The Arrowverse crossover event Crisis On Infinite Earths is honoring Superman's legacy in a great way by bringing back past actors and merging their stories for a better future. With three different versions of Superman confirmed to appear and hints of more homages on the way, The CW is attempting their most ambitious feat yet. Crisis On Infinite Earths is turning out to be the Avengers: Endgame of television with multiple characters, shows, and guest stars appearing in the multi-episode event.
For Superman fans, the most exciting thing about the crossover is the number of Supermen appearing throughout. Tyler Hoechlin, who's starred as Superman in the Supergirl series for the past few years is returning to his role. Brandon Routh, who previously played the Man of Steel in 2006's Superman Returns is will be reprising as well. Finally, Tom Welling has been confirmed to appear as Smallville's Clark Kent, continuing the story that ended eight years ago.
With three different Supermen appearing in the crossover, Crisis On Infinite Earths is shaping up as a tribute to the DC superhero. Whether it be the return of a beloved series, the chance for an old actor to put on the costume again or the opportunity to have multiple Supermen stand side-by-side, the crossover event is swinging for the fences to give Superman fans an incredible treat.
Crisis On Infinite Earths' Three Superman Characters Explained
Crisis On Infinite Earths will feature Superman from different timelines and iconic stories. Hoechlin's Superman is considered as the standard version of the Arrowverse. His character appeared frequently in the Supergirl series while also have a major role in 2018's crossover, Elseworlds. Likewise, Routh's return to Superman is an exciting moment for DC fans to look forward to. The actor played Superman in 2006's Superman Returns and reprises to play a new version of the character for the crossover. Crisis On Infinite Earths will feature the Kingdom Come version of Superman. An older, more cynical Superman, Routh will have the chance to flex his muscles and get another crack at the character after a divisive bout.
Fans have clamored for Tom Welling to play Clark Kent again and have finally gotten their wish. Welling will not only reprise his role as Superman, but he will also be filling the shoes of Smallville's Clark Kent, an iconic Superman interpretation. All three actors will get a chance to show Superman some much-needed love on screen. With no Superman film on the horizon, Crisis On Infinite Earths' three Superman characters is the next best thing for fans to enjoy.
Superman's Role In The Crisis On Infinite Earths Comic
The Crisis on Infinite Earths comic book heavily focused on Superman and his wider family of characters. The 1985 comic event used to tidy up the complicated timeline of DC Comics and allowed multiple versions of the same character to appear. For Superman, this meant seeing the Earth-1 and Earth-2 variations of the hero stand side-by-side. Crisis On Infinite Earths will be honoring that story well by potentially having multiple versions of the Man of Steel interact and save the multiverse together.
Supergirl had a crucial role in the Crisis on Infinite Earths comic and her death was a shaking point for DC Universe. Since Supergirl has a current solo series on The CW, the chances of the crossover killing her off seem unlikely given that Green Arrow has already been teased to die. This does, however, open up the possibility of one of our three Superman characters taking her place in the story instead.
Killing off Smallville's Clark Kent seems the most unlikely due to his popularity and the danger of ruining the legacy of a beloved character. This leaves the Kingdom Come Superman and the Arrowverse Superman. For the greatest emotional pull, killing off Hoechlin's Superman seems like the smartest bet. While his character is the least beloved of the three to audiences, he is the most emotionally attached to the existing Arrowverse characters, namely Supergirl. It wouldn't be surprising if one of the three Supermen give their life to save the multiverse and Hoechlin's Superman would be the logical choice.
How Crisis Honors Superman's Past (& Sets Up His Future)
Much like how the Crisis on Infinite Earths comic streamlined DC Comics' history, The CW's crossover can do the same for the Arrowverse and Superman. The best example of this is Smallville's place in the wider Arrowverse. Smallville aired its last episode on The CW in 2011, a year before Arrow premiered. If Smallville's Earth is presented as one of the Arrowverse's multiple timelines, technically Smallville is the first series of the Arrowverse instead of Arrow, making The CW's DC shows an even larger universe. Smallville's status as one of the most beloved Superman interpretations makes his world the most dangerous to meddle around in. With Erica Durance's Lois Lane also returning for the crossover, The CW needs to be careful to honor their characters rather than prop them up as caricatures. Given how Smallville's Michael Rosenbaum isn't returning as Lex Luthor due to a lack of script and low pay, a bit of caution is still needed before assuming The CW will do the show justice.
Routh getting a swan song Superman revival allows the actor to play the character one last time. Routh was never supposed to be a one-and-done Superman. If Superman Returns was successful, the actor would have been on a path to multiple appearances as the hero. Because of this, his appearance in the crossover as Kingdom Come's Superman is that much more exciting. Routh will get to play a version of the character not seen in live-action thus far. This gives him a lot more freedom than his original bout as Superman, where he was told to parrot Christopher Reeve. It will be interesting to see how Routh does in the role as it's one of the most anticipated moments of Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Superman's history on television is as deep as his film background. The combination of George Reeves' Superman, Tom Welling's Clark Kent, and a host of great animated series give Superman an equally strong presence to his cinematic outings. While both Christopher Reeve and Henry Cavill's Superman are seen as definitive characterizations of the character for most, many fans discovered Superman on the television screen. With Superman's future on film unclear, seeing three different Superman interpretations make their return and debuts during Crisis On Infinite Earths is even more special and can lead to more Superman on screen. While dream scenarios of a Smallville rebirth series is a bit far-fetched, it's definitely possible we see more of Superman on television in the future.
Crisis On Infinite Earths is honoring Superman's legacy in multiple ways. The crossover will allow fans to revisit beloved characters like Smallville's Clark Kent and Lois Lane. It will allow Brandon Routh, the best element of Superman Returns, to reprise his role as Superman after a decade. The event will give the Arrowverse's Superman a chance to finally leave his own mark and legacy to the character. Given the nature of the Crisis story, there are even opportunities for surprise cameos and Easter eggs of cinematic Supermen to appear through reused footage as well. If the Arrowverse embraces and respects the character correctly, Crisis On Infinite Earths has a chance to honor Superman's legacy in a great way.