- "You went to school across the country to get away from me. You took a job in Central City instead of working in the same zip code as my lab. Caitlin, you were married to a man I never even met. I got the hint, but don't you dare mistake things. I didn't leave first."
- —Carla Tannhauser to her daughter, Caitlin Snow[src]
Carla Tannhauser became a famous scientist and eventually founded her own research company, Tannhauser Industries. At some point, she met and fell in love with fellow scientist Thomas Snow. The two eventually married and on February 28, 1989, the couple had a daughter, Caitlin.
Losing her husband and estrangement from her daughter
Around 1999, Thomas began suffering from ALS and whilst trying to cure himself with experimental cryogenetic gene therapy, he ended up creating an evil split personality with cryokinetic powers known as Icicle. Carla attempted to help her husband rid himself of Icicle, but was unsuccessful. Not wanting Icicle to venture out into the world, Carla aided Thomas in faking his death and forged his death certificate under the alias "Cameron Mahkent". Thomas hid in a black-ops laboratory facility in the North Pole belonging to Tannhauser Industries. Carla arranged for the site to be shut down to ensure no one would come into contact with Icicle.
Unable to face her daughter with the guilt of failing to save her husband, Carla began to throw herself completely into her work, to which she and Caitlin eventually grew estranged. After Caitlin moved to Central City, Carla became increasingly disconnected with her daughter; she wasn't even aware of Caitlin's impending marriage to Ronnie Raymond, indicating Caitlin had no desire to invite her mother to their wedding.
Helping Caitlin with her powers
At some point prior to late 2016, Carla began conducting research in applications of cryo medicine and published a paper on it, which caught Caitlin's eye.
In November 2016, Carla received a surprise visit from Caitlin at Tannhauser Industries. Caitlin accidentally demonstrated her ice powers to her mother, asking for help understanding them. Shocked, Carla cleared her schedule for the day and called for Nigel to meet her in the bio-lab. While they ran tests, Carla had Caitlin cool down a super-heated shaft of solid tungsten, absorbing all of the energy. While they argued, Nigel called the doctor over, noting it as a potential breakthrough in their work. Following that, she took blood samples from Caitlin, hoping to test for polymorphisms. Making clear how redundant the tests were, Caitlin grew annoyed with her mother for having not asked her how she was, similar to how she was when her father died. While Dr. Tannhauser tried to defend her cold emotions, suggesting that Caitlin didn't know what it was like, she revealed that her husband had died over a year previously. A short time later, Carla walked in on Caitlin uncontrollably hurting Nigel, who had forced her to stay. She allowed her to go, apologizing for her previous estrangement. That night, she sent a video to Caitlin, explaining that the more she used her powers, the more it can affect her mental stability.
At some point between the time Cisco had taken some of Caitlin's blood when she was fully mutated as Killer Frost and the day H.R. died Julian Albert visited Carla. He explained the situation with what happened to her daughter so both of them started working on a cure for Caitlin. They finished it just in time for the final showdown with Savitar and Killer Frost herself. Caitlin did take the cure later, but it didn't work permanently.
Since Caitlin lost access to her powers, Ralph Dibny did an investigation on her father. He discovered that the death certificate was a forgery, and later Cisco's visions confirmed Carla forged the death certificate. Ralph and Caitlin visited Tannhauser Industries to ask her about it. Carla remained evasive and insisted her husband was dead. Before the pair left, Carla urged her daughter to leave the past behind.
Becoming a meta-human
One night in 2019, Carla was working late at Tannhauser Industries when her security guard was murdered. Carla hid while the perpetrator broke into the lab's cryo vault and made off with the Cryo-Atomizer. As he left, Carla saw that it was Icicle, the alter-ego of her husband, Thomas Snow. The next morning, Barry Allen and Joe West arrived to investigate the robbery, along with Caitlin. The two immediately got into an argument over Carla keeping Thomas' still being alive a secret. Both tried to take control of the situation to find Thomas with differing methods, much to Barry and Joe's consternation. As Barry left, Icicle returned and proceeded to knock out Caitlin and Carla, before dispatching Joe and The Flash. Icicle took Caitlin and Carla to a Tannhauser black site in the Central City Badlands, and placed Caitlin in meta-human cuffs to keep Killer Frost suppressed. Caitlin and Carla resumed their argument, with Carla accusing Caitlin of leaving her first instead of the other way around. When Icicle returned, he announced that he wanted what they could be, addressing them as 'Snow Pack'. Carla realized that Icicle intended to use the Cryo-Atomizer to give Carla an ice persona like Icicle and Killer Frost, and then suppress the human halves of Carla and Caitlin.
