Arrowverse crossovers can get a little chaotic. Last year's featured alternate universe Nazis and evil doppelgangers interrupting Iris and Barry's wedding. So, how do you go about topping that? Try a cosmic-sized threat wrapped up in a Freaky Friday-type scenario.
The 2018 edition is a three-night event, dubbed "Elseworlds," will kick off on December 9 with The Flash. Plot details remain scarce, but here's the gist: When the godlike Monitor grants Arkham Asylum's Dr. John Deegan the ability to reshape reality, Barry and Oliver find themselves swapping identities and powers. Barry adopts the Green Arrow persona, while Oliver suits up as the Scarlet Speedster. Now, the two heroes must recruit Supergirl, put things back in order and confront an impending crisis… the likes of which they have never seen.
"It's more of the same craziness that we love," Grant Gustin told SYFY WIRE at The Flash's 100th episode celebration. "Even though I'm Green Arrow and Stephen [Amell] is playing Flash, we are aware we are in the wrong bodies. We have that comedy that we are still ourselves, but just playing the wrong characters. A lot of that is situational comedy we've seen in the past, except we got to lean into it more. I'm Oliver Queen and he's Barry, and it's a little absurd. But it was fun. We got to introduce Bitsie [Tulloch] and Tyler [Hoechlin] as Lois and Clark. They were really funny, too. There was a lot of comedy in this crossover."
Barry and Oliver wind up exchanging not only costumes, but attitudes and fighting styles. As the Flash, Oliver possesses super speed and an "Elseworlds" teaser trailer finds Barry in a sparring session with Diggle.
"I got to work with James Bamford a lot," said Gustin. "He's one of Arrow's stunt coordinators and directors, and he's worked with Stephen very closely for seven seasons. I got some training with archery, which was very cool and probably the hardest part. I had never done that. There were a lot of aspects that I wasn't aware of as far as keeping the elbow down and how heavy the bow actually is and tricks to pulling the string back. It was mostly getting used to that.
"The fighting has always been fun for me," he continued. "I have a dance background, so choreography is a strength of mine. I'm not a fighter. I've never done boxing except for a couple of times in my life. I can usually watch somebody do something and pick it up pretty quick, which is good because we had zero rehearsal time on this crossover."
Promos also showcase a confused Oliver kissing Iris, who then says, "I love you, Barry Allen." Candice Patton, who portrays Iris, noted "it wasn't weird at all" smooching co-star and friend, Amell.
"It's a way to shock fans," Patton offered. "It brings new life to the show. It's interesting. I know the shippers get a little territorial, but it's all in good fun. Barry and Iris are always going to be Barry and Iris. They are iconic together, and the same thing with Felicity and Oliver."
One notable difference in this crossover is it excludes DC's Legends of Tomorrow. Turns out those time-traveling rogues are busy with their own adventure. As a result, "Elseworlds" appears more self-contained between the big trinity of The Flash, Arrow, and Supergirl
"What's fun about the crossover this year is I feel like it was a lot like the first year," said Danielle Panabaker, who portrays Killer Frost. "There weren't as many people. Carlos [Valdes], Grant and I crossed over, but there weren't as many people from other shows. Obviously, we're still getting Melissa [Benoist], but it was a much smaller group this year."
On top of introducing Lois Lane and the Monitor to the Arrowverse, other new faces popping up from the DC Universe include Batwoman, Nora Fries, and Psycho-Pirate. However, it's a sequence on Smallville's Kent farm that had showrunner Todd Helbing grinning.
"There are probably more Easter eggs in the crossover episode than the 100th milestone," Helbing concluded. "It's my favorite crossover we've ever done. We figured things out in the production end that really helped. I don't want to spoil anything for people who haven't seen what's already been released. The first script I ever wrote was for Smallville, so for me personally, it had some meaning when those guys go back there."