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Elseworlds (Arrowverse)

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"Elseworlds"
Arrowverse crossover event
Elseworlds (Arrowverse) poster.jpg
Promotional poster
Episode nos.
Directed by
Story by
Teleplay by
  • Eric Wallace (Flash)
  • Sam Chalsen (Flash)
  • Marc Guggenheim (Arrow)
  • Derek Simon (Supergirl)
  • Robert Rovner (Supergirl)
Original air dates
  • December 9, 2018 (2018-12-09) (Flash)
  • December 10, 2018 (2018-12-10) (Arrow)
  • December 11, 2018 (2018-12-11) (Supergirl)
Episode chronology
The Flash
← Previous
"What's Past Is Prologue"
Next →
"Spin Out"
List of The Flash episodes

Arrow
← Previous
"Unmasked"
Next →
"Shattered Lives"
List of Arrow episodes

Supergirl
← Previous
"Bunker Hill"
Next →
"Secrets and Lies"
List of Supergirl episodes
Crossover chronology
Preceded by"Crisis on Earth-X"
Followed by"Crisis on Infinite Earths"

"Elseworlds" is the fifth annual Arrowverse crossover event, featuring episodes of the live-action television series The Flash, Arrow, and Supergirl on The CW. The crossover began on December 9, 2018, with The Flash, continued on Arrow on December 10, and concluded on Supergirl on December 11. "Elseworlds" introduces the characters Batwoman and Lois Lane to the universe, as well as the fictional Gotham City. In the crossover, Green Arrow, Flash, and Supergirl are drawn to Gotham City to confront Dr. John Deegan over his work at Arkham Asylum.

The crossover was confirmed in May 2018 at The CW's upfront presentation, where the inclusion of Batwoman and Gotham City were revealed. Throughout that August and September, casting for the crossover was revealed, including Ruby Rose as Batwoman, Elizabeth Tulloch as Lois Lane, and the announcement that Tyler Hoechlin would return to portray Superman. The title of the crossover was also revealed at the end of September, with filming beginning in October 2018. Additionally, "Elseworlds" sees Arrowverse actors portraying other roles, as well as John Wesley Shipp reprising his role as Barry Allen / Flash from the 1990 series The Flash.

Plot

On Earth-90, the Flash is seen struggling towards a mysterious figure, who tells him he has failed before he uses a powerful book to destroy that reality; though Flash manages to escape. On Earth-1, Arkham Asylum psychiatrist Dr. John Deegan is approached by the mysterious figure, who gives him the book so he can change reality according to his will. The following day, Oliver Queen and Barry Allen wake up in each other's lives; resulting in Oliver becoming the Flash and Barry becoming the Green Arrow. Oliver and Barry head to S.T.A.R. Labs to figure out how to undo the situation, but Team Flash doesn't believe them and lock them up in the pipeline. Oliver and Barry use each other's abilities to escape their cell so they can travel to Earth-38 to get help from Kara Danvers / Supergirl. Meanwhile, an android called A.M.A.Z.O. awakens and begins to threaten Central City. Cisco Ramon retrieves Oliver and Barry from Earth-38, with Kara and her cousin Clark Kent / Superman providing assistance. The group eventually defeat A.M.A.Z.O. and return to S.T.A.R. Labs, where Cisco vibes the mysterious figure and Deegan. The figure tells the group that something's coming and they won't be able to stop it. While Clark returns to Earth-38 to protect it, Oliver realizes the figure and Deegan were located in Gotham City.

