10:15am PT by Liz Shannon Miller
'Crisis on Infinite Earths': Ranking the Wildest Crossover Cameos
[This story contains spoilers for Crisis on Infinite Earths, parts one, two and three on The CW.]
One of the most fun aspects of Crisis on Infinite Earths is the producers' decision to not just bring together all of The CW's series based on DC Comics characters but to find ways to incorporate the many other screen adaptations of the universe's most beloved characters. For more than 50 years, countless actors have brought iconic superheroes and supervillains to life for both film and TV versions of these stories, with multiple versions of Batman, Superman and more appearing onscreen over the decades.
The core story of Crisis revolves around a seismic threat to the multiverse, which contains many alternate versions of our Earth, populated by a wide range of characters. The premise, therefore, enabled the producers to draw in representation from the wild, rich history of the franchise.
In addition, as this is one of the Arrow-verse's most ambitious events, this miniseries of sorts includes other cameos that might not directly relate to established DC properties but will definitely reward fans. This post will be updated after every episode of the crossover with the most significant cameos from each installment.
17. Wil Wheaton
Beyond some voice work on shows such as Teen Titans, Star Trek: The Next Generation star Wil Wheaton doesn't have an immediate connection to the DC world. But Supergirl executive producer Robert Rovner told reporters at a press event previewing the crossover that they were fans of the nerd icon and had even wanted to include him on the show the previous year. So, when the idea of stacking Crisis with cameos came together, Wheaton's name came up, and he was available to play the man warning citizens of National City that the end was nigh, and Supergirl would not be able to save them. "He did a great job as our doomsday sayer. I love him," Rovner said.
15. Jon Cryer
The Two and a Half Men star was cast as Supergirl's version of Lex Luthor last year (a meta nod to Cryer's role as Lenny Luther in 1987's Superman IV: The Quest for Peace) and continues to be obsessed not just with power but with his ultimate nemesis. Cryer returns in Crisis part two to torment Supermen throughout the multiverse, thanks to the awesome powers of the Book of Destiny. He'll also appear in part three.
14. Griffin Newman
The Tick is not officially a part of DC Comics continuity, but connoisseurs of superhero tales surely appreciated the brief appearance of Griffin Newman, who played Arthur in the short-lived Amazon live-action series, as the quiz master who informs Ray and Sara that they've lost the game of bar trivia they're playing. (The significance of the role will also not be lost on fans of Newman's popular movie podcast Blank Check, as Newman and co-host David Sims talk frequently about the early days of their friendship, spent competing in similar bar trivia nights.)
11. The Titans
While only seen briefly during one of the many flashes to other universes, Crisis did make time to remind viewers at home about the existence of DC Universe's Titans, the dark and gritty series featuring a Dick Grayson who has decided to make his own rules and his own team without Batman's involvement.
9. Wentworth Miller
The alternate Earth where the heroes find a Waverider going spare is also where a Legends of Tomorrow reunion takes place: This world's Rory (Dominic Purcell) has taken to living inside the ship, which is controlled by artificial intelligence known as "Leonard," voiced by one-time Legends series-regular Wentworth Miller. Since leaving the show on a full-time basis at the end of season one, Miller has made frequent appearances on the series as various incarnations of Leonard Snart. While only making his presence here known as a snarky voice haunting his former partner, it's a fun reminder of one of the franchise's most enduring partnerships.
7. Brandon Routh
Brandon Routh is of course already a series regular on Legends of Tomorrow — but Ray Palmer/the Atom wasn't his first superhero role, as he beat out plenty of other unknowns to win the job of Clark Kent/Superman in Bryan Singer's 2006 film Superman Returns. For Crisis, Routh once again wore the blue pajamas as a slightly older and grayer Clark Kent, who is now the editor-in-chief of the Daily Planet. (As Clark tells the heroes from another world, in his universe all his former coworkers, including Lois Lane, were killed by the Joker years ago — which saved Crisis from trying to figure out how to include cameos by Routh's Returns co-stars Kate Bosworth and Frank Langella.)
6. Burt Ward
Not only did the resident of Earth-66 (a direct reference to the year in which the Adam West-starring Batman series began) make a cameo, but one of the very first actors to play Robin also got in one of his iconic puns as the sky flashed red above him.
5. Robert Wuhl
Robert Wuhl's long career has included memorable roles in The Bodyguard, Bull Durham and, of course, the titular role of HBO's long-running comedy series Arli$$. But for Batman fans, the first thing that comes to mind when his name comes up may be his role in Tim Burton's 1989 take on the Dark Knight. As Alexander Knox, a journalist at the Gotham Globe who simultaneously competes with and hits on photographer Vicki Vale, Wuhl was one of the film's most memorable supporting characters and thus a perfect way to invoke the memory of what ended up being a seismic film not just for Batman, but for comic book adaptations of all kinds.
4. Erica Durance
When it comes to the DC Universe, Erica Durance has been pulling double duty for a while, first as Lois Lane for six seasons of Smallville, and recently as Kara's mother, Alura Zor-El, on Supergirl. So Durance not only made an appearance in Crisis part one, as Alura is killed and Argo City is destroyed by the antimatter wave, but in part two, she returns as the Lois Lane happily married to…
3. Tom Welling
Why settle for two Supermen when there's a third available? The Smallville star, eight years after saying goodbye to the DC comics world, returned for a confrontation with Lex Luthor, on a quest to kill Supermen throughout the multiverse. As opposed to Routh and Tyler Hoechlin (who plays the Supergirl version of the Man of Steel), Welling's Clark Kent has stuck to farm life, surrendering his powers to live a normal life with Lois and their daughters. (Even without his powers, he's still pretty unimpressed by Lex.)
2. Ace the Bat-Hound
He might not get any speaking lines, but executive producer Marc Guggenheim confirmed to reporters that the dog being walked by Burt Ward during his cameo is meant to be Batman and Robin's faithful crime-fighting pup, an off-and-on mainstay of the comics who also appeared in several animated incarnations of Batman stories. (He is definitely a good boy.)
1. Kevin Conroy
When the Monitor tells the assembled heroes that they need to seek out "paragons" that will be key to saving the multiverse, one of the clues offered is a pretty obvious reference to Batman. But while the actor cast as an older Bruce Wayne has been playing the role for almost 30 years, this is the first time his face has been visible onscreen as the character. Kevin Conroy first starred in Batman: The Animated Series in 1992 and has since reprised the role across multiple series, animated films and video games. While this Batman belongs to a different Earth than the one Kate Kane is from, meeting this alternate version of her cousin makes for one of the more surprising moments of Crisis part two.
Crisis on Infinite Earths has only just begun. Stay tuned for further updates to this list.