The beginning of the end begins again when the CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths returns tonight. The remaining two episodes (of Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow, respectively) will conclude the epic miniseries—but what happens next? What will the Arrowverse look like after its ultimate miniseries event is finally over? And more importantly, what should it look like?
At the moment, the Anti-Monitor has successfully destroyed the entire multiverse other than Earth-1’s Batwoman, the Flash, Sara Lance, and newcomer Ryan Choi, along with Earth-38’s Supergirl, Martian Manhunter, and Lex Luthor. The two major events that we knew were destined to happen—that Oliver Queen and the Flash would die—have happened, although Earth-90’s Flash sacrificed himself in Earth-1 Barry Allen’s place, saving him via a technicality. Given that Supergirl, Batwoman, The Flash, and Black Lightning all have half of their current seasons to complete, while Legends of Tomorrow’s fifth season begins with the final installment of Crisis, it’s pretty easy to guess the multiverse will get better somehow (and don’t forget those renewals!).
Although—“multiverse” is likely the wrong word here, considering the most likely outcome of the miniseries is that the TV multiverse will be merged into a single universe, just as DC Comics did in the original Crisis on Infinite Earths series. But moving Supergirl to Earth-1 wouldn’t really make it any less difficult for other heroes to go see the Girl of Steel and her supporting cast, or for her to visit the rest of the Arrowverse. The Flash could run to Earth-38 as easily as he could to Green Arrow’s Star City, and Cisco developed handheld universe-breaching gizmos years ago, more or less making these crossovers possible. If National City is brought on Earth-1, it’s essentially going to be a semantic change, other then Supergirl possibly getting a few more namedrops on the other shows.
Bringing Black Lighting to Earth-1 might be a much bigger deal if it means connecting the show more deeply to the Arrowverse proper, but I doubt that will happen either. The show is telling a very different, more focused and sophisticated type of superhero story than its cohorts, and that storytelling will likely suffer if Jefferson Pierce and his family keep getting sucked into the DC/CW’s usual crossover shenanigans. If the TV multiverse really is gone, again, I doubt Black Lightning’s relationship to the other shows would change in any meaningful way, which is probably for the best.
Still, chances of one unified Earth coming out of Crisis seems like a certainty. Flash showrunner Eric Wallace told TV Line, “When you watch the crossover, you’re going to feel those tectonic shifts, especially at the end. It’s not small. It’s a game-changer in the same way that the ending of Crisis the comic book was a game-changer, and it opens up to a whole new world.” You don’t need to parse his words too careful to figure out what this aspect of the post-Crisis Arrowverse will look like.
The second major change we know of is the end of Arrow. The show is ending almost immediately after Crisis is done—there’s only the backdoor pilot for the future-set Green Arrow and the Canaries series and then the finale—so the CW’s DC collection is losing its center. While Oliver Queen is currently dead and has just taken the supernatural mantle of the Spectre, the comics’ spirit of vengeance, I find it unlikely that Ollie won’t get some kind of happier end than winding up as the Arrowverse’s unseen spirit of vengeance (although admittedly it’s a pretty on-brand role for the character). Whatever his status after Crisis is over, Oliver will be gone. But still, the miniseries should change something significant for the Arrowverse other than the end of the show that started it all, right?
We know that Brandon Routh (along with Nora Dahrk’s Courtney Ford) is leaving Legends of Tomorrow, which may or may not happen during or because of Crisis. Losing the character of Ray Palmer will be a bummer—who’s going to bro out with Nate?!—but the Legends crew has always had a revolving door, so it’s not going to be an earthshaking change. The synopsis for Supergirl’s first post-Crisis episode only mentions that the event has “complications” for the Girl of Steel, which doesn’t sound particularly astounding. The event seems like it might have more impact on Black Lightning, given its synopsis reads “Jefferson navigates his new reality following the events of the Red Wave,” although that’s plenty vague. Meanwhile, the synopsis for Batwoman’s next episode doesn’t mention the event at all.
That only leaves The Flash, which absolutely needs to be fundamentally affected by Crisis, considering the event has been underpinning the entire show since the very beginning when Reverse-Flash revealed the future newspaper with “Flash Missing: Vanishes in Crisis” as its headline. Even though we’ve been told that the sacrifice of Earth-90’s Flash means Earth-1’s Barry Allen has cheated his fate, that would be a gigantic, incredibly cheap cop-out to an event six years in the making.
It will be infuriatingly anticlimactic if Barry doesn’t die—or at least vanish as per that headline, although this won’t have nearly as much impact as the character has already disappeared once before (in the season three finale). Obviously, The Flash will be coming back either way, but when he does, hopefully, he’ll be changed more meaningfully, if only because he’ll no longer have an imminent death looming over him. While a more carefree Flash would be nice, it’s not exactly a significant transformation.
Given all this, I worry that Crisis on Infinite Earth won’t have any significant, lasting changes beyond the end of Arrow, and that will be a bummer. The original Crisis comics changed the DC universe on a massive scale, merging continuities, rearranging history, updating characters, and more, but there’s just not much for the Arrowverse to clean up other than setting all the shows on a single Earth. It would be awesome if Crisis did shake up the various series, changing up some origins, bringing some characters back to life (looking at you, Wentworth Miller’s Captain Cold), perhaps killing off a few others (looking very very hard at you, Chris Wood’s Mon-El, who is very unfortunately rumored to be coming back to Supergirl later this year), and maybe redoing some origins and backstories, just for the hell of it.
It would be extra-awesome if the Arrowverse would add just one or two of the characters from past DC superhero shows to the new Earth prime, just to help sell that sense of the multiverse coalescing into a single universe. While I know there’s no chance of Bird of Prey’s Ashley Scott suddenly joining Batwoman as the Huntress, it would be a very cool move. It would be significantly less impressive to have the 1966 Batman TV series’ Burt Ward stroll by Team Flash while they’re having coffee at Jitters, but at least it would be something that would help Crisis feel like an actual “game-changer,” as Wallace put it.
We’ll see how much the game changes tonight. No matter what, surely something won’t be the same once Crisis on Infinite Earths is over—the only question is how much it’ll matter.
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