This article contains spoilers from The Flash Season 3, Episode 19 "The Once And Future Flash".
When you travel seven years into the future, of course you should expect to see some major differences. And that's exactly what happened to Barry Allen when he traveled to 2024 to meet his future self. Iris was dead, Team Flash had been torn apart and there were no #superheroes in sight. So it's safe to say things were very different.
However, fans noticed an irregularity with this new future regarding H.R. Wells' fate. In typical H.R. fashion, the character's future was as eccentric as we expected it to be — he was a well-known author of steamy romance novels and also happened to own the coffee shop H.R. Jitters. But eccentricities aside, his future just didn't make sense.
As H.R. sat in his own establishment, reading his steamy novel to his adoring public, he was completely in his element. However, in the background, there was a billboard with both his name and face on it. Moreover, the book he's reading from has a thoughtful image of himself on the back.
And given that the show has already dealt with his resemblance to a murderous Earth-1 villain, his real face shouldn't be showing up anywhere.
Harrison Wells, Is That You?
For the third year running, actor Tom Cavanagh has portrayed a different iteration of the Harrison Wells character, beginning with the Earth-1 version whose body was secretly inhabited by the Reverse-Flash. And thus, since the villain's posthumous confession, Central City has associated Harrison Wells' face with the man who murdered Barry's mother Nora. Even Earth-2's "Harry" was mistaken as Earth-1's evil Harrison Wells on many occasions.
For that reason, Season 3's H.R. Wells — the Earth-19 version of the character — concluded that if he wanted to start a new life on Earth-1, he would have to come up with a way to avoid being mistaken as the murderous Harrison Wells. And that's exactly what he did.
Using Earth-19 technology, H.R. was able to conceal his real face by using a light refraction device that completely alters his appearance. So while we may have been seeing Harrison Wells, the rest of the world would see somebody completely different.
Thus, while it's convenient for the show to use Tom Cavanagh, rather than having the altered face appear to us all the time, this doesn't explain why Cavanagh's face appears on the billboards and on the book. Furthermore, having H.R.'s real face — not to the mention the vaguely similar name of H.R. Wells — appear publicly, the show has pretty much confirmed that everyone knows what H.R. really looks like: a doppelganger of Harrison Wells.
Considering that they previously went to such great lengths to allow H.R. to appear publicly without being accused of a crime he didn't commit, this seems like a major error on the show's part.
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As always, the internet had plenty to say about this unusual turn of events, questioning why H.R. was able to became such a famous author if he had the face of Harrison Wells, and wondering if there was an explanation for this or if it was just a simple mistake.
As there was no explanation given for H.R.'s sudden rise to public fame, we have to conclude that this was nothing more than an oversight. After all, as Iris will hopefully be saved by the end of the season, it's unlikely that we will ever return to this timeline again and these events won't ever unfold. Thus, no explanation will ever be needed, unless the show is going to take the time to explain why this is the case.
While you might suggest that the audience was indeed seeing H.R.'s altered face and not really Harrison Wells', this doesn't explain why his real face was used on the posters and the books — not to mention the similar name.
But having said all that, let's hope his real future turns out to be every bit a eccentrically perfect as this one!
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.