While Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame was the most ambitious crossover in superhero film history, we’re about to see the most ambitious crossover in superhero television history with this fall’s Crisis on Infinite Earths on the CW. Every DC Comics based Arrowverse show will be involved — Arrow, the Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, Black Lightning and Batwoman. And what currently has fans most excited is the return of Tom Welling as Clark Kent and Erica Durance as Lois Lane, officially making Smallville a part of the extended DC television Multiverse.
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But what can fans expect from this epic once-in-a-lifetime crossover? One just has to look to the original comics to see how this is all going to play out. Certainly there will be huge differences, but the template is all right there. Let’s unpack just what DC fans should expect in this most epic of crossovers events.
The Monitor vs. The Anti-Monitor
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In the original Crisis comic, creators Marv Wolfman and George Perez introduced the central conflict of the series through two main characters: The Monitor, an being from the dawn of time who cataloged the history of the Multiverse, and the Anti-Monitor, his “evil twin” from the Anti-Matter Universe. This uber villain sought to extend his reality by engulfing all the positive matter worlds of the Multiverse.
We know that LaMonica Garrett will be playing both the Monitor and Anti-Monitor in Crisis. So that suggests that the basic story will reflect the original comic. There, the Anti-Monitor was unleashed into the Multiverse by a character named Pariah, who will be played by The Flash’s Tom Cavanagh. This suggests that in the Arrowverse, Pariah is one of the many versions of Flash’s Harrison Wells. In the comics, the Monitor had a herald who brought together all the heroes from across the known Earths named Harbinger. Although Harbinger has not been cast yet, we’d be shocked not to see her too.
One New Universe
One of the main facets of the original Crisis comic book was to simplify the DC Universe. At the time, there were several comics taking place on different Earths, which the higher ups at DC felt confused new readers. So it was decided that through the story of Crisis, the remaining Earths would merge into one. And that “one true Earth” lasted for several decades.
Currently, the Arrowverse shows are split up between different Earths. Arrow, The Flash, Legends, and presumably the new Batwoman series take place on Earth-1. Meanwhile, Suprergirl is said to take place on Earth-38. Black Lightning is on an unknown Earth. We think that to simplify matters, these Earths will be folded into one by the end of the crossover. So when Supergirl wants to visit her buddy the Flash, she won’t need to cross dimensions. She can just fly from National City to Central City.
Back in 1985, the two biggest and most shocking deaths in Crisis were the those of Supergirl and the Flash. These were major top tier heroes for the company, and fans everywhere were gobsmacked at their demise. And these deaths mattered — both characters remained dead for over two decades. But given that both the Flash and Supergirl are headliners of the two most popular CW shows, we doubt either of them are going anywhere just yet.
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But Crisis needs a big death that will stick, and who better than Green Arrow? With Arrow ending right around the time that Crisis airs, it makes perfect sense for Ollie to pull the last arrow from his quiver. If this crossover is going to have the same story structure as the original comics, we need one big heroic sacrifice to happen. Ollie dying to save reality would be the same emotional gut punch that having Tony Stark die to save the universe in Endgame. And like Iron Man, Arrow was the character that started it all for DC’s television universe. So it fits.
Easter Egg Characters Galore
So far, we know that several characters from past pre-Arrow DC shows are making an appearance in Crisis. Burt Ward is showing up, presumably as an older version of Robin. Thus canonizing Batman ’66 into the Arrowverse. Brandon Routh is playing a version of Superman that reflects the legendary mini-series Kingdom Come, but that also probably means that the Superman Returns continuity is one of the multiple Earths as well. Kevin Conroy will play an older Bruce Wayne, perhaps the same one as the one from Batman: The Animated Series. And the one that has fans most excited is the return of Tom Welling and Erica Durance as the Smallville versions of Superman and Lois Lane.
But we have no reason to think it’ll end there. There has been too many DC films and TV shows over the decades to not reference other great iterations of the past. Lynda Carter has already appeared on Supergirl, so it seems like a no-brainer to have her show up as an older Wonder Woman. Heck, if they are canonizing Batman: The Animated Series, then why not Super Friends? If the Wonder Twins showed up in live-action form, fans would lose their minds.
And while it’s highly unlikely that Michael Keaton or George Clooney would return in any capacity, why not get another actor to play “90s movie Batman?” He was played by three different dudes back in the day, so fans would surely accept a fourth in the role. The possibilities are endless here. And fans have asked for years for Supergirl Melissa Benoist to play Kara’s alternate Earth counterpart Power Girl, and for Arrow’s David Ramsey to play a version of Green Lantern John Stewart. Crisis is the perfect opportunity for that to finally become reality.
The DCEU Might Be Canonized
While we think it’s highly, highly unlikely that any of the players from the big screen DCEU will show up, we think there just might be a moment in which we see glimpses of the characters in the form of stock footage from the films. Maybe as a glimpse on the Monitor’s satellite. If they do this, it would explain that the movies are indeed part of a greater DC Multiverse. Once you incorporate older shows like the ’90s Flash and Batman ’66, it’ll establish that there’s been a greater DC on screen universe since long before the MCU was a glimmer in Kevin Feige’s eye!
Simply put, the sky is the limit on this crossover. Here’s hoping that it makes every longtime DC fan’s dreams come true.
Images: Warner Brothers / CW