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6 things you need to know for the Arrowverse's Crisis on Infinite Earths

By Trent Moore

One of the biggest crossover events in TV — and DC — history has finally arrived. The CW's Crisis on Infinite Earths looks to bring together the network's entire slate of superhero shows, plus a whole lot of old shows to boot.

The event is loosely based on the mid-'80s comic event that reshaped the entire DC Comics universe, shattering the multiverse and reconfiguring the confusing comic canon into a unified world that was easier for fans to follow. It was one of the most ambitious comic events in an era before big events became the norm, bringing in characters from the entire DC Comics universe and featuring some major deaths that sent shockwaves through comics for years.

As for the small-screen version, it's basically doing the same thing — just for the Arrowverse. It'll be huge, playing out from December through January across five full hours of superhero insanity. The event runs Sunday, Dec. 8, at 8 p.m. (Supergirl); Monday, Dec. 9, at 8 p.m. (Batwoman); Tuesday, Dec. 10, at 8 p.m. (The Flash); and Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 8 p.m. (Arrow) and 9 p.m. (Legends of Tomorrow).

Whether you're an Arrowverse die-hard or just an interested superhero fan looking to jump in and follow the action that will surely be dominating your Twitter feed, here's what you need to know so your Crisis viewing is crisis-free.

It's all been building to this

Going all the way back to the series premiere of The Flash five years ago (when we glimpsed a future newspaper touting "Flash vanishes in Crisis"), the Arrowverse has been teasing out this event. It's one of the biggest crossovers they could attempt, and honestly, it's only at this point they had the breadth, scope and experience to actually pull it off.

Arrow may have launched this universe, but it didn't get sci-fi-y until The Flash debuted, as it brought along the multiverse, the weirdness, and (most notably) the superpowers.

They've been getting bigger and bigger with the crossover events each year, starting with a by the numbers crossover between Team Flash and Team Arrow, and eventually tackling everything from an alien invasion to an attack from an alternate Earth run by Nazis.

Last year's crossover, "Elseworlds," introduced Batwoman and helped set the stage for Crisis with some heavy-lifting, most notably revealing a 'crisis' is coming and introducing the interdimensional creature 'the Monitor' into the mix.

Crisis on Infinite Earths

Literally every Arrowverse show is involved

Along with tackling bigger and bigger crossover events, the annual traditions have also started roping in more and more shows. For Crisis, literally every show is getting involved — even the one that has never actually touched the Arrowverse up to this point.

The obvious shows are represented: Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and newcomer Batwoman. But, Crisis will also bring in some characters from the world of Black Lightning, after that show has remained separate from the Arrowverse during its first two seasons (though a formal Black Lightning episode will not be part of the event, just some crossover characters).

Regardless, this literally marks the biggest, longest crossover to date.

Smallville Crisis on Infinite Earths

It'll have some Super-sized cameos

Where to begin? The CW is pulling out all the stops. From old network standbys, to largely forgotten one-offs, this multiverse-busting event is dipping into every little corner of the multiverse. Obviously, the key casts from The Flash, Arrow, Batwoman, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow will all be present.

Legends alum Brandon Routh will be pulling double duty, also playing a multiverse version of Superman inspired by the Kingdom Come comics (Routh also played the Man of Steel on the big screen in 2006's Superman Returns). Supergirl’s Tyler Hoechlin is also going to be playing Superman, along with Elizabeth Tulloch as Lois Lane, and Jon Cryer as Lex Luthor.

Looking beyond the current stars, the highest-profile addition is Smallville alums Tom Welling and Erica Durance will reprise their roles as Clark Kent and Lois Lane. The crossover will offer a peek at what those characters have been doing in the years since Smallville ended.

As far as deep cuts, Ashley Scott is returning to her role as the Huntress, picking up where the short-lived early-2000s Birds of Prey series left off. Heck, even Burt Ward will be popping up along the way.

Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 3

Somebody big is probably going to die

In the comics, the Crisis brought about some game-changing deaths and disappearances, most notably Supergirl and The Flash, two deaths that lingered for years. It's worth noting that plenty of characters died during the Crisis, including plenty of alt-universe doppelgängers introduced for the event.

Translating that into the Arrowverse, we can also expect some big deaths. Now, Green Arrow seems like an obvious one, if only because his death has been pretty much confirmed in his own series and his show is ending. So, if you want a big death, he's the only one that makes logistical sense. It's not like they're going to kill The Flash off of The Flash or Supergirl off of Supergirl, right?

As far as side characters, that's a bit harder to predict. Pretty much every supporting character could be on the chopping block across all the Arrowverse shows, though again, Arrow supporting players seem the most likely to take a hit (their show is ending, after all).

Regardless, something as big as Crisis requires some world-shaking consequences — and that means death.

Crisis on Infinite Earths

It's (almost) the end of Arrow and the beginning of Legends' new season

The Crisis also comes at an interesting spot in the schedule for the Arrowverse, just in general. It falls in the middle of Flash and Supergirl's runs, but plays a bigger role in the scheduling for Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow.

Once the Crisis is over, there will only be two episodes of Arrow left. The penultimate episode will be the future-set backdoor pilot for the proposed Arrow spinoff Green Arrow and the Canaries, followed by the proper series finale the following week. So, Crisis will largely wrap up Arrow, but with a little bit of space left for the proper goodbyes.

As for Legends, Crisis will technically be the season premiere for Legends' return, with the show formally kicking off its new season the week after Crisis concludes in January. So there should be plenty of superhero action to fill Arrow's void on the schedule in the immediate aftermath of the series finale.

Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 3 Batwoman Supergirl

It might blow up the multiverse

This is the most interesting question about Crisis, and logistically, it could rewrite the fabric of the Arrowverse at large. In DC Comics, the event functioned as a way to bring the convoluted multiverse together into a cohesive world. If The CW version follows suit, that'd mean characters like Supergirl (who lives in her own universe), The Flash and Arrow (who live in a different universe) and Black Lightning (who hasn't exactly been labeled into either universe, or its own) could all potentially merge into the same universe.

So, Supergirl (and Superman) would join The Flash and the gang all on the same Earth. That'd sure make crossovers a lot easier and it'd represent one of the biggest repercussions for the massive event.

Of course, there's always the chance The CW won't follow that route — but it's certainly possible. If the multiverse does meld, it'd certainly make it a whole lot harder for The Flash to keep cycling through different versions of Harrison Wells season after season.