With the Arrowverse poised to adapt the classic comic book mini-series Crisis on Infinite Earths in 2019, it seems likely that both Green Arrow and Superman will be making the ultimate heroic sacrifice as part of the annual crossover event. While hints had been dropped before about the famous storyline someday being brought to life in live-action, fans were stunned that the timetable had apparently been bumped up following the recent Elseworlds event, which hinted as some big changes to come in the Arrowverse. They also hinted at the probable deaths of The Man of Steel and The Emerald Archer.
Perhaps the most ambitious and involved fictional universe ever produced for television, the Arrowverse is a shared reality formed from many of the superhero shows airing on The CW Network. These include Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl. Since 2014, it has been an annual event each fall for the Arrowverse shows to cross-over, as part of a big shared storyline. The 2018 crossover event, Elseworlds, ended with a title card proclaiming that the next event would be called Crisis on Infinite Earths and that it would air in Fall 2019.
The Elseworlds crossover this year helped lay the groundwork for Crisis on Infinite Earths (in addition to some already established set-up). Of course, a Crisis on Infinite Earths is famous in the comics for a number of things, including some significant character deaths. While it was Flash and Supergirl in the comics, there's reason to believe Oliver Queen and Clark Kent will be among the fallen once the battle to save all reality is concluded on television. What does this mean for the future of the Arrowverse?
- This Page: Elseworlds Explained
- Page 2: Why Crisis Could Kill Superman and Green Arrow
Elseworlds opened with Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) and Barry Allen (The Flash) waking up one morning to find they had seemingly swapped lives. Though they still had their own faces and memories, they possessed one another's skills and powers and everyone - even their own wives - saw Oliver as Barry and vice versa. Theorizing that since nobody on Earth seemed to realize something was wrong except them, Barry and Oliver traveled to another Earth in search of confirmation that they weren't going crazy. This led them to Earth-38- the setting of Supergirl and home of Kara Danvers (Supergirl).
Once Kara confirmed that she could see Barry and Oliver for who they really were, the trio returned to Earth-1 in search of answers. The trail led them to Gotham City and a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum named John Deegan, who had been given The Book of Destiny - a cosmic artifact capable of rewriting reality. Their attempt to confront Deegan resulted in him facilitating a jailbreak to cover his escape and led to an encounter with Batwoman - the new protector of Gotham City following Batman's disappearance years earlier. This spurred Deegan to use the Book of Destiny to rewrite reality again, making himself into the Superman of Earth-1. He also transformed every hero on Earth-1 into a villain and imprisoned Supergirl, who the book would not alter directly as she was not part of its universe.
Barry and Oliver (now a duo of non-powered bank robbers called The Trigger Twins) retained their memories thanks to the intervention of The Monitor - the cosmic being who gave Deegan the Book of Destiny. The Monitor revealed that he had empowered Deegan as part of a test of Earth-1's heroes, as he had tested the guardians of other Earths in search of beings who could stand up against a great evil that threatened to destroy all of reality in the near future. Armed with this knowledge, Barry and Oliver were able to return to Earth-38 and recruit the Superman of Kara's world to fight Deegan in earnest.
The heroes were able to recover the Book of Destiny long enough to restore themselves to normal before Deegan stole it back. Superman, who had been the one to use the book, revealed he had forseen the deaths of The Flash and Supergirl and they matched the circumstances described in the plan The Flash came up with to stop Deegan. Undeterred, The Flash and Supergirl went off to face their apparent deaths, as Green Arrow confronted The Monitor and read him the riot act regarding the immorality of his actions, killing good people as part of some engineered test.
The Monitor was apparently pleased, as his tests were meant to gauge the heroes' morality - not their competence. He said that the destinies of The Flash and Supergirl might be rewritten, but said some kind of price would have to be paid to maintain the balance. Green Arrow apparently agreed to pay the price, as The Flash's plan worked and he and Supergirl both survived the final battle with Deegan. Elseworlds concluded with reality restored, a shriveled and comatose Deegan incarcerated in Arkham Asylum and a man in a gold mask declaring that "Worlds will live. Worlds will die. And nothing will ever be the same again, " just before a title card appeared, which said that Crisis on Infinite Earths would come in Fall 2019.