Grant Gustin originally auditioned for the role of Roy Harper, a supporting character on Arrow before being cast as Barry Allen on The Flash
Before being cast as Barry Allen on The Flash, Grant Gustin auditioned for the role of Roy Harper on Arrow. The role ultimately went to Colton Haynes, best known at that time for his role on MTV’s Teen Wolf, leaving Gustin free to appear in other roles in the Arrowverse.
Many fans were unsure about casting Gustin as Barry Allen on The Flash, thinking that he would’ve been a better fit as either of the younger versions of the Flash, such as Wally West or Bart Allen. Barry is usually an older, more experienced character, a vibe that Gustin doesn’t exactly give off. He was changed significantly for the show, with many coming around to the idea that this is the perfect version of Barry Allen for the Arrowverse.
Grant Gustin was one of many actors who auditioned for the role of Roy Harper on Arrow. He ultimately got the better deal, as while Roy became a regular after Arrow season 1, Gustin was cast the next year as the lead of The Flash, a much bigger and more prominent role in the Arrowverse.
This was the right move to make, as the success of the Arrowverse relied a lot on The Flash, which owes much of its popularity to Grant Gustin in the lead role. The tone of the Arrowverse in general got much brighter when Barry came in, and the CW series brought superpowers and metahumans into the Arrowverse, balancing out Arrow’s much more grounded threats. Gustin plays Barry Allen with enthusiasm and energy, and usually the hope that he can make everything better. Gustin even manages to carry the show through low times, even when it’s Barry’s fault. Barry has a tendency to make bad decisions and not think through all of the consequences. In the hands of a different actor, this could be a fatal combination, but Gustin manages to make it work. Had he been cast as Roy, he never would have had the opportunity to play this role, and the Arrowverse as a whole would look quite different with someone else playing Barry Allen.
The potential casting of Grant Gustin as Roy Harper could have lead to a really intriguing possibility. Melissa Benoist, who plays Kara Danvers/Supergirl, auditioned to play Thea Queen on Arrow. Fans have loved whenever Benoist and Gustin appeared together in crossovers, and their potential casting as Thea and Roy would have led to them playing a couple. They certainly have the chemistry to make it work, and it would have been intriguing to see.
While the alternate possibilities are interesting, ultimately the better casting decisions were made. While he could have been a good Roy Harper, Grant Gustin makes a great Barry Allen, not just being a side character on Arrow, but the lead of The Flash and one of the stars of the Arrowverse.
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