The Flash Armageddon Event Is The Future Of The DC On CW Crossover
The Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover event on the CW brought DC characters, past and future, together in a huge way. Ironically, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no follow-up crossover. However, actor and director David Ramsey reprised his role as John Diggle on (almost) all of the CW series, providing a level of continuity to the TV shared universe. While there again will be no crossover event this year, there is some DC on CW team-up action in our future. The “Armageddon” event on The Flash will bring some current and past stars of the Arrowverse (or CWVerse, if you’re willing) together for an adventure. It’s not technically a crossover, because all of the action takes place on The Flash. Yet, perhaps this approach is a template they can use for future DC on the CW crossover events.
From a narrative standpoint, the purpose of the crossover is the same as it is in the comics. The appearances of these other characters who are marquee names shows that this universe is truly shared by these characters. Yet, when they only crossover during “special” events, it can be difficult for people to suspend disbelief. That’s why having these characters appear on each other’s shows outside of a massive event makes their interaction feel more natural. With luck and coordination, they can even “sync” events on their series to explain why the Flash or Superman didn’t just zip to their friend’s side to help.
From a business perspective, the crossover events are meant to get casual fans of one series invested in the larger universe. Events like Armageddon could actually be a smarter approach, because it gives each show a better chance to retain viewers.
How the DC on CW Crossover Event Began
Image via the CW
Technically, the first “crossover” episode was when Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen showed up on Arrow before he got his powers. Yet, in the first season of The Flash, there was a lot of crossovers. Characters from both shows appeared on the other series no fewer than 11 times that first year of the Arrowverse. Both leads appeared in their counterpart’s season finale. The following season, they kicked off Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl, and they used the same approach. It wasn’t until the Invasion event that “the crossover” became a thing.
Those early days were fantastic and part of what hooked me, an adult in his 40s, into this series of morality plays for teenagers. Greg Berlanti and company were doing what DC Films could not. They created a live-action universe that felt just like the comics to me. Seeing David Ramsey’s John Diggle or Carlos Valdez’s Cisco Ramon pop up on some other show randomly drew viewers into both stories. So, as much as I loved seeing comic events from my childhood brought to life with Crisis and Invasion, I hope they move away from the big event.
And, due to the lingering effects of the pandemic, they are. In July, executive producer of The Flash, Eric Wallace revealed why they limited the crossover to The Flash.
He said to Deadline.com:
“There are still a lot of Covid protocols in place, which limit a lot of the things we can do as a production. However, with this five-part event, we want to deliver the same feeling to the audience that you would get with a crossover kind of story. That’s really the goal here, to give them something that’s not just an ordinary season premiere—something special…in the story that we’re telling. It is a little bit bigger than usual for The Flash, which was very exciting.”
Image via CW
Essentially, what Wallace and the rest of the storytellers are doing is going back to the universe’s roots. With the exception of Batwoman, none of the announced guest stars are currently on a series. Hopefully, as shooting goes on and things continue to improve, other characters from shows like Superman & Lois or even Stargirl find their way onto the sets of other DC on CW shows. It spreads out the viewer bump from crossovers throughout the year and encourages viewers to get invested in the stories unfolding in all of the shows.
For example, a Wonder Girl series is in development, and it would be great if Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman or Javica Leslie’s Batwoman shows up out of the blue. It makes these shows feel like less of a vacuum, and gives the new viewers a chance to get caught up in the ongoing story, rather than a special sidebar event. It also gives us a chance to see characters again that we might not otherwise. The Green Arrow and the Canaries series was not picked up by the CW, but Katherine McNamara is back as Mia in Armageddon. Same goes for Brandon Routh’s Ray Palmer, who didn’t want to leave Legends of Tomorrow. (Also Black Lightning, who deserved better.)
The Flash is currently streaming on Netflix and returns to the CW in October 2021.
What do you think? How would you plan the future of crossover events for the DC on the CW series? Would you have them cross over at all? Share your thoughts, hopes, and theories in the comments below.
Featured image via the CW
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.