The CW’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” is a crossover event of epic proportions, uniting the superheroes of the Arrow-verse for one common goal – to save the universe. With their worlds in imminent danger, The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) sends Harbinger (Audrey Marie Anderson) to gather Supergirl (Melissa Benoist), The Flash (Grant Gustin), Green Arrow (Stephen Amell), Batwoman (Ruby Rose), White Canary (Caity Lotz), The Atom (Brandon Routh) and Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) together, in the hopes that together, they will find a way. Part Two includes guest appearances by Tom Welling, Erica Durance, Jon Cryer, Kevin Conroy and Dominic Purcell.
After a screening of the first two hours of the crossover, held at the offices of The CW, executive producers Marc Guggenheim (Arrow-verse), Beth Schwartz (Arrow), Keto Shimizu (Legends of Tomorrow), Caroline Dries (Batwoman) and Robert Rovner (Supergirl) got together to answer questions about the fallout from Part One, the effects of some big decisions the superheroes make, how the appearance of Tom Welling and Erica Durance evolved, bringing Kevin Conroy (who has previously voiced Batman in the animated world) to the screen, most fun interactions to write, and the ramifications of the events of “Crisis” throughout the Arrow-verse.
*Be aware that MAJOR spoilers are discussed*
Question: In Arrow, we’ve seen Oliver Queen say goodbye to basically all of his friends. Did you also want to take some time to give him that moment with some of the other characters in the crossover?
BETH SCHWARTZ: Yes.
KETO SHIMIZU: Especially with Sara Lance, it was really important to me that Sara have some really significant moments with Oliver, in the beginning of this crisis, in order to remind the audience how far they go back, how embedded her history is with his, and how important he is to her, in her life, and where she’s ended up. So, yeah, that was really important to us.
SCHWARTZ: Also for her to see the person he’s become and to really acknowledge that. On Arrow, we’ve spent eight seasons doing that, so it was nice to see Sara be a part of that.
You’ve previously banished the Lazarus pit, so why bring it back now?
SCHWARTZ: We have been talking a lot about it on Arrow, this season, with Roy. Once Thea left and went off with the Thanatos Guild, to destroy all of the Lazarus pits, and then we brought Roy back and he had a dip in the pit, as we call it, we have been bringing it back, a little bit, this season. Also, we know what the effects are. We’re setting up what happens when you go on in the pit. It’s not just an easy transformation, where you go in the pit and then you’re back. We all know what happens to people when they go in.
SHIMIZU: And also, Sara has firsthand experience, which gives her some real skin in this game, when it comes to how and whether to use it. She definitely is an authority on it, so that’s really interesting. And, it’s another reminder, for us, of how far she’s come. This whole event is really important for her arc.
What can you tease about how different Oliver will be, after being brought back?
MARC GUGGENHEIM: The thing that Sara is wrestling with the most is that she went into this whole Lazarus pit idea with Mia and Barry, with a lot of reservations that are very well-earned. The complication that you saw at the end of hour two is just another confirmation that she should have maybe trusted her original instincts, and that things are not working out quite the way Barry and Mia had hoped.
SHIMIZU: She was very lucky, in being able to get out the way that she got out. It’s like lightning striking twice. It’s hard to bottle that again.
What were the discussions like, when it came to what you wanted to do with Tom Welling and Erica Durance?
CAROLINE DRIES: We had conversations about how to best see Tom again. We knew that we really wanted Brandon Routh as Clark Kent in the Daily Planet. So, the Tom Welling Clark Kent that we all picture, when we think of him, is Clark on the farm. It made sense, and the farm is still there. Tom was joking when he was there and said, “Oh, that cow recognized me.” It all felt very 10 years ago, in a great way. To us, it just felt natural that was his natural environment, where we’d see him.
What were Tom Welling’s feelings about where his character ended up?
DRIES: He was cool with it.
