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Dragon Con 2016: Carlos Valdes discusses diversity, musicals, and Flashpoint (but has no comment on a Vibe costume…)


Carlos Valdes, known in the superhero world for his role as Cisco Ramon/Vibe on CW’s The Flash, appeared at Dragon Con this year, where he talked about the role Flashpoint will have on the show this season (which isn’t as big as you’d think),  why he finds the musical Hamilton inspiring, and what it’s like working with Harry Potter’s Tom Felton.

Q: Can you tell us more about next season’s musical episode and its set up?

We don’t know much about it. They’re very good at keeping us in the dark about it. I know that the wish is to have as much original music as possible, but I’m not sure that it will work out that way. So we’ll just have to see what it will sound like. I do know the concept. I’m not allowed to tell you about it, but it’s very entertaining and allows room for infinite possibilities.

Q: There’s been a lot of push for diversity, especially in the superhero genre. You’re such a strong character on the show, and I think the show does a great job with having a lot of diverse characters. Could you speak about your experience with representation growing up as a kid and how you feel that relates to your character on the show?

As a kid I always wanted to be an entertainer. I was always inspired by, and in turn emulated, a lot of great actors from movies from my childhood, and roles from works that I was a fan of. And honestly, maybe it was a very selfish and ignorant and naïve part of me that never saw color, but I fell in love with all of that material and all of those movies, and I never once considered that my race would ever be an obstacle.

For example, in stage shows and in classical musicals there are these roles that are traditionally played by white men, and I always just sang these songs and imagined these moments in these plays when I was a kid, without that being a part of the aesthetic. I found that as I got older this was actually a limitation. It engendered this gradual realization that I might not be able to get to play some of the parts that I loved playing so much, or thinking about playing so much, or singing in the shower. And that’s just the reality of it.

But within that there is this great optimism, because we live in a time where shows like Hamilton exist, and are being written. Where roles are being written for people of color. And it’s a beautiful thing to witness and to be a part of. So instead of struggling with the “What’s your dream role?” question these days, I find myself looking forward to the role that hasn’t been written yet. And Cisco is, fortunately, one of those roles for me.

Q: Can you tell us more about how your character’s powers will be used next season?

I think it’s important to stress that the Flashpoint altered timeline, specifically, is not going to be a major player in terms of being rendered on the show for a long time. That’s a very short-lived thing. What the season mostly deals with is the repercussions of that alternate timeline being opened. So I think a lot of fans are expressing concern over some of their favorite characters and relationships being gone and all this work we’ve done over the last two years being undone. Without giving too much away, I can assure fans that that is not the case. That said, we will return to exploring Cisco’s ongoing evolution as Vibe and, you know, powers grow. That’s what they do. Period.

Q: Will we see a costume for Cisco now?

Umm, no comment.

Q: How was it working with Tom Felton?

Tom is the best. I’ve hung out with him a couple of times, and he’s such an interesting dude. I’m learning a lot about photography and working with his cameras, because he takes pictures all the time and is an enthusiast. The work that he brings on set is inspiring for sure, and I know for a fact that Grant [Gustin] feels the same way. He’s been working with him a lot recently, and the stuff that Grant has had to share about working with Tom has just been so – there’s so much love there. He works hard and he’s super smart and incredibly talented. I’m excited to see his work and how fans react to it.


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