Batman (or at least his absence) will play a very major role in 'Elseworlds'

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Nov 19, 2018, 4:36 PM EST

As the bodies swap and the heroes become villains in this year’s Arrowverse crossover event — aka ""Elseworlds" — some familiar DC faces are joining the party. There’s a black-suited Superman, of course, Lois Lane, and Ruby Rose’s Batwoman...but what of Batman himself? Well, the Dark Knight won’t be showing up on screen, bringing the amount of canon DC Batmen to an even higher number — but he will be discussed. At length.

According to an interview with EW, Arrow consulting producer Marc Guggenheim and potential Batwoman EP (if the show spins off) Caroline Dries talked about how Gotham City is introduced to The CW’s Arrowverse. Fans have gotten a “Bruce Wayne” here and a “Gotham” there, but nothing substantial. That’s because Gotham is terrifying now.

“Our approach is: What does Gotham look like after the Batman has been gone for three years? So if you have the law and order, protector, and hope gone, what happens as a result?” Dries said.

“It’s a dead city,” Guggenheim agreed, saying “it’s ‘here but for the grace of God goes Gotham City. It’s the worst case scenario. The reason no one talks about Gotham is the city might as well be dead. It’s practically a ghost town.” That’s because Batman’s been AWOL so long that people have lost faith that he even exists.

“Oliver is like, ‘He’s not real! They’ve made him up! It’s a hoax just to scare the citizens’,” Flash actor Grant Gustin said. Green Arrow portrayer Stephen Amell chimed in, saying, “Oliver is not enthused about the idea that there might be some other vigilante out there.” But Barry Allen, fastest man alive? Barry is flabbergasted by that and all he wants to do in Gotham is meet Batman. It’s a pretty funny scene,” Gustin said of the trip to the infamous DC city.

“Some people are thriving in his absence because now they can start to do their own thing without the oversight," Dries said. “A lot of other people are suffering and they’re losing hope, and the city itself and infrastructure is falling apart. So it’s not a happy place. Our guys walk into a grimy, scary Gotham.” No wonder the city need a Batwoman to clean things up.

"Elseworlds" kicks off its three-night and three-show event on Dec. 9.