The upcoming Arrowverse crossover, "Crisis on Infinite Earths", will be packed with dozens of DC characters, including three different versions of Superman. With three different actors playing the Big Blue Boy Scout, the Man of Steel will certainly have a strong presence in the multi-series, multiversal event.
The five-part event consists of episodes of Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, and Batwoman. Based on the 1980s DC Comics event of the same name, "Crisis on Infinite Earths" is the Arrowverse's biggest and most inclusive story yet. Just as it's been said on previous episodes of Arrow and The Flash, the Crisis threatens to destroy all of reality. The main characters and their supporting casts from all five Arrowverse shows, plus heroes from past DC Comics shows, are expected to join forces to save the universe from a cosmic being known as the Anti-Monitor (LaMonica Garrett).
"Crisis on Infinite Earths" will feature several guest stars, such as Burt Ward, an actor known for his role as Robin in the 1960s Batman series, and Kevin Conroy, who has been the voice of Batman for over 20 years in various video games and animated projects. Returning Arrowverse characters like Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer), Jonah Hex (Jonathan Schaech), and Earth-90's Flash (John Wesley Shipp) will be getting in on the action as well. They'll be joined by even more familiar faces like Cress Williams' Jefferson Pierce from Black Lightning and Ashley Scott's Huntress from Birds of Prey. Perhaps its most notable additions to the cast are related to the level of representation that "Crisis" is giving the Man of Steel. Here's what you need to know about all three Supermen appearing in "Crisis", and what to expect from their roles.
Tyler Hoechlin (Arrowverse)
Tyler Hoechlin, who played the recurring role of Superman in season 2 of Supergirl and guest-starred in last year's "Elseworlds", will be back for "Crisis on Infinite Earths", once again joined by Elizabeth Tulloch's Lois Lane. Last time Superman was seen in the Arrowverse, it was revealed that the two were expecting a child. It looked as if it would be a while before either would return to the Arrowverse when Superman told Kara that they were going off-planet to spend time in Argo City. It could be that the Crisis and the threat of the world ending will be what draws Clark and Lois back to Earth.
It's not clear what exactly Superman will be up to in the event, but marketing indicates that the hero will actively participate in the battle to save the universe. Hoechlin's Superman is heavily featured in set photos, trailers, and official images. Also, his appearance in the crossover could provide the setup for his new Arrowverse show, Superman & Lois, which will see the titular couple deal with their new lives as working parents. How their story is wrapped up in "Crisis" could relate directly to where these characters are when Superman & Lois begins.
Brandon Routh (Kingdom Come)
Brandon Routh, who currently plays the Atom on Legends of Tomorrow, famously portrayed the Man of Steel in 2006's Superman Returns. Nearly 15 years later, the actor will don the tights and cape to play Superman at least one more time. Whether or not there's any connection to his Superman Returns character hasn't been addressed, but it is known that Routh's Superman is from the Kingdom Come timeline in DC Comics. In DC Comics, the Kingdom Come Superman quit being a superhero after being disillusioned with the state of the world, but came out of retirement to reform the Justice League and save the planet. Since this is an older Superman, it is possible that the Kingdom Come Superman is actually the same version of the character that Routh already played. If so, that would make Christopher Reeve's Superman Arrowverse canon.
Set photos hint that in this universe, Clark Kent is now the editor of the Daily Planet, which means that he's come a long way from his days as a reporter. Not much else is known about his timeline so far, including the fate of Kingdom Come's Lois Lane. In the comic book version of the story, she was tragically murdered by the Joker, so this could be translated to the Arrowverse. It's worth noting that this older version of Superman seems to coexist with Kevin Conroy's Batman. As both live on the same Earth, it may be established that the two have a history, though what that could be is open to speculation.
Tom Welling (Smallville)
Smallville's Tom Welling and Erica Durance will reprise their roles as Clark Kent and Lois Lane respectively. For ten years, Tom Welling played a younger version of Clark Kent who had yet to fulfill his destiny and become Superman. The announcement that Welling would play Clark Kent in "Crisis" shocked the fanbase, as Smallville's Clark remains to this day one of the most popular versions of Superman ever to appear on screen. The return of Tom Welling as Clark Kent is something that fans have been requesting for years, and how "Crisis on Infinite Earths" handles Clark's Smallville ending will be closely watched.
On Smallville, a "No, Tights, No Flights" rule kept Welling from suiting up as Superman, but for "Crisis" all bets are off, though this doesn't necessarily mean Welling will wear the iconic blue tights. Regardless, Arrowverse producer Marc Guggenheim has said that "Crisis" will reveal what Clark has been doing in the eight years since the show ended. Whatever the Arrowverse has planned for Clark, it won't retcon the events of the Smallville Season 11 comic, though it will give the Kent Farm back to Clark. Set photos have revealed that Welling's character will be living on the Kent Farm. Though this hasn't been confirmed, it's been stated that Smallville's Clark will be limited to one scene. If this is true, then Clark may not have a chance to take part in the fight to save the multiverse from the Anti-Monitor.