‘The Flash’ SDCC Interview: Hartley Sawyer Talks ‘The Redemption of Ralph Dibny’

Last season, The Flash introduced the character of Ralph Dibny, whose crude and selfish demeanor didn’t sit well with a lot of fans. Most of the season found Ralph playing a reluctant wannabe hero equipped with misogynistic and selfish comments that had us wondering if this show actually wanted us to hate this character.

When we sat down with Hartley Sawyer, who plays Ralph, he explained the idea behind season 4 Ralph as “The Redemption of Ralph Dibny.”

“He started as this guy that had some very unlikeable qualities, but he wasn’t always that way,” Sawyer told us during a roundtable interview at San Diego Comic-Con. “So the idea behind the season was bringing him over the course of 19 episodes, bringing him back to somebody who in episode 18, when I died, he finally realized there were things out there again that were greater than himself, and he was fine to sacrifice himself.”

It wasn’t until that episode where Ralph really understood what it meant to be a hero. Where he understood what real sacrifice is and why someone would sacrifice themselves for others. In that moment, when Ralph told Barry he was “fine” to go, he meant it.

So when Barry managed to get Ralph out of DeVoe’s mind – and bring him back to reality – Ralph kind of has this new perspective and appreciation for life.

“It’s a new lease on life in a very different way,” Sawyer said. “(The team) became family to him. So he’s back with his family.”

So as we head into The Flash’s fifth season, we’re going to see this new-look Ralph looking more confident than ever as a hero – and apparently as a detective.

“We’re going to see a lot more confidence with him as a hero,” he said. “I know that we’re going to explore the detective side of the character, which is something I wanted to do from day 1…We still have so much we can do with him.”

Watch our interview with Sawyer below, where he discusses Ralph building relationships with his extended family, friendship with Joe West, and more:

The Flash season 5 premieres Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 8/7c on The CW.

Teacher by day, writer by every other free moment. Obsessed with sports, TV, books, movies, and superheroes. Proud shipper and supporter of strong female characters. Co-executive Editor, TV Editor and Sports Editor. I write about DCTV, Netflix, Roswell New Mexico, Cloak & Dagger, The Bold Type, sports and so much more. Contact: alyssa@fangirlish.com.