In the big Supergirl/The Flash cross-over episode, called “Worlds Finest,” Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) gains a new ally when the lightning-fast superhero The Flash (Grant Gustin) suddenly appears from an alternate universe. While in National City, Barry Allen helps Supergirl battle Siobhan, aka Silver Banshee (Italia Ricci), and Livewire (Brit Morgan), in exchange for her help in finding a way to return him home.
After getting to see the delightfully fun and funny episode in the CBS Radford Studios screening room, executive producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg did a Q&A in which they talked about how this cross-over episode was able to bring shows on two different networks together. They also talked about what made The Flash the right superhero to visit Supergirl, why Livewire and Silver Banshee were the best opponents, when more dopplegangers wil pop up on The Flash, learning about what Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh) and Hank Henshaw (David Harewood) have been up to, Project Cadmus, and their desire to get Lynda Carter on Supergirl. Be aware that there are some spoilers.
Question: How did you ultimately end up getting this cross-over together, and what were the logistics of making it all work?
GREG BERLANTI: We always wanted to do it. From the day we cast Melissa [Benoist], the notion of her in scenes with Grant [Gustin], or someday maybe, in the best of all worlds, with Stephen [Amell], as well, it’s exciting to think of them on screen together. And there’s a similar tonality to the shows. But, a few things had to go right. We were introducing this notion of Earth-2 and the multi-verse on The Flash, and that had to work. We’ve always said, very openly, that The Flash and Arrow exist in a universe where there’s no Superman, or you would have heard about him. They would have had at least one conversation about him, and certainly Supergirl, as well. That was one thing.
And then, there was the notion that it’s two separate networks, so it’s more challenging, in that way, because it’s not so convenient. It’s two separate cities that they shoot in. We wanted [Supergirl] to work and stand on its own on CBS, and have its own audience. We thought we might wait until the second season, but after Christmas, we came back and were planning out the final third of the year and we thought we could do it. It felt like the right time for him to enter her world and help her out. So, it all came together. We went to all of the powers that be and said, “I know we indicated that maybe we’d wait a little longer, but we’d really like to do this now,” and everybody was very enthusiastic.
One of the things that really kept the flame and the torch for it alive was that a lot of journalists and the fans online wanted it. There was consistent enthusiasm, throughout the year, for the idea. Once everybody had a sense of how the shows worked independently and how they could possibly come together, that’s how it all happened. And then, there was the logistics of having to navigate Grant coming down, not just once but twice, right when he was in the heat of the season [in Vancouver]. Then, there was the construct of the episode itself.
You hope that you’re going to get more people watching these episodes, or that people will revisit the show. There’s so much for people to watch these days, so if you get a chance to have people tune back in who may have lost touch in the New Year or have been busy, you want to put your best foot forward. You also want to honor everybody’s time and commitment, and we were excited to do that. Grant and Melissa, and everybody in the whole cast, really delivered. It felt like Grant had been on the show before, when he showed up.
Now that the multi-verse has been introduced to Supergirl’s world and aliens have been introduced to Barry Allen, will that have repercussions?
ANDREW KREISBERG: Not necessarily. One of the things that I was most gratified about, and part of the reason I got so excited in doing it, was that it isn’t just a gimmick episode. Supergirl really needed him this week because of the things that she’s been dealing with. I called Grant and said, “Do you want to do this? You’re going to get to be Oliver.” And he was like, “I’m going to have to be all dark and brooding?” And I was like, “No, no, no, no, no. In the same way that, in the pilot, you were just starting out and Oliver was the one who had been doing it for awhile, he was able to be the voice of reason and help you out. That’s what you’re going to be for Kara. Kara is just starting out and she’s had a crisis of conscience because of the Red Kryptonite.”
I always think back to “Hush” from Buffy. On its own, that’s the one where nobody could hear anything or speak, but it was more than that. It was an episode that started with everybody having trouble communicating, and then suddenly, their means of communication was taken away from them, and by the end, because they couldn’t talk, some people moved their relationships forward, but Buffy and Riley didn’t know what to say to each other because all of their secrets were out. That, to me, is emblematic of a great “gimmick” episode. Whenever we’re doing one of these cross-overs, we try to do more than just Oliver visiting Barry. With this one, it felt like The Flash coming to Supergirl really helped Supergirl overcome the challenge that she had been dealing with, and his advice to her, about how she should be living her life, is about to have repercussions. That it was constructed in that way always felt really special to me.
Will this story continue on The Flash?
BERLANTI: Yeah, although they flip order because [Supergirl] airs on Monday, and The Flash episode that hints at how he gets over there and gets back airs on Tuesday. The audience will have to forgive us that one is going to air before the other, and they shouldn’t wait to watch Supergirl until after The Flash episode. But, you’ll see the shout-out in the next episode of The Flash. It deals with Barry increasing his speed. I’m very excited about the next episode of The Flash, too. That’s one of the things with the fact that it was different networks. Had it been all on one network, we would have been able to coordinate that. I’m actually surprised that we were able to do it as closely as we did, and that it worked out to that degree.
KREISBERG: When you binge-watch it, it will all make sense.
Is there any chance that Kara could pay Barry back by visiting Central City on The Flash?
BERLANTI: We would love that, just like we loved this and are excited by this. We want to wait and see the audience reaction to something like this, but just as storytellers and fans, and fans of the actors, we love it when we can figure out a way, creatively, to do it. Hopefully, everybody enjoys it.