Barry, Oliver and Kara arrive in Gotham, only to be arrested after getting into a fight. They are bailed out by an anonymous person later revealed to be Kate Kane, the cousin of Bruce Wayne. The trio, with the assistance of Caitlin, break into Arkham to confront Deegan. Though they retrieve the "Book of Destiny", he escapes and causes a mass breakout. During a confrontation with inmate Nora Fries, who arms herself with her husband's equipment, Barry and Oliver are exposed to Jonathan Crane's fear gas and believe each other to be Eobard Thawne and Malcolm Merlyn, respectively. After stopping the breakout, a mysterious vigilante named Batwoman knocks the two out of their hallucinatory state and tells them to leave Gotham. With the book in hand, they head back to A.R.G.U.S. to fix reality, where they are warned by the Flash of Earth-90 about Mar Novu / Monitor. Barry, Oliver, Kara and the Flash of Earth-90 confront Monitor, who explains that he is re-writing reality to test out worlds to see if they are capable enough to stop an upcoming crisis. Monitor steals the book, escapes, and returns it to Deegan so he can change reality again. This time, Barry and Oliver wake up in a new reality where they are criminals known as the Trigger Twins and are almost apprehended by police officers Ricardo Diaz, Malcolm Merlyn, and Joe Wilson before being confronted by a black-suited Superman.

Deegan, who is revealed to be the black-suited Superman, confronts Barry and Oliver on a rooftop. Despite Deegan possessing Kryptonian abilities, Oliver and Barry manage to escape by shooting a wite holding up an unstable crane, forcing Deegan to catch it instead of them. They decide their best bet is to find Cisco so he can breach them to Earth-38 to find Clark. Kara, meanwhile, is being held in STAR Labs by Deegan and his forces, including a rewritten Diggle, Caitlin and Earth-1's Alex. Barry and Oliver are confronted by the Monitor, who reveals that they'll only survive this test by discovering their true selves. Afterwards, they locate Cisco, who has been rewritten as a crime boss and employs a rewritten Gary and James. Barry and Oliver convince Cisco to help them take down Deegan and he takes them to the Fortress of Solitude on Earth-38 where they find Clark and Lois. Clark agrees to return with them to Earth-1 while Kara convinces Alex to release her. Arriving on Earth-1, Clark immediately fights Deegan while Oliver fights Diggle and Caitlin, giving Alex, Barry and Kara an opening to find the book. They locate it in the Time Vault and take it to Clark, who restores Barry, Oliver and Kara to their real selves. Deegan, however, manages to retrieve the book from them and attempts to rewrite reality once more. Barry and Kara attempt to slow down time by speeding around the Earth in opposite directions, deapite Clark revealing that the book showed them dying in the attempt. Clark distracts Deegan while Oliver goes to confront the Monitor, asking him to spare Barry and Kara and stating they are the best hope for surviving the coming crisis. Clark fights Deegan and a revived AMAZO, soon joined by Lois, Brainy and J'onn. Barry and Kara are nearly torn apart by their speeding but Oliver arrives at the last second and shoots the book with an arrow enhanced by the Monitor. Deegan reverts to himself, though heavily disfigured, and reality is restored. After returning to Earth-38, Clark and Lois reveal they are expecting a child and will be returning to Argo City for an extended period of time, leaving Earth's protection to Kara. Back on Earth-1, Barry and Oliver share a drink while discussing their latest adventure, but are interrupted by Oliver receiving a call from Kate, who informs Oliver that Deegan, now an inmate at Arkham, has made a new friend, the Psycho Pirate, who is seen telling Deegan that "worlds will live, worlds will die and nothing will be the same."

The episode, and the crossover, ends with an announcement of Crisis on Infinite Earths coming in Fall 2019.

