagh. With the multi-verse opening up in the show, there’s a possibility that Reverse-Flash could be back. For now however, we’re going to assume that if Tom Cavanagh returns, it’ll be as Harrison Wells, and not as Eobard Thawne disguised as Wells.
Because very few things throughout season one went off without a hitch, season two is going to have to work extra hard to follow it. One thing that a comic property needs to succeed is a great villain, which we got last year in spades. Hell, we got several of them! If there is one villain that is the equal of the classic Reverse-Flash, it’s Zoom. Throughout the comic’s history, there have been several rival speedsters, and Tony Todd could easily knock it out of the park as Hunter Zolomon, AKA Zoom.
As of right now, we only know for certain that Todd will be doing the voice of Zoom. I personally hope we see him as Hunter Zoloman outside of the costume too, but that could just be a pipe dream.
A Pedigreed Villain
Many of you may know Tony Todd for his performance in 1992’s Candyman. That cult hit made Tony a horror icon with fans. His haunting voice and 6’5” make him quite imposing, even at 61 years old. He is used to playing not just tough guys, but scary guys. If the producers and writers of The Flash are hoping to up the wow factor, this is the way to do it.
Despite having a lengthy resume, Todd is not the most recognizable face in Hollywood. He’s been in just about every television show that someone can mention, but he’s not well-known enough to risk taking the audience out of the story. He may be somewhat typecast as the bad guy, but a quick look at his IMDB will show you that this guy has serious range.
Being a graduate of the Eugene O’Neill National Actors Theatre Institute, it’s not surprise that Tony has demonstrated tremendous range over the years. Star Trek fans have seen him portray Wolf’s younger brother Kurn in Star Trek: The Next Generation, as well as an adult Jake Sisko in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
If you want to check out a truly masterful performance, watch The Man From Earth, where Tony’s character is confronted by a man claiming to be from prehistoric times. Trust me, this guy can act. When he’s not in front of the camera, he appears on stage in numerous stage productions. Call me old fashioned, but I like it when a villain is portrayed by someone with legitimate acting cred.
Like Harrison Wells/Eobard Thawne last year, Zoom will have a simple, personal motivation for his actions. He’s not trying to dominate the world like so many villains do in other comic book adaptations. As much as Thawne wanted to kill Barry Allen, he wanted to go home more. He was even willing to let Barry live in exchange for being allowed to leave. Having a character with that kind of primal motivation gives the audience more to connect with. Those are the villains that are the most memorable, at least in my humble opinion.
Remember that voice that we mentioned before? It will fit in perfect for the character of Zoom. Tom Cavanagh’s voice was modulated down when he appeared as the Reverse-Flash, but Todd won’t need a computer to make him sound terrifying.
According to Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg, Tony will be providing the voice for Zoom, whose face will be completely hidden behind a mask, similar to what James Earl Jones did with Darth Vader. Given that his is in his 60’s, it makes sense for the actor to provide a voice, rather than attempt complex and demanding action sequences.
Todd has also done extensive voice over work, the most recent of which has been as Fallen in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and Darkseid in two Lego DC Super Heroes films. When he’s not in character as the nefarious Zoom, I have few doubts that he’ll be able to bring the character of Hunter Zolomon.
We don’t know if Zoom’s character will fit into a larger story arc mixed in with additional rogues, or he will be the primary villain. Either way, I’m excited for the second season to get underway. As fans, we already know that the writing, production, and returning cast will come through. Hearing that we’ve got a fantastic new villain on the horizon just makes it even better!
Zoom is just as important a character to The Flash mythology as Reverse-Flash, Grodd, or any of the other major rogues in the gallery. Some might consider him to be the most vicious and deadly of all of them. Here’s to hoping that Tony Todd does as well as I think he’s going to!
Kinda makes you want to run around your house really fast, doesn’t it?
The Flash will premiere on Tuesday, October 6, on The CW.