Every season, CW’s DCTV superhero shows join forces for an multi-night crossover event and this year, Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl’s annual team-up is shaping up to be epic. Here’s everything we know about the event -- titled "Elseworlds" -- so far. (SPOILERS AHEAD!)
The Flash Will Kick Things Off
Usually, Supergirl airs on Sunday nights, Arrow on Mondays, and The Flash on Tuesdays. But during crossover week, Supergirl and The Flash will switch timeslots, with The Flash kicking things off on Sunday, December 9, at 8 p.m. ET, Arrow following on Monday, December 10, at 8 p.m. ET, and Supergirl wrapping it up on Tuesday, December 11, at 8 p.m. ET. Legends of Tomorrow has opted to bow out of this year’s crossover – though the showrunner promises they will be doing something extra special in that week's episode. Though officially a DCTV show, Black Lightning is not considered to be part of the Arrowverse and will not participate.
Iconic Comic Characters Will Be Introduced
The crossover will introduce Batwoman (played by Orange Is the New Black’s Ruby Rose) to the CW universe. (Don't expect Batman to appear, though; the crossover establishes that he's been missing for years, leading to a rise in criminal activity in Gotham.) Also new to this universe is Lois Lane (played by Grimm’s Elizabeth Tulloch), Mr. Freeze’s wife Nora Fries (played by Stephen Amell’s wife Cassandra Jean Amell), Mar Novu/The Monitor (played by LaMonica Garrett), and villains John Deegan (play by Lost’s LaMonica Garrett) and Psycho-Pirate (played by The 100's Bob Frazer). Tyler Hoechlin will reprise his role as Clark Kent/Superman.
What’s It About?
Arkham Asylum’s Dr. John Deegan’s machinations will rewrite reality, which sees Oliver and Barry switching superhero personas. The theme of this year’s crossover is “Elseworlds,” which takes inspiration from the classic comic run in which familiar characters were featured in stories outside their series’ regular continuity – which means pretty much anything can happen without lasting consequences for the shows. Arrow star Echo Kellum described the plot to Extra as "Stephen [Amell] and Grant [Gustin] having kind of a Freaky Friday/Quantum Leap aspect going on," while Supergirl's Mellisa Benoist told EW that her character is the only one who can see Oliver and Barry for who they really are: "She inevitably becomes kind of a middleman because ultimately there’s conflict between the two and they start butting heads."
Other storylines involve Oliver and Barry dressed as criminals called “Trigger Twins”, and Dr. Deegan becomes an evil Superman in an all-black costume. We're guessing we'll also get some teasers for next year's crossover, Crisis on Infinite Earths. In the comics, the crisis destroys the multiverse and only leaves one Earth remaining. It also depicts the deaths of Supergirl and The Flash, but we're guessing that won't happen on the CW version.
Expect a Lighter Tone
From alien invasions to parallel timelines in which our beloved characters were reimagined as Nazis (yeah, we’re still trying to repress that one), the crossovers have historically told dark and gritty stories. But expect this year’s event to lighten up a bit. Arrow showrunner Beth Schwartz told EW, "This one doesn’t feel quite as dark as last season’s. I definitely think there’s a lot more fun to be had in the crossover this year."
Consulting producer Marc Guggenheim said in a recent interview, "What I love about this year's crossover is that the last two years, it was parallel Earths, Nazis, and it was alien invasions, and really huge big stuff. And for a variety of reasons, we intentionally decided to go a bit smaller. But there's more 'I can't believe they did this' for comic book fans, more wonderful stuff than we've had in the previous four years combined."
"It was the most fun that I've had maybe ever throughout the course of doing the show," Amell told TV Guide of shooting this year's crossover. He also revealed that he pitched the “very funny” opening scene which, according to the hilarious new promos, sees Oliver waking up as Barry Allen (complete with Iris as his loving wife). Another promo sees Barry coming to in the middle of a training session in the ARGUS bunker with Diggle, while Kara is stuck in a prison guarded by an alt-Earth Alex.
There Will Be Surprise Guest Stars
On Twitter, Amell teased a “surprise return guest.” Last year’s crossover featured an appearance by Arrow alum Colin Donnell, and a recent bts photo suggests he was on set during filming (though he was likely just been visiting, as a portion of the crossover was filmed in Chicago, where Donnell shoots Chicago Med). John Barrowman (who played Malcolm Meryln), will return as an alt-world cop alongside Kirk Acevedo (Ricardo Diaz) and Liam Hall (Slade Wilson's son Joe).
The Lead Characters Will Shine
Unlike years past, where the multiple show’s supporting characters were integral to the crossover’s plot, this year’s focus will be on the leads. In a recent interview, Amell said, “The crossover in general — it sounds to me like what I’ve been hoping for for a while. We would get bigger and bigger and bigger, but at a certain point, we have to pare it down a little bit and do more of a character-driven story, so we’re really focusing this year on a core five [characters]: Oliver, Barry, Supergirl, Superman, and Batwoman. That’s more exciting for me, because it’s more of a character piece." The Flash's Danielle Panabaker echoed his sentiment: "I'm excited about this crossover because it feels a little bit more like the first one we did. It's going back to a much smaller cast of characters doing the crossovers this time, going from show to show. There’s really not that many of us. It's nice. It actually feels a little nostalgic."
Don’t Count Out the Supporting Characters, Though
Despite the focus being on the lead characters, supporting characters from each show will still appear. David Ramsey (who plays Arrow’s Diggle) makes appearances in all episodes. Emily Bett Rickards (Arrow’s Felicity) teased to TV Guide that the post-prison tension between Olicity will factor into the plot: “Felicity is very shocked as a character [in the crossover], and also, [she] and Oliver weren't necessarily in the best spot — they're not in the best part of their relationship in this season, so that played into where they sort of lie when all things go to sh*t." Meanwhile, Supergirl’s Mehcad Brooks (James) and Jesse Rath (Brainiac), and The Flash’s John Wesley Shipp (Henry Allen) and Carlos Valdes (Cisco) were among the supporting cast members spotted filming.
The Post-Credit Teaser
In a clip that is airing as a tag at the end of the Supergirl, The Flash and Arrow episodes the week before the crossover, we see The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) on a ravaged Earth-90, where the charred ground is littered with the corpses of Firestorm, Captain Cold, Green Arrow (the Smallville version), Stargirl and more. An injured Flash (John Wesley Shipp) asks "Why are you doing this?" to which The Monitor replies, "You did this to yourself, and now all of you will perish." This seems to lead into next year's crossover, "Crisis on Infinite Earths". Amell told EW. "The whole essence of the crossover is that there is a giant threat coming. What you have is a character called the Monitor, who is basically testing universes to see which universe is going to best be able to withstand the incoming threat."
The CW has released several photos from the three-night crossover. Check them out below to see all the identity-swapping madness that awaits, beginning Sunday, Dec. 9, with The Flash at 8 p.m. ET.