Cast and characters

Main and recurring

Actor Character Episode
The Flash Arrow Supergirl
Grant Gustin[1][2] Barry Allen / Flash Main Guest
Oliver Queen / Green Arrow
Candice Patton[3] Iris West-Allen Main Does not appear
Danielle Panabaker[4] Caitlin Snow / Killer Frost Main Guest
Carlos Valdes[5][6] Cisco Ramon / Vibe Main Guest
Hartley Sawyer[citation needed] Ralph Dibny / Elongated Man Main Does not appear TBA
Tom Cavanagh "Sherloque" Wells Main Does not appear TBA
Eobard Thawne / Reverse-Flash Does not appear Guest TBA
Stephen Amell[1][2] Oliver Queen / Green Arrow Guest Main Guest
Barry Allen / Flash
David Ramsey[5] John Diggle Guest Main Guest
Tyler Hoechlin[7] Kal-El / Clark Kent / Superman / John Deegan Guest
Melissa Benoist[1] Kara Zor-El / Kara Danvers / Supergirl Guest Main
Jeremy Davies[8][better source needed][9] John Deegan Guest
LaMonica Garrett[10][11][better source needed] Mar Novu / Monitor Guest
Elizabeth Tulloch[12] Lois Lane Guest Does not appear Guest
Emily Bett Rickards[5] Felicity Smoak Does not appear Main TBA
Echo Kellum[13][better source needed] Curtis Holt Does not appear Main TBA
Kirk Acevedo[14] Ricardo Diaz Does not appear Main TBA
Ruby Rose[15][16] Kate Kane / Batwoman Uncredited cameo Guest
Bob Frazer[17] Roger Hayden / Psycho-Pirate Does not appear Guest
Mehcad Brooks[18] James Olsen Does not appear Main
Chyler Leigh[19] Alex Danvers Does not appear Main
David Harewood[20] J'onn J'onzz Does not appear Main
Jesse Rath[20] Querl "Brainy" Dox / Brainiac 5 Does not appear Main

Guest

The Flash

Arrow

Production

Development

Yearly crossover events in the Arrowverse have occurred on The CW since the 2013–14 television season, when Barry Allen was introduced in the eighth episode of Arrow's second season ahead of the debut of The Flash. The next year, the eighth episodes of the third season of Arrow and the first season of The Flash formed a two-part event known as "Flash vs. Arrow". In January 2015, The CW president Mark Pedowitz said that there would be an Arrowverse crossover every season.[23] In the 2015–16 television season, a two-part event, "Heroes Join Forces" between the eighth episodes of the fourth season of Arrow and the second season of The Flash was used to set up a new team-up series, Legends of Tomorrow.[24] For the 2016–17 television season, the "Invasion!" crossover included The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow, with the event beginning at the end of Supergirl.[25][26][27] A true four-part crossover occurred in the 2017–18 television season with "Crisis on Earth-X", which also tied into the animated web series, Freedom Fighters: The Ray, and featured characters and concepts from that series.[28]

In May 2018, The CW president Pedowitz and Arrow lead Stephen Amell announced at The CW's upfront presentation that Batwoman would be introduced in the upcoming crossover, fighting alongside the other Arrowverse heroes, with the fictional Gotham City also appearing. Despite the inclusion of the character and city, the crossover would not be including the television series Gotham that airs on Fox.[29] That July, the CW was planning a potential standalone series for Batwoman after her appearance in the crossover,[30] with Caroline Dries, who was creating and writing the potential Batwoman series, expected to consult on the crossover.[31] Additionally, it was confirmed that Legends of Tomorrow would not feature in the crossover.[30] Legends of Tomorrow co-showrunner Phil Klemmer explained, since the crossover was being used to launch the Batwoman-led series, "it just became over capacity". He added that since Legends of Tomorrow would have 16 episodes in their season, the crossover would have been "a tonal speed-bump, or a departure, and we just don't have time to step away from our story this year."[32] Despite not being a part of the official crossover, Legends of Tomorrow co-showrunner Keto Shimizu revealed the show's episode airing the week of the crossover would be "crossing over with ourselves", through the use of alternate time periods,[33] and there is a Legends cameo in the Supergirl episode.[2] At the end of September 2018, the title for the crossover was revealed to be "Elseworlds", sharing the name of the Elseworlds imprint of comics from DC Comics, which were stories that took place outside the DC Universe canon.[34]

Writing

The story for "Elseworlds" was created by Greg Berlanti, the executive producers and writers from each series, Geoff Johns, and Dries. Arrow showrunner Beth Schwartz referred to all of these individuals as "the Super Writers' Room",[35] and noted that former Arrow showrunner Marc Guggenheim, who serves as a consultant on Arrow's seventh season, had "taken the lead on the crossover", acting as the showrunner for the crossover.[36] The Flash episode was written by Eric Wallace & Sam Chalsen, the Arrow episode features a story by Caroline Dries and a teleplay by Marc Guggenheim, and the Supergirl episode features a story by Marc Guggenheim and a teleplay by Derek Simon & Robert Rovner.[9] The scripts for the episodes were completed by mid-September 2018.[37] Guggenheim felt "Elseworlds" would have a long-lasting impact for the Arrowverse and "lays the groundwork for next year’s crossover."[10]

