8:15am PT by Sydney Bucksbaum
DC TV Watch: Everything to Know About the 'Crisis on Infinite Earths' Crossover (So Far)
Welcome back to The Hollywood Reporter's weekly DC TV Watch, a rundown of all things DC Comics on the small screen. Every Saturday, we round up the major twists, epic fights, new mysteries and anything else that goes down on The CW's Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, Black Lightning and new series Batwoman. This week, we're rounding up all the teases to the upcoming Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover so far and what it means for the Arrow-verse.
Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover
Which shows are participating? | For the first time, the Arrow-verse crossover will be five episodes long, one hour for each Arrow-verse series: Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and new series Batwoman. The epic event will be split into two chapters: three episodes airing December 2019 and the remaining two airing January 2020 with the holiday hiatus in the middle. This will be the last crossover including Arrow, as the flagship series of the franchise will end with a 10-episode final season that brings it right to the crossover (with one or two episodes remaining after to tie up loose ends and say goodbye with a proper series finale).
Which character will die? | Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past six months, you already have a pretty clear idea of what the Crisis is. First introduced during this past Elseworlds crossover, otherworldly being Mar Novu aka The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) came to Earth-1 to test the heroes of the world to see if they'd be enough to fight the impending Crisis. In the fight, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) made a deal with The Monitor to save Barry's (Grant Gustin) and Kara's (Melissa Benoist) lives. But as fans learned in the Arrow season seven finale, Oliver had no idea what kind of a deal he made. It wasn't until The Monitor showed up at Oliver's new off-the-grid home after he had retired from the superhero life with his wife, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), and their newborn daughter that he learned it was his life he traded for theirs. Oliver now knows that he will die in the Crisis, but he went with The Monitor anyway to help save the world. And in the Arrow season seven finale, his death was confirmed in the future flash-forwards, as his gravestone revealed the year he died: 2019. That means Oliver will die at some point in the first chapter of the crossover (the first three episodes airing in December 2019), with the second chapter in 2020 dealing with the fallout.
What is the Crisis? | But for what exactly is Oliver going to die? The conflict of the upcoming Crisis comes ripped straight from the comics in the huge, 12-issue series published in 1985-86, widely regarded as one of the most important comic arcs of all time. The story was designed to get rid of the multiverse and make one continuity for readers, making the world of DC easier to understand and more exciting with more opportunities for characters to cross over with each other. And the effects were far-reaching for every single comic book series. The Crisis kicks off with The Monitor's evil counterpart, The Anti-Monitor, as he begins destroying Earths with antimatter so he can become the ruler of all realities. This means Garrett will most likely pull double duty to play both The Monitor and the evil twin. However, while The Monitor does return briefly to recruit heroes from all Earths to stop The Anti-Monitor, he's killed pretty quickly. The Anti-Monitor plays a much bigger role.
What will the Crisis do to the Arrow-verse? | Aside from claiming at least one major hero's life (expect many, many other casualties from the big event in addition to Oliver), the ultimate goal of the Crisis is to destroy the multiverse. That's right: While the heroes do ultimately defeat The Anti-Monitor, they don't succeed in stopping his plan fully. At the end of the arc, there is only one single shared universe left standing, a merger of five different Earths. While Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and new series Batwoman all take place on Earth-1, it's important to note that Supergirl takes place on Earth-38. As of now, Kara requires breach technology to cross dimensions for crossovers. But after the Crisis, whatever Earth is left over will have all of the remaining Arrow-verse heroes who survive, making crossovers that much easier to pull off and explain. But could Black Lightning also become a part of this new reality? It's currently not part of the Arrow-verse, but if The CW really wants to make an impact, having an unexpected appearance of the other DC TV series in the crossover would be the best surprise. The possibilities for lasting impact are endless with this crossover if the writers fully lean in to the potential.
What teases have dropped so far? | So many clues that the Arrow-verse was heading in this direction were planted from the very beginning of the franchise. When The Flash first debuted, Barry had access to a future newspaper headline: "Flash Missing, Vanishes in Crisis," which has always meant the show was going to take on the Crisis arc. It was also referenced throughout the entire Elseworlds crossover as The Monitor noticeably kept using the word "crisis," warning that one was imminent, and that was why he was rewriting reality to test every Earth to see if there were any heroes good enough to face whatever was coming. But the end tag of Elseworlds confirmed that he was indeed trying to prepare Earth-1 (along with all the other alternate versions of Earth) for Crisis on Infinite Earths.
After that, the Arrow-verse had fun dropping in even more teases leading up to the biggest crossover yet. First, The Monitor showed up in the Arrow season seven finale to collect on the deal he made with Oliver, bringing him along on his otherworldly journey as he tries to stop the Crisis. In the future, he brought Felicity through a portal to presumably reunite with her dead husband, implying that she was moving on to the afterlife. Then The Monitor showed up on Supergirl in the season four finale, bringing a revenge-motivated Martian with him and doing something to Lex Luthor's (Jon Cryer) dead body. Then he showed up again in the Legends of Tomorrow season four finale, but he didn't do anything besides observe the Legends in action and eat popcorn while shaking his head and smiling. This was the first time The Monitor came in contact with the Legends since they sat out the Elseworlds crossover, and it will be interesting to see how they fit into Crisis.
The final tease (so far) came at the very end of The Flash season five finale, when the future newspaper headline first seen in the series premiere changed as a result of the timeline changing. The date of The Flash's disappearance moved up from 2024 to 2019, confirming that it's always been warning of the Crisis. In the comics, The Flash is one of two heroes to die during the Crisis. But there's no way The Flash is going to kill off Barry Allen. It's more likely that he'll actually disappear at some point in the first three episodes of the crossover (since it occurs in 2019). And while The Flash's disappearance was permanent in his daughter Nora's (Jessica Parker Kennedy) original timeline, that doesn't mean Barry won't ever return from the Crisis now that the timeline has changed. In fact, he could return during the second chapter of the crossover airing in 2020, after that newspaper headline is printed. Seeing as how The Flash has a full season six, the star probably won't be written off entirely. And Oliver did trade his life for Barry's, so it wouldn't make sense for both heroes to disappear permanently even though Barry is one of the casualties in the Crisis comic book arc. Expect the Arrow-verse to make some changes from the source material in that regard.
One last prediction ... | Since Oliver traded his life for both Barry's and Kara's, it would stand to reason that another major hero is going to fall to make a balance. So what other Arrow-verse hero will likely die in the crossover alongside Oliver? Since Supergirl sacrifices her life to save Superman's in the comics, the inverse could come true onscreen. Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) is the obvious choice for the second major casualty, both because he wouldn't take down an entire show with him and because he would serve as an equal trade for Supergirl, laying down his life to save hers. And it would be all the more heartbreaking to lose him, as he received news from Lois Lane (Bitsie Tulloch) that she's pregnant with his child during Elseworlds. So if Superman were to die in the fight against The Anti-Monitor, he would do so knowing that his legacy (and love) would survive with Lois and his child, and the world would be in good hands with Kara. He left Earth-38 at the end of Elseworlds to live with Lois on Argo City with their unborn child, but said that he'd return if the world needed him (and it will be all hands on deck for Crisis). Plus, he told Kara point-blank he felt he could leave because Kara was the hero the world needed. Sure sounds like the groundwork for Superman's death has been set.
Note: Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Arrow, The Flash and Black Lightning will return next season, along with new DC TV series Batwoman, all on The CW.