He is portrayed by Martin Novotny.
Due to unspecified reasons, Hannibal's name was on "The List". After the explosion of the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator, Bates gained the ability to shapeshift in to anyone he touched (later keeping their identity in case of needing to change on the fly). A month after the explosion, Bates framed his friend Jacob Fisher for robbery at a bank in Central City.
Using his powers, Bates commits crimes taking the shape of other people. One of these people is arrested after Bates is caught on camera stealing a necklace. As neighbors, friends and associates claim that the woman is the most honest person they know, Detective Eddie Thawne begins to suspect that a meta-human is behind it. However, Eddie thinks that the meta-human controls peoples minds to force them to do as he pleases.
Disguised as another person, Bates tries to sell the stolen necklace. The juwelier realises that the necklace is stolen and secretly contacts the police. However, when Eddie arrives Bates is already leaving. Realising that Eddie is a police officer, Bates runs off. When the Flash arrives, Bates takes a different from and escapes into the crowd of civillians. Back at Star Labs, Barry is warned that Bates could attempt to touch Barry in order to get Barry's identity. Furthermore, they are not sure whether Bates gains the powers of the persons he touches as well as their shape so they advise Barry to better keep away from him.
After finding out Bates' identity, Eddie and Barry visit Bates' grandmother, who filed a missing report for Hannibal a year ago. However, unbeknownst to them they are not talking to Bates' grandmother but to Bates who impersonated her. Using a pretext, Bates flees the house pursued by both men. Having touched Eddie at his grandmother's house, Bates is able to take Eddie's shape and disguised as Thawne shoots down two approaching policemen. This causes massive problems for Eddie, who faces the threat of going to prison.
Impersonating Eddie, Bates later visits Barry at his house, claiming that Commisisoner Singh called in a favour to have him released. He then knocks out Barry and shape-shifts into him. When the doorbell rings, Bates opens the door. Caitlin enters and tells Bates, whom she thinks to be Barry, that she found a way to prevent Bates from shape-shifting. She then tells him to come with her to Star Labs and Bates accepts. At Star Labs, Bates asks Caitlin about the serum, finding out that it would only prevent him from shape-shifting for a short amount of time. Believing Caitling to be Barry's girlfirend, Bates kisses her, much to her astonishment. They are then interrupted by Iris West who arrives at Star Labs to help her boyfriend Eddie. Iris shows both of them footage of Eddie shooting the two policemen, revealing that Eddie is not left-handed but the Eddie in the video is. Realising that they could blow his cover, Bates secretly draws his gun to shoot Iris and Caitlin but is tasered by Harrison Wells, who has entered the room silently.
Escape and recapture
Iris and Caitlin intend to bring Bates to the CCPD to free Eddie but while they are driving there, Bates wakes up and shape-shifts into a small girl. Desperately screaming for help, Bates attracts the attention of civilians who believe that the girl is being kidnapped. They release Bates from the car who immediately runs off.
At Star Labs, Barry is told by Wells that while Bates can take shape of a person's body, he cannot access the persons powers or memories. Therefore, Barry is free to engage Bates. Following Bates to the airport, Barry is temporarily stunned when Bates takes shape of Caitlin and Iris, allowing Bates to initially overpower Bates. However, Barry quickly recovers and defeats Bates, injecting him with the shape-shift blocker. Bates is then incarcarated at the meta-human wing at Star Labs.
Used by Eobard Thawne
In The Trap, Hannibal is used as a decoy by Eobard Thawne when Barry Allen, Cisco Ramon, Joe West, and Caitlin Snow are trying to get a confession Thawne. Joe ends up shooting Hannibal Bates when he is about to kill Cisco and the team learns the truth when Bates reverts to his natural state after death.
Powers & Abilities
- Shapeshifting: Hannibal is able to shapeshift into any person he has physical contact with, even copying the clothing they were wearing
- Peak of human physical condition: During Hannibal's battle against the Flash at an airport, he was able to block a number of the speedster's strikes and slightly overpower him until the Flash became to move faster.
- Expert hand-to-hand combatant: Hannibal is a potent fighter, able to quickly defeat Eddie Thawne in a fist fight which is why Eddie should work on his martial arts more. Hannibal was able to land a lot of solid hits on the Flash during a fight with him and had the strength to overpower him a lot.
- Limited Replication: He cannot replicate the memories, skills, or special powers of a person that he touches. When Hannibal framed Eddie for gunning down two police officers, Iris noticed that Eddie was innocent after realizing that the shooter was left handed.
- The scene in which Bates impersonates his grandmother might be a reference to the movie "It".
- Or (but it lesser likely) to the movie "Psycho".
- Or (but it lesser likely) to the movie "Psycho".