The preceding episodes of each series feature "puzzling events" that lead to the events of the crossover.[10] The same end-credits scene teasing the events of crossover aired at the end of the episodes "Bunker Hill", "Unmasked", and "What's Past Is Prologue". The scene also confirmed Earth-90 as the earth for the Flash from the 1990 television series. Guggenheim felt the tease was "cool because we’ve never... setup the crossover in the previous episodes before." The tease was meant to be one of two options for the "Elseworlds" cold opening. The writers could not choose which they wanted to use, with Guggenheim explaining someone decided to "take one cold open, move that and make that the post-credit tag, like the way The Flash typically does, at the end of all three shows, and then have the other cold open at the beginning of hour one." Supergirl co-showrunner Robert Rovner added that the tease was only supposed to air with Flash's "What's Past Is Prologue", before being added to the other two episodes to make things easier for viewers since they "are coming to [the crossover] from our separate shows and we wanted something that [connects them together]."[22]

Stephen Amell revealed that, unlike previous Arrowverse crossovers, this one would not be as extravagant, but more about "the characters and the story",[38] focusing on Green Arrow, Flash, Supergirl, Superman, and Batwoman.[39] Guggenheim felt by only focusing on Green Arrow, Flash, and Supergirl, the writers "really had a chance to tell a story about the troika that we’ve never really been able to do before." This was one factor to why Legends of Tomorrow was not included in "Elseworlds", to highlight the amount of time Amell, Grant Gustin, and Melissa Benoist could interact. "Elseworlds" also returns to the episodic format of the earlier crossovers, unlike the approach taken with "Crisis on Earth-X". Rovner explained, "It’s like a three chapters of one story, but they’re all kind of unique to their own show," with The Flash showrunner Todd Helbing adding, "Flash kind of feels like a Flash episode, Arrow feels like an Arrow episode, [and] Supergirl feels like a Supergirl episode."[2]

"Elseworlds" features Amell and Gustin portraying each other's respective characters. Gustin noted, "You’re not going to see me playing Oliver Queen’s mannerisms, or Stephen playing Barry’s mannerisms. It’s more being aware that for some reason we’ve switched lives and destinies. It’s more the fun of the situational comedy that we keep finding ourselves in, and less us having a complete role reversal." Amell added, "there are elements of his personality I have to embrace, and there are elements of my personality that he has to embrace" for Oliver and Barry to defeat the threat. Supergirl is the only other character who can see Barry and Oliver for who they really are, with Benoist saying "She inevitably becomes kind of a middleman because ultimately there’s conflict between the two and they start butting heads."[2] Schwartz felt "Elseworlds" would not "feel quite as dark" as "Crisis on Earth-X" and that there was "a lot more fun to be had" in "Elseworlds".[36] Other changes in the episodes include Kara and Alex Danvers no longer being sisters.[19]

Including Superman in the crossover, who Berlanti had permission to use before the initial crossover meeting with The CW in March 2018, helped justify introducing Lois Lane to the Arrowverse, as she was a character the writer of Supergirl always wanted to introduce and "she organically fit" into the crossover story. Additionally, with Kara "at a crossroads" after the events of "Bunker Hill", Rover felt "the journey that she’s on is kind of helped by Clark, who is returning from Argo [City] kind of on his own journey."[35] Hoechlin also portrays an antagonistic version of Superman from "a dark corner of the multiverse".[10] Gotham City in the crossover is considered a failed city, with Batman missing for several years resulting in an increase in crime. Speaking to their adaptation of Gotham City, Dries called the city "not a happy place", "grimy", and "scary", adding, "Some people are thriving in [Batman's] absence because now they can start to do their own thing without the oversight. A lot of other people are suffering and they’re losing hope, and the city itself and infrastructure is falling apart." Guggenheim called it "a dead city" and "practically a ghost town". While Batman is not seen in the crossover, the characters debate if he actually exists, with Oliver feeling he is made up and Barry believing he is real.[40]