While waiting for Icicle to return, Carla and Caitlin talked about having someone else in their head and having someone there for them. Icicle took Carla and inadvertently froze Caitlin's cuffs. Icicle placed Carla in a cryogenic chamber, ignored her pleas for help, and began to give her an ice persona. Killer Frost appeared, but Icicle set the process to go faster and escaped, but The Flash appeared, freeing Killer Frost to go after Icicle. Flash managed to phase Carla out of the chamber, and warmed her up in time for Caitlin to return with a rejuvenated Thomas. The reunion was cut short when Cicada appeared and subdued Flash. Killer Frost took on Cicada, but was unable to defeat her. As Cicada threw her dagger, Thomas jumped in front and took the fatal blow. Carla watched her husband die, and the family reconciled one final time.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Caitlin performed a test that seemingly confirmed that Carla was not a meta-human (she had run a test on her mother that would've turned white if there was any residual meta-DNA, but it remained green and she set it aside). The two reconciled and talked about how some of the things that Caitlin loved about her father actually originated from Carla. The two decided to get a drink and talk more. Unbeknownst to either of them, the test completed as they left, turning white, revealing that Carla was indeed a meta-human.
During the Anti-Monitor Crisis, Carla, as well as everyone in the multiverse except for the seven Paragons, was killed in an antimatter wave by the Anti-Monitor on December 10, 2019, only to be restored a month later, after the Paragons and the Spectre created a new universe.
Helping out Frost
Learning that her daughter needed her, Carla went to Caitlin Snow's apartment as Cecile Horton, Allegra Garcia, and Nash Wells were packing her clothes. When the others left them alone, she and Caitlin decided to do experiments to learn Frost's baseline and how to heal her injuries. Carla was disappointed that Caitlin was in her Frost form because she wanted the help of another scientist; Frost revealed that she retained the knowledge of Caitlin and could just as easily help. Carla accepted Frost as her daughter and, after the experiments, departed with her daughter for the north.
Carla is known to have a very estranged relationship with her daughter Caitlin Snow, due to her overbearing and somewhat controlling traits. However, Carla, like her daughter, is known to cope with her emotional trauma and stress by burying herself in her work. She did this to cope with a weird situation about her husband, but becoming frigid and shut off from Caitlin, who needed her mother to be there for her emotionally. Despite her distance and prioritizing her work over all else following her husband's death, Carla is still a good individual, although she unintentionally tended to leave everyone who worked with her in her shadow, including her daughter, who started work at S.T.A.R. Labs to make a name for herself. Carla is also somewhat hypercritical, making her a somewhat irate and difficult individual to work with. She also barely made any effort to be involved in Caitlin's adult life and sent birthday cards in the wrong months, as she sent one in April which Caitlin seemingly confirms isn't the actual month of her birth, and wasn't even aware her daughter was married until one year after son-in-law's death.
Her approach is clinical, cold, and clean, forgoing beside manner for a more analytical outlook and perspective. This is likely responsible for her esteemed career and reputation. Carla's precision was matched only by her objectivity and casually dismissive demeanor.
Carla ultimately came to an understanding after being informed of her son-in-law, Ronnie Raymond's death and how her daughter had been suffering from it. She cared enough for her daughter to cover for Caitlin's retaliation against Nigel, who was attempting to blackmail and exploit her, displaying that she was willing to cover up serious crimes and more in order to protect her daughter from the furious and jaded employee.
Powers and abilities
- Meta-human physiology: As a result of being placed in a cryogenic chamber by Thomas Snow/Icicle, Carla became a meta-human. However, she has yet to manifest any sort of abilities.
- Genius-level intellect/Great business acumen: Carla is an extremely intelligent scientist and an excellent businesswoman, as she managed to run her own research company, Tannhauser Industries, very successfully for an unknown number of years since she founded it.
- Master scientist/Biologist: Being a highly regarded biomedical engineer, Carla is one of the world's best scientists, evidenced by the fact that she unintentionally leaves individuals who work with her in her shadow. With the help of Julian Albert, Carla was able to produce a serum to temporarily suppress Caitlin's Killer Frost persona using a sample of her daughter's meta-human DNA.
- Expert bio cryogenic: Carla displayed an expertise in cryo science, having conducted research on applications of cryo medicine. Upon studying her daughter's cryokinesis abilities, Carla provided Caitlin more information about her powers.
- Skilled deceiver: Carla aided her husband in faking his demise and was able hide the truth about Thomas' fate for years from everyone, even her own family. Ralph Dibny noted Carla was a very good liar.
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
Behind the scenes
- Interestingly enough, on CBS's 's second episode "", the main villain is a genetic engineer named Carl Tanner.
|Other versions of Carla Tannhauser|
|To see other versions of this character, click the Earth name below for that Earth's counterpart of Carla Tannhauser.|
|Earth: 1 • 2|