Spoilers ahead for tonight's episode of DC's Legends of Tomorrow, titled "Shogun."
Tonight on DC's Legends of Tomorrow, there was a bit of a shell game going on with a short-term story and a long-term story.
In the short term, the episode featured a compelling narrative wherein Nate Heywood develops his Citizen Steel powers and uses them to unseat Tokugawa Iemitsu, a brutal warlord in feudal Japan. Along the way, Ray Palmer loses his ATOM suit and audiences are introduced to a descendant of a familiar face from the CWverse and the DC Extended Universe movies.
In the longer term? It seems clear that Rip Hunter's secret lab, complete with an as-yet-undisclosed secret message from The Flash in 2056, is going to drive some storytelling for a while to come.
At one point in the comics, The Flash retired to the future to spend time with his wife, Iris, and have a couple of kids before the timestream got him back and he had to go sacrifice his life facing the Anti-Monitor in Crisis on Infinite Earths. This, though, didn't sound like that. While it was certainly Grant Gustin giving voice to Barry Allen, it was clearly meant to be an older version of Barry -- so it's less likely that he retired to the future at 35 and more likely that he is actually forty years older when he hails the Waverider.
What, then, could be the urgent matter he hoped Rip would keep secret from the Legends?
The obvious answer is that it has something to do with Eobard Thawne. Barry's arch-nemesis, the Reverse-Flash, is the one who seems to be in charge of making plans for the Legion of Doom this season as they oppose the Legends throughout time.
What might be more exciting to some viewers, though, is the importance of the year 2056.
In the Young Justice animated series, that's the year when Bart Allen -- Barry's grandson, who in the comics and on Young Justice was first Impulse and later Kid Flash -- was living before he traveled back in time to join Young Justice.
It is, as far as we could tell from a quick browse of the DC Wiki, the only event that's specifically pegged to 2056 in DC's fictional history -- and while it could be a coincidence, it's certainly an interesting one to happen in an episode where Barry Allen makes a cameo appearance.
Given how difficult it would be to fight a speedster without another speedster, is it possible that Barry is offering up his grandson's services to help the Legends battle Thawne? It doesn't seem like a particularly farfetched theory, especially after Legends of Tomorrowintroduced Connor Hawke -- Oliver Queen's successor as Green Arrow and the son of (on TV, anyway) John Diggle -- last season.
With the importance of "legacy" -- literally the title of the Arrow season premiere -- to the DC/CW Universe this year and the presence of the Justice Society looming on Legends, introducing Bart and/or bringing back Connor could be a cool way to honor the heroes who "started it all" as well as the Justice Society by eventually creating a version of that team that would -- as it eventually did in the comics -- serve as a proving ground for new, young heroes and give the elder statesmen of the DCU a chance to impart their knowledge on a new generation.
It's quite a stretch, just from the vague revelation that Barry is providing us with a surprise from 40 years in the future...but it's certainly not outside of the realm of plausibility, and it would no doubt delight plenty of fans.
DC's Legends of Tomorrow airs Thursday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.