beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
I've been thinking on my latest fantasy world, as per usual, and therefore making AU versions of assorted characters, mostly from the Flash. We've got STAR labs too, it's just doing magical research.

So I was thinking what the characters are there for.

The Flash is a show with a definite protagonist. Everyone exists in relation to the title character and to illuminate aspects of his character. At least in theory.

Flash and Reverse Flash are easy in principle, Flash is the good guy and his Reverse is the man in the mirror, the dark side, who he could be if he chose wrong.
... which is why that story feels unfinished to me. He hasn't had the chance to do to his opponent what was done to him. He hasn't had that temptation, to kill him early, though he did go through the loop of trying to improve his own past. And he hasn't had the chance to flip the script and spend time making his Reverse his own definition of better.
But then the hero doesn't need his villains, not like the villain needed the hero.

Flash is a tech hero by current model, a scientist who tries to understand the world and apply scientific principles to winning. He's just starting out but has great things ahead of him. He's all about hope, and seeing the best in people. He'll let his enemies live because you never know. He forgives.

His Reverse? Nothing is ever forgiven. Even things that haven't been done yet. He'll kill people for most any reason. He expects the worst of people, or at least of the Flash... but he collects a bunch of potential supervillains and gives them a chance to be heroes, so, not simples.

And where Barry is mostly emotionally open and up front, and a terrible liar, despite lying really often, his Reverse lies mostly by clever arrangement of partial truths, maintains a secret identity flawlessly for fifteen years, and is ... not know for expressing emotion, except to manipulate.

Or if he's about to kill someone. Which suggests he's afraid to make himself vulnerable by saying that level of true thing. Or, given that he could kill people before they know he's there, he just likes making them have a bunch of feelings before he ends them.

Barry likes it when people have feelings and will happily declare his own in a crowded office.

And as far as the plot goes, the Reverse Flash is the one that makes the plot go, for the whole first season. Heroic rescues and so forth are a side effect to him, he has a specific goal in mind and everything else he does channels towards it. But he does help with the heroics, and after a year of that, the rest of the team are all set to keep going, motivated by helping others.

And fixing their own messes.

Barry gets guilty really, really easily.
... his Reverse seems happy to let him take the blame, blame him for everything.
... both are wrong models of the world.

Barry and Eo have strong relatable motives, Barry seeking justice, Eo trying to go home.

Cisco and Caitlin... want to help?
They both feel really guilty about Ronnie Raymond, and that's a motive for trying to fix the world. But then he comes back. And gets dead again. So they get two heroic sacrifice deaths from the same guy, and feel like they should live up to that?

But Caitlin quit STAR right after that, so, *shrug*

Hartley Rathaway was apparently in the original plan. There doesn't seem to be a Hart shaped gap in the story. He'd be the Cordelia or Spike, the snarky one, yesno? But Barry's story has managed eithout such commentary.

It's easy to decide who an adventure party or ship crew needs, but if it's only their skills you need around, the character isn't pulling their weight. They aren't even a character yet. So you need the cautious one to point out how dangerous things are and rebuke the hero for getting crunched, so the audience understands the stakes. But what aspect of the hero does that bring out? Do they hear 'I dare you'? Is it the voice of their inner doubt made manifest? And it's really difficult to drive the story on don't or be the one reactive one on a proactive team. The hero is always going to achieve despite the warnings, so how do you make that stakes explainer seem, you know, rational, or even vaguely necessary?

This is usually the team medic problem.

... Caitlin didn't stick around in her original form, did she? Is that the Flash fix for this? We don't need a medic so lalala supervillain, and now her Don't reaction is applied to her own inner turmoil, and if she slips and Does instead then we get nice plot driving trouble.

Cisco is the cheerleader. The that's so cool, do it again harder. Naming isn't shaming even if it's bad guys, more like an achievement badge.

You get the two friends, you've got assorted configurations for angel and devil on tour shoulder. They'll argue different sides of an issue, but the focus is on who eventually decides.

As well as all these experts, you've got the one guy that needs explained to. This is weirdly seldom a child character. Kid genius explains everything to other people. The outside guy, the one that stays mostly a mundane despite years of practice, he's got one thing going for him: the voice of common sense, the voice of the average man in the street.

So that's Joe. Ish.

But Joe is also the generation the heroes aren't much going to listen to. Like, his core thing is he didn't believe or trust, and he has to be won over. But the heroes need to get on with the doing, so, not so much listening to him.