GUGGENHEIM: Honestly, he was terrific. We got on the phone with him and basically pitched him everything. The scene was already done, so we just emailed it to him, and he was like, “I love this.” He basically said to me, “You guys have written the one scene that I can’t say no to,” which was really, really nice. When we talk about the interactions, that’s my favorite scene.
Was there ever any talk about getting Tyler Hoechlin, Brandon Routh and Tom Welling in a scene together?
GUGGENHEIM: We never wrote that. In terms of putting Brandon and Tom in a scene together, they were working at cross purposes because we wanted Brandon at the Daily Planet, but we wanted Tom on the farm. But the desire to have multiple Superman was what inspired the back-up story in the “Crisis” two-part [comic book]. It’s every Lex Luthor you can imagine, and every Superman you can imagine, so at least at least we did that.
What was it like to get to bring Kevin Conroy to the screen?
DRIES: He’s such a good actor. He really is dramatic. He looks the part, he feels the part, and he has the gravitas. Those scenes, for me, just really came together.
This is not Kate Kane’s Bruce Wayne, but it is still Bruce Wayne. How will having to kill him impact her, going forward?
DRIES: It’s less about killing him because she didn’t intentionally try to kill him. He was being vicious, and she was defending Kara, to protect Kara. I don’t think of that as an active goal of hers, so she’s not gonna have the weight of that on her shoulders. It’s more so that she just looked at her future in the mirror and was like, “Is this who I’m gonna become?” That’s why it’s so important that she’s establishing this relationship with Kara, who can talk her off the ledge and say, “No, that’s not who you are.”
Should we be worried that she brought the Krypton with her?
DRIES: Yeah. It’s setting up the third episode of the crossover, as an internal conflict that Kate has.
Were there any interactions that were especially fun to write, especially in the first two hours?
ROBERT ROVNER: One of the things that we took a lot of pride in was being able to write the interaction on Argo City, to re-imagine Zor-El saying goodbye to Kal-El. And it’s a lovely scene when Oliver gives Mia the Arrow costume. And there’s a lovely scene between Clark and Kara on the balcony, when they’re talking about legacies, and how they can move on from the destruction of Argo City. at the beginning of the hour.
DRIES: For me, Kate getting to meet Bruce Wayne, or a version of Bruce Wayne, is something we’ve been wanting to do, or dreamed about doing. And so, to be able to find a way to do it, felt like such a treat. And then, her coming face to face with this guy who’s already been there and done that, while she’s just starting off, it felt really poignant for this chapter in her life, to come up against him. It was something that I felt like we could take away from “Crisis” and play out in our own series, as a new conflict for her.
How big of a significance will “Crisis” have on all of the shows, afterwards?
SHIMIZU: As our prequel, it sets up our season, both with mythology and with Sara Lance’s trajectory, coming out of this. This hits her pretty hard, in a good way.
ROVNER: For us, it really resets a lot of what’s happening on Supergirl, in the second half. That was another thing that was challenging about this crossover, that’s different from the others. This huge event has an impact on everything going on, on the show. It will be fun to see what happens afterwards.
DRIES: We have some fall-out on Batwoman. It’s a little tricky because our characters aren’t yet exposed to this notion of multiple universes and superheroes with powers, so there’s a fine line, but I think it will have really shocking resonance.
GUGGENHEIM: Because Eric Wallace isn’t here, I’ll say on his behalf that, during the crisis, Barry will do something that’s very significant, that will have ramifications for the remainder of Season 6 of The Flash.
SCHWARTZ: It changes literally everything on Arrow.
Did you see “Crisis” as an opportunity to rearrange things, at all?
GUGGENHEIM: The way we all looked at it was that it’s an opportunity where, if we want to fix something, it’s there. If we want to change something, it’s there. If we want to set something up, it’s there. This was just a fun opportunity for us.
“Crisis on Infinite Earths” Part Three airs on The CW on December 10th, and Parts Four and Five air on January 14, 2020.