Inside Secrets of the ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ Arrowverse Crossover
Parts One and Two of the historic “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover on The CW superhero shows are in the history books!
Viewers have seen the return of a number of favorites from DC movies and series, as the main characters fight to save their respective worlds from the Anti-Monitor. And there’s more to come as Part 3 of “Crisis” airs on The Flash tonight.
Producers Marc Guggenheim (Arrow; Supergirl; Batwoman; Consulting Producer, Legends of Tomorrow), Beth Schwartz (Arrow), Robert Rovner (Supergirl), Keto Shimizu (Legends of Tomorrow), and Caroline Dries (Batwoman) chatted with reporters to share some secrets about your favorite scenes from the first two chapters of “Crisis.”
Read on to see how this monumental effort came together and learn what was involved in forming all those “Crisis”-filled moments!
On Kate (Ruby Rose) meeting Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy)
Caroline Dries: “That’s something we’ve been wanting to do. To be able to find a way to do it felt like such a treat. It was great for [Kate] to come face to face with a guy who’s “been there and done that” just as she’s starting out. If felt like a very poignant moment in this chapter of her life. It was something I feel that we can take away from ‘Crisis’ and play out in our series as a new conflict for her.”
On how “Crisis” will affect all the shows for the rest of their seasons
Keto Shimizu: “As a prequel [to Legends Season 5], it sets up both our mythology and Sara Lance’s (Caity Lotz) trajectory for the season.”
Robert Rovner: “This is different from other [crossovers] in that it impacts everything that’s going on. It’s fun to see what happens afterwards.”
Dries: “We have some fallout on Batwoman. It’s a little tricky because our characters aren’t yet exposed to this notion of multiple universes, superheroes, powers, and stuff. It’s a fine line, but it’ll have shocking resonance.”
Marc Guggenheim: “Because Eric [Wallace, EP, The Flash] isn’t here, I’ll say that Barry will do something during the ‘Crisis’ that will have ramifications for the remainder of the season.”
Beth Schwartz: “It changes everything on Arrow.”
On the decision to kill Oliver (Stephen Amell) at the end of Part One
Guggenheim: “It really came off of ‘Elseworlds,’ which strongly suggested that Oliver was going to die and also, in our Season 7 finale where we said Oliver would die in ‘Crisis.’ The dilemma we presented to ourselves was we had spoiled our own story. We asked, ‘If Oliver dying isn’t the surprise then what is?’ We figured the audience would figure that Oliver would die in the climax of ‘Crisis’ – in the fifth hour. So, if we went in the exact opposite direction and killed him off at the end of hour one, we’d accomplish two things – we’d surprise our audience, which is absolutely our intention, and we’d really establish the stakes going into the next four hours of ‘Crisis.’ If Oliver can die, then nobody is safe.
On using the Lazarus Pit to bring Oliver back
Schwartz: “Roy (Colton Haynes) had a dip in ‘the Pit,’ as we call it. We have been bring it back a little bit this season. We know what the effects are. We’re setting up what happens when you go in the pit. It’s not an easy transformation you don’t just go in and you’re back [without ramifications].”
Shimizu: “Sara has had firsthand experience [with the Lazarus Pit] and that gives her some real skin in this game on whether or not to use it. She’s an authority on this. It’s a reminder for us as to how far she’s come.”
Guggenheim: “Certainly, Sara is wrestling with this the most. She went into this with Barry [Grant Gustin] and Mia [Katherine McNamara] with a lot of reservations. And they’re very well-earned. The complication you saw at the end of the second hour of ‘Crisis’ is just another confirmation that she should have maybe trusted her original instincts. Things are not working out the way Barry and Mia were hoping.”
Shimizu: “[Sara] was very lucky get out the way she did. It’s like lighting striking twice – it’s hard to bottle that again.”
On bringing on Tom Welling and Erica Durance as Smallville’s Clark and Lois
Dries: “We had conversations with Tom on how best to see him again. We knew that we really wanted Brandon [Routh] to be Clark Kent at the Daily Planet. I think Clark Kent we picture when Tom Welling is him is Clark on the farm. That made sense. Tom joked, ‘Oh, that cow recognized me.’ It all felt very ‘ten years ago’ in a great way. To us, it just felt natural that that was his environment.”
Guggenheim: “Tom’s terrific. We got on the phone with him and pitched him the scene. He said, ‘I love it. You guys have basically written the one scene that I can’t say no to doing.’ That was really, really nice. When you talk about the favorite interactions that took place in and during ‘Crisis’ – apart from Keto meeting Kevin – mine is Tom’s facial expressions that he showed in his scenes. They are just great.”
On if there was ever a plan to have all three Supermen in a scene together
Guggenheim: “We never wrote that. In terms of having Brandon and Tom be in a scene together, they were working at crossed purposes. We wanted Brandon at the Daily Planet and Tom at the farm. The desire to have multiple Supermen [together] is what inspired the backup story in the comic book (Crisis on Infinite Earths 100-Page Giant) that’s been announced. It’s [got] every Lex and every Superman in it you could imagine. There’s a lot of things we can’t do because of money and scheduling [on television]. The great thing about the medium of comic books is that you’re limited by budgets and schedules. This struck me as a nice avenue to get in a couple of concepts that we couldn’t include [on-screen].”
On collaborating with Crisis on Infinite Earths comic writer Marv Wolfman
Guggenheim: “It was such a thrill. I grew up reading all of Marv’s comics. The man is an icon and he’s one of my idols. I will say that as stressful as it was making sure you’re not screwing something up when you’re working with one of your idols, Marv makes it super-easy. He’s such a collaborative guy, a warm, wonderful, gentleman. We met a couple of years ago at San Diego Comic Con and we struck up a friendship. This felt like writing with a friend, a really talented friend.”
On having Wil Wheaton (The Big Bang Theory) as the doomsayer
Rovner: “We had wanted to get Wil on the show last season only he wasn’t available. We wanted to put cameos in ‘Crisis’ and his name came up for this and he wanted to do it. He did a great job as our doomsayer.”
On how each Earth number relates to who was on it
Guggenheim: “Yes. Burt Ward was on Earth-66 (the Batman TV series premiered in 1966). Lois (Elizabeth Tulloch) and Clark see the image of Superman dying was Earth-75 (Superman ‘died’ in the Superman comic No. 75.) Earth-167 for Smallville is connected to Al Gough [EP, Smallville, who was born in 1967]. For the most part, we tried to follow that convention, but sometimes, we just picked a number.
On having Brandon Routh’s characters — Superman/Clark Kent and Ray Palmer/The Atom — interact
Guggenheim: “That was easy.”
Shimizu: “You just lock the camera twice.”
Guggenheim: “In that scene, Brandon’s not wearing glasses but he’s dressed in his Clark Kent outfit. That scene originally was scripted for Brandon to be in his Superman outfit, but it takes an hour to get him in there. We didn’t have time so the compromise was to have him as Clark Kent without his glasses.”
On Routh’s comedic timing as Superman/Clark interacted with Ray
Guggenheim: “We always knew that they’d cross paths. When we pitched the idea to Brandon about coming back as Superman, we included Clark interacting with Ray. That was just too much fun.”
“Crisis, Part 3”: The Flash, December 10, 8/7c, The CW
“Crisis, Part 4”: Legends of Tomorrow, January 14, 8/7c, The CW
“Crisis, Part 5”: Arrow, January 14, 9/8c, The CW