Also the whole vigilante layer is just... difficult to justify. Joe arguing for secret prisons doesn't seem like the average guy. Why not just employ the Flash, once the world knows about metahumans?

What's the key to the city mean, anyway?

Eo!Wells has a flexible sort of role. He's a cheerleader, but he needs to be won over first. He'll let the others argue a plan but then cut through the noise and turn it into orders, making the decisions. He's more likely to make biting commentary, and the way that one episode was set up, he and Hartley were so very similar, no wonder there wasn't room in town for both of them, once Hart stops looking to him for approval. Eo!Wells made himself the centre of the team and the team limped along without him, for no good reason but habit, in universe, but to show them all growing into their adult roles, writer level.

... I kind of tend to leave him in charge and make the world revolve around him, when I AU. Only almost works. But he's the guy with the active plan to remake the world into something better. That's interesting.

One thing modern plots will do is have all the information in the world at your fingertips, or basically someone who can work google real fast. It's not that we're individually omniscient, it's more that slowing down the story because of not knowing a thing only feels plausible now if it's deliberately concealed. Random science facts are going to come from someone, but so are random blueprints. Doesn't matter how realistic that is, plausible has done its own thing, so it's not about memorisation now, just the critical analysis and decision making.

Makes me worry about science fiction in the 'discovering the universe' sense. I mean it has been a while since simply uncovering a law of nature was a plot in itself, but the seeking out new worlds part only seems to get interesting when it turns into culture clashes or whatever, and that seems... shallow? But also more deeply thought through. Don't know, niggly thought, am unsatisfied with how I articulated it here. It's like, I gave up on trying to keep up with tech, because however fast I learn, it keeps changing, and that's cool, but makes it feel like a waste of my time. But there's people out there changing it, being the cutting edge. And as I understand it that involves specialising more and more narrowly so everything known in that area fits in the one brain, but, someone has to. Someone has to find it interesting for itself, you know? And some time after that the social impact extrapolation happens. But I worry, vaguely, where the stories are that find the discovery of itself worth the time.

... I have happy mini stories where STAR labs approaches magic in a physics sort of way and systematises the laws of magic. I fear no one else would find that interesting. Partly for the very good reason it's all made up. Game rules are not fascinating, for most people. But figuring out the logic of things is fun. If magic even has a logic.

A bunch of the experiments need them to go weird places and poke things with weird devices. Pretty sure that can make a plenty good adventure.

But the magic is there to make the characters go, or it'll get mostly boring to many people, and not really belong with those characters or this plot.

I mean, it's the drawback of using magic in a DnD way, or just telling the story of your game session: what makes it different from your average rocket launcher, aside from the weight? And why is your character roaming the country blowing shit up anyway? Sometimes it seems sort of incidental they're a mage, if they're primarily artillery.

So, research mages, with secret relationships to elementals and plans for the elemental planes.

The one who will do anything to change the world isn't the one doing the deciding. He has decided. He can be a tragedy, where you can see the rocks coming real early but he'll drive onto them anyway, but he makes all the other characters seem irrelevant, if he's just going to drive them all off a cliff.

So there has to be someone who sees his plan and everyone's objections and balances them up to make a new way.

At least, so I figure.

Then you get a couple of directions of We Must, and We can't, and We Can, and should we? And it's an argument that effects the outcome of the story, which could be anything.

Barry and time travel. Deciding to change the world. And eventually deciding sod it, that's too messy. But then? The capacity remains there, so the argument every time is when or when not to use it.

... and the physics determine the ethics, so the writers refusing to define the rules means nobody can possibly guess what the right choices are.

So I want a world where they discover the magical rules and therefore understand what the consequences of a particular choice will be, and then they make it. And try and make it work.

But the discovering the rules has to be in there and has to be solid, or it's all just, heck if we know.

And to make the story go right now there's a !Wells, Bear, Hart, Cat and Ram. An overriding purpose, with an absolute opposition, a snarky one who cares what people think, someone who is mostly don't, and someone who is mostly can. But I don't want to put all the deciding in the same place as the Flash. Even though I can see exactly how I could.

I want to put me in there, making choices, weighing things up. Because there's never anyone on TV who thinks like I would.

Don't know if anyone would want to read that.

Guess if I ever wrote it I would find out.


beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)

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