Along with the rising popularity of comic book and superhero movies on the big screen, the genre has grown in recent years on television as well. The CW launched the first series in their current DC Comics universe, Arrow, in 2012, then added The Flash to the mix following an appearance of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) on the series based around Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell). Now, the network has been gearing up to add a third DC Comics program to their lineup, Legends of Tomorrow, which will bring heroes, criminals, and misfits together to travel through time and fight an imposing foe.
Since Legends of Tomorrow will include a number of characters that were first introduced on Arrow and The Flash, The CW's established superhero series spent a good part of their seasons - fourth and second, respectively - setting up the new show. As a result their own major season story arcs either shared the spotlight or were put on the back burner at points. Now, though, The Flash will shift its focus to be entirely on the major season 2 villain and the show's world-building.
While speaking to IGN at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, The Flash showrunner Andrew Kreisberg admitted the series needed to help set up Legends of Tomorrow in the early part of its second season. But now that the spinoff is launching, Arrow can focus on Damien Darhk and The Flash will return to its Central City-focused storyline of the evil Earth-2 speedster, Zoom, the show's multiverse:
"The rest of the season is really focusing on Zoom and the Multiverse. The early parts of seasons are really hard because you're setting things up. For us, that was sort of what the fun of Legends was was getting to bring all these characters on and having them fill out these early episodes while still being tied into the main narrative. But now for Arrow and for Flash, on Arrow it's Oliver versus Darhk and on Flash it's Barry versus Zoom, and that's really where the focus for both of those shows lie."
The Flash announced the show would be diving into the multiverse in season 2 at the end of season 1, with the singularity opening over Central City in the season finale and the team at STAR Labs continuing to investigate the breaches in the early part of season 2. Additionally, Zoom has made appearances throughout in The Flash's second season, sending Earth-2 villains after Barry before finally facing the hero.
Of course, teasers for the back half of The Flash's second season already hinted we'd be seeing more of Earth-2, specifically the alternate universe versions of characters like Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), Ronnie Raymond (Robbie Amell), and Barry himself. So, Kreisberg's comments fall in line with what we already knew, but viewers can be assured that going forward The Flash won't have as much overlap with Legends of Tomorrow characters as earlier in the season. Speaking specifically about how much time The Flash will spend on Legends of Tomorrow throughout the rest of season 2, he said:
"It's less about Flash and Arrow touching on Legends, and more about how Legends fits in with the Arrowverse history that we've created. Legends is going to touch on both of those shows in some fun ways."
Kreisberg's mention of the new series dealing with the history of Arrow and The Flash is similar to what executive producer Greg Berlanti and Legends of Tomorrow showrunner Phil Klemmer said at the TCAs about connecting to the CW DC Comics universe. So it seems those crossovers will largely appear on Legends of Tomorrow as they visit past (and/or future) events within the universe, rather than within the context of new episodes of Arrow and The Flash. That being said, though, fans hoping to see more crossovers within the the CW DC universe will get it when Arrow's John Diggle (David Ramsey) and Lyla Michaels (Audrey Marie Anderson) visit Central City later in season 2.
The Flash will return on Tuesday, January 19, 2016, while Arrow will return on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 and Legends of Tomorrow will see its series premiere on Thursday, January 21, 2016.