KREISBERG: Right now, we’re only two episodes away from the end of the season, so the focus on the finale takes over.
BERLANTI: I would say that a lot of the exciting and fun stuff from the DC canon, in general, whether it’s a speedster from another universe or Banshee dealing with a curse and magic, we have to always figure out the character way to make it make sense. I think we’ll continue to do that with this show and all the shows, to try to make them as rich, as fun and as enjoyable as the comic books are.
Why was The Flash the hero you chose to cross-over?
BERLANTI: It’s just that he was the gateway. He was the only one who had the capacity to really open that door. Hopefully, now it’s out. In a perfect world, it probably would have been both [The Flash and Green Arrow], but logistically, that would have been a nightmare, at this point in the year, to do that with both shows. So, we had to facilitate one.
KREISBERG: The Flash and Arrow cross-overs have always been designed to highlight the hero’s differences. The first one was Flash vs. Arrow. And even in the ones we did this season, when they were working together, there tended to be a great deal of conflict. It’s a cross-cutting of styles and, “Should we be doing this, this way?” What was appealing about this was the idea of Melissa and Grant being so similar as actors, and Barry and Kara both have a light to them. They’re definitely heroes that are daytime heroes that live more in the light. Watching the two of them form this instantaneous best friendship was, creatively speaking, part of what was really exciting for us to explore in this episode.
Why have the cross-over take place in Supergirl’s universe instead of The Flash’s universe?
BERLANTI: Probably just because it was his capacity to come this way. It’s an interesting question. We never really considered it the other way. It’s also maybe a little bit more fun to bring the veteran of that show to the chemistry of a new show. When we introduced Barry Allen on Arrow, we learned something new about Arrow, and it was nice to see his presence and light come through. And then, when we brought Ray Palmer on, it was inspired by having a little bit of that element. The first year of a new show, for us, is just a steep learning curve. Every episode, you’re learning from. Sometimes you learn the hard way, and sometimes stuff works out. It was also an opportunity to learn about the newer show.
How do these cross-overs help one show boost the other?
BERLANTI: I don’t know if they do. In this day and age, you’re trying to do anything you can, in a realistic way and in a way that creatively enhances things, to keep people engaged and having a conversation about the show. Just as a fan, my favorite part about reading the books, as a kid, was that I didn’t know who was going to show up. There was even an element of mystery in how they were going to connect that strand of the story. These team-ups just make it more exciting.
Why were Livewire and Silver Banshee the right villains for this cross-over episode?
KREISBERG: We’ve been setting up Silver Banshee for a bunch of episodes. It was actually a lot of fun to be able to bring on Italia [Ricci] and establish her as Siobhan. Our shows tend to be so much about the heroes and their internal lives that the villains tend to get short shrift. It was a real opportunity for us to introduce a character and have them stay on the show for awhile, and get to know them and maybe even like them a little bit, so when they did transform, it actually meant something, as opposed to just the crazy thing that happens at the end of Act 1. For our money, we thought Livewire was one of our most successful villains from early on, so we were very much interested in bringing her back. And if you’re going to have two heroes, you want to have multiple villains. An early version of the story actually had Bizarro teaming up with them, as well. It was going to be three against two, but that proved to be financially irresponsible, so we stuck with the two.
Are there no dopplegangers in the Supergirl universe, or could somebody’s counterpart be there?
BERLANTI: We just talked about that recently. There is room, absolutely.
KREISBERG: We just wanted to make sure that Barry didn’t have other options, other than to work with Kara. We didn’t want it to be like, “Oh, there’s Harrison Wells. Buh-bye!” And then, the cross-over is over.
Will we be seeing any more fun dopplegangers soon?
KREISBERG: We have a really exciting, fun doppleganger coming up in the penultimate episode of The Flash that we haven’t announced yet. That will be really cool. It’s surprisingly easy to justify any of these decisions. Usually, when we’re in the writers’ room and arguing the merits of doing something or not doing something, it comes down to, is it cool? Is it fun? Can we make the logic work? At the end of the day, the audience wants to see the fun thing. They want to see The Flash and Supergirl together, so he ran a little too fast. It wasn’t a lot of shoe leather to make it happen, and then you get 42 minutes of fun stuff.
With all of the time traveling heroes on Legends of Tomorrow, could they travel over to Supergirl, or does the Wave Rider not go between Earths in the multi-verse?
KREISBERG: The Wave Rider can do anything and go anywhere.
Will we see Alex and Hank in the next episode after this?
KREISBERG: Yes. We see them on the run in a very comical way.
BERLANTI: I think it’s surprising as much as comical. It’s cool.
Will we also learn more about Project Cadmus?
KREISBERG: You’re not going to see Cadmus this season. It will be something that gets saved for Season 2. We did run out of runway, a little bit. It’s going to remain more of an evil thing that’s out there, but it’s definitely something we’re going to pursue. Cadmus has such a rich history in the comics and in the animated shows. There’s so much there to mine that it will definitely be a part of Season 2.
You bring such great guest actors onto this shows, and Supergirl has had so many actors previously connected to Superman projects. Is there anyone else you’re hoping to bring on?
BERLANTI: We had the perfect role for Lynda Carter, and we couldn’t work out the schedule. It was the biggest disappointment for me, this entire season.
KREISBERG: We’re going to do it, we’re just going to have to wait until next season.
What’s the role?
BERLANTI: She’s the female President of the United States.
The Supergirl/The Flash cross-over episode airs on CBS on March 28th.