The Thinker Is Probably ‘The Flash’ Season 4’s Villain

Joseph Wilbur
TV Arrowverse
TV Arrowverse Comics DC

The Flash Season 3 left us with few clues as to who might be the main villain in Season 4. But a report from TVLine claims to have confirmation of what we’d suspected: The Flash Season 4 villain will be The Thinker.

This jives with a big hint we recently got from Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg who said, “Next season we’re not going to have a speedster as the main bad guy.”

Additionally, we got two big name drops for the character during Season 3. The first came from Abra Kadabra who mentioned “DeVoe” — The Thinker’s real name in the comics is Clifford DeVoe. The second came from Future Barry in the Season 4 Finale. “I remember everything… This is where we came up with the cerebral inhibitor to use against DeVoe.”

With all signs pointing to “yes,” it’s time for you to get up to speed on The Thinker. We got you covered though, with a breakdown on everything you should know…

The Origin of The Thinker

Clifford DeVoe made his debut all the way back in All-Flash Vol 1 in 1943, as a villain for the first Flash, Jay Garrick. A failed lawyer, he had an epiphany about the criminals in Gotham City; they may have skills, but most villains lacked the brains to be effective. He adopted an alter ego as a villain named the Thinker, becoming the brain behind several small villains.

The second Thinker, Cliff Carmichael, is a Firestorm villain who grew up as a rival to Ronnie Raymond. Going insane after he accidentally broke the neck of his cousin in an attempt to kill Ronnie, he was admitted to a mental institution. In an attempt to correct his brain, scientists in the institution used the “Thinking Cap” (more on that later) of the original Thinker. Cliff turned on the scientists, and used the Thinking Cap to turn himself into a “cyberpunk maniac” with meta-human powers.

Although Abra Kadabra clearly said the name of the first incantation of the the Thinker, it is entirely possible that the writers of the show will pick and choose versions of his origins from both characters.

The Thinker’s Powers, Abilities, and Gadgets

Clifford DeVoe, having no powers of his own, continually sought out new scientific devices to use and his most important was the “Thinking Cap,” a metal hat that could project mental force. The Thinker would use this device repeatedly over the years.

The Cap gave the Thinker the ability to mentally move objects, as well have mind control over others.

Coupled with a genius level intellect, Clifford was definitely not an easy match for the Flash. To help substitute his lack of powers, he also used many small-time villains to become the main crime boss of Keystone City.

After the death of the original Thinker, Mister Terrific used the Thinking-Cap to create an artificial intelligence based on DeVoe’s brain-patterns. However, this AI went rogue and took on a visual hologram form. This version of the Thinker made for quite a foe, with extreme hacking abilities that could even penetrate the Justice League Headquarters.

What The Thinker Means for The Flash Season 4

If DeVoe is The Flash Season 4’s villain, fans may wonder if a non-speedster poses any real threat to the Flash, let alone enough to be the big bad for an entire season. After all, the past three seasons of the show have featured a speedster as the big bad.

However, just look at many of the side villains on the show. Nearly all of them have been non-speedsters, and each and every one of them posed a unique threat to the Flash, because the fights between them weren’t just tests of speed, as it has been with the Reverse Flash, Zoom, and even Savitar.

In Season 1 of The Flash, Eobard and Barry only had marginal speed differences. Part of the reason it took an entire Season to take down the Reverse Flash is because of his genius level intellect, and his clever usage of manipulating other meta-humans to do his bidding. The Thinker is just as intelligent, and in the comics he has been known to let other villains do the dirty work. Could we see a season filled with the return of Rogues like Captain Cold and Heat Wave?

The writers of The Flash have also been known to pick and choose elements of a character’s incarnations in the past, and if they decide to use the AI version of the Thinker, things could be even more difficult for the Flash. After all, how can he fight a villain who exists in cyberspace?

We’ll know more soon, but you’ll have to wait to see The Thinker when The Flash returns in fall of 2017. However, if the report from TVLine turns out to be wrong, we do have some other ideas as to who could be Season 4’s villain below.

Joseph Wilbur
Joseph Wilbur was a former writer for Fandom for over 2 years. He primarily wrote about the Arrowverse shows, or the DC and Marvel universes. He is a Star Wars fanatic, and has read every book in the 'Star Wars Legends' Universe (most of them at least twice).
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