Casting

In early August, Ruby Rose was cast as Batwoman for the crossover and potential series.[41] The producers noted Rose's passion in her audition, along with an "aura of cool, nonchalant, somewhat aloof, mixed with charming and thoughtful and funny that it just kind of all made sense for her to be Kate," according to Dries.[16] Later in the month, it was revealed that Tyler Hoechlin would reprise his role as Kal-El / Clark Kent / Superman in all three episodes, and that the producers were looking to introduced Lois Lane in the crossover as well.[7] By mid-September, Elizabeth Tulloch was cast as Lois Lane,[42] Stephen Amell's wife, Cassandra Jean Amell, was cast to portray Nora Fries,[21] Jeremy Davies had been cast as John Deegan, the antagonist for the crossover,[1] and LaMonica Garrett was cast in the "prominent role" of Mar Novu / Monitor.[34] During filming in late October 2018, it was revealed that John Wesley Shipp, who has portrayed Henry Allen and Jay Garrick in the Arrowverse, would be reprising his role as Barry Allen / Flash from the 1990 television series.[43] By the end of filming in early November, Bob Frazer was cast as Roger Hayden / Psycho Pirate.[17]

Design

In "Elseworlds", Hoechlin wears an all-black version of Superman's suit while portraying an antagonistic version of the character.[10] This costume is similar to the one the character wore in the comics after coming back from the dead as part of the "Death of Superman" crossover.[36] Shipp's Flash costume from the 1990s series was recreated by The Flash costume designer Kate Main,[44] using the original costume as a reference.[45]

Filming

Filming for the episodes began on October 9, 2018.[46] On October 17, filming for the Kent family farm occurred at the same farmhouse used in the series Smallville.[47][35] The Supergirl writers pitched using the Smallville farm as the meeting point for Kara and Clark because it was an "organic place for them to meet" given what each character was dealing with at the beginning of the crossover.[35] A "derelict mental health facility" in Vancouver was used for Arkham Asylum scenes.[16] Scenes of Gotham City and Wayne Enterprises were shot in Chicago, Illinois.[48] Filming concluded on November 3.[49] Kevin Tancharoen directed The Flash episode,[9] James Bamford served as director for the Arrow episode,[16][9] and Jesse Warn directed Supergirl's episode.[9]

Release

Broadcast

The crossover began with The Flash on December 9, 2018, continued on Arrow on December 10, and concluded on Supergirl on December 11, all on The CW. The Flash, which normally airs on Tuesdays at 8 pm, and Supergirl, which normally airs on Sundays at 8 pm, swapped time-slots for the crossover.[50]

Marketing

The first teasers for the crossover aired on November 12 and 13, 2018, during episodes of Arrow and The Flash, respectively.[51] On November 16, DC Comics released a poster for the event in the style of a comics cover, drawn by Amy Reeder.[52] An additional teaser for the first episode aired during the November 18 episode of Supergirl,[19] and a week later, the official trailer was released.[53]

Reception

Ratings

Series Air date Rating/share
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
The Flash December 9, 2018 0.7/3 1.83[54] TBD TBD TBD TBD
Arrow December 10, 2018 0.8/3 2.06[55] TBD TBD TBD TBD
Supergirl December 11, 2018 TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD

Critical response

The Flash

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 100% approval rating for The Flash episode, based on 12 reviews, with an average rating of 8.94/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "With disorienting body swaps, confusingly altered realities, and an awesome Superman-Supergirl team-up, there is a lot to love in this joy-filled Arrowverse crossover episode of The Flash."[56]

Arrow

Rotten Tomatoes reported a 100% approval rating for Arrow's episode, based on 12 reviews, with an average rating of 8.21/10. The website's critical consensus reads, ""Elseworlds, Part 2" is a riotous continuation of this body-switching Arrowverse arc, successfully exploiting the chemistry between the television universe's ensemble and slickly introducing Ruby Rose as Batwoman."[57]

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External links