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Grant Gustin on why The Flash’s ‘Armageddon’ event is no ‘typical’ Arrowverse crossover

Batwoman drops in on The CW’s event series…but it won’t be what fans expect

By Benjamin Bullard
The Flash Armageddon Part 1 Press Still

Talk about dressing up for Armageddon. The Arrowverse’s resident speedster is back in scarlet for this week’s Season 8 debut of The Flash…only this time, he’s bolting out the starting gate surrounded by more than the typical amount of superhero company. That’s what happens, though, when it’s been almost two years since The CW’s been able to orchestrate an event series that approaches the epic scale of 2019’s Crisis on Infinite Earths (thanks, of course, to COVID-19).

Unlike Crisis, though, Armageddon is set to unfold entirely within the episodic storytelling framework of The Flash, which means this week’s Season 8 debut is only the start of a lengthy 5-episode run; one that’ll unfold Armageddon as The Flash wends its way through Season 8.

Even though The CW had to weave its own way through a labyrinth of COVID-19 precautions to rope in the far corners of the Arrowverse, the Nov. 16 season premiere will be shooting toward the apocalypse with one major first under its belt: It’s the first time Barry Allen aka The Flash (Grant Gustin) will get to share screen time with Ryan Wilder aka Batwoman (Javicia Leslie).

How will two of The CW’s biggest DC heroes combine their powers? No ones knows until the season premiere — but it’s not in the conventional team-up way you might think, according to Gustin. Speaking recently with Entertainment Weekly, The Flash star said fans can expect the unexpected as Batwoman gets set to descend into unknown Arrowverse territory.

“Without spoiling too much, it's not going to be what everybody would expect," Gustin teased. “By the time we've crossed paths on the show, it's not going to be a typical Flash and Batwoman team-up, I think is all I can really say. It was great having Javicia on set, great working with her…But, it's not going to be the Flash-Batwoman team-up, per se, that people are probably expecting.”

Coupled with showrunner Eric Wallace’s coy comments about how Batwoman fits into the events of Armageddon, Gustin’s comments sound more intriguing than cautionary. Wallace told EW that Gotham’s newest defender (Leslie replaced Ruby Rose as Batwoman beginning with that show’s second season) was one of the first heroes he thought of as he began envisioning how the event series would play out.

“I could not tell Armageddon as a story in five parts without Black Lightning [Cress Williams] and Batwoman,” he confessed. “They had to be in this story. I was actually sweating bullets, quite frankly, early on because I didn't know if I would be able to get them, especially Javicia, who is shooting her own show as the lead while trying to do our show. We had to pull off a logistics nightmare, but we did it. We did it so well that quite frankly — Javicia is amazing in this — she ended it by saying, ‘Hey can I come back? I just want to be in more of this.’ To which I replied, ‘You are welcome any time, ma’am.’”

Much of Wallace’s “logistics nightmare” no doubt stems from the effects that the coronavirus pandemic has had on each Arrowverse series’ production, with restrained shooting schedules and precautionary protocols limiting the stars’ crossover potential. By that measure, it’s a slight shock that The Flash has been able to assemble a full-tilt crossover event at all — though fans will just have to wait to see how Armageddon brings all its heroes together.

No matter how close to the vest he’s playing the story, Wallace says it’ll be worth the wait. "...One of the most special scenes in Armageddon coming up is a scene that involves Batwoman and one other character that shall remain nameless,” he teased to EW. “I believe it's the kind of scene our audience has been waiting years to see and we finally got it. I can't wait to share it with the audience. I can't wait!”

Armageddon debuts the first of its 5-episode story as part of the Season 8 premiere of The Flash, airing Tuesday, Nov. 16 at The CW.