For the past five years (including this upcoming fall season), we’ve been given the blessing of our favorite Arrow-verse heroes coming together to stave off a threat that they’re unable to handle on their own.
For the past five years, the Arrow-verse has expanded, and each major crossover event has to be bigger and better than the last. Finally, and about five years earlier than expected, Crisis on Infinite Earths has been teased for years with subtle hints to the disaster being foreshadowed primarily on The Flash, but also on Supergirl and Arrow recently.
And after this crossover event, it’s time to put the mega crossovers to rest and let our heroes scatter into their own worlds for a little while.
High stakes and new ideas
Crisis on Infinite Earths is the ultimate threat, which we have learned will lead to the demise of Arrow‘s very own Oliver Queen (who sacrificed himself to save The Flash‘s Barry Allen and Supergirl‘s Kara Danvers). Following this, there’s no way to build up the stakes for another crossover event to be as dangerous or as unstoppable for a single hero, so let’s face it: This crossover is more than just the end of Arrow.
Each crossover has built in magnitude and danger for the culmination of the heroes working together and sacrificing everything to save the multi-verse, from which Barry is still destined to disappear as well. So much has led to this moment and any huge crossover to follow will not feel as satisfying as this, so it seems like the best option is to avoid doing them at all, at least for a few years.
Additionally, the writers of every show have known this crossover was coming for years, so they all need to take the time to regroup and chart out the next phase of the CW DCTV universe without Arrow and with a certain end for Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and The Flash within the next few years (not because of ratings, but likely because of the actors’ wishes to move on to their next project after the better part of a decade). Introducing a Batwoman series is a good first step if the series happens to be successful, which is entirely up in the air at this point.
Taking a break from the crossovers will allow the writers to create another phase without any pressure to hurry and produce something lackluster, and it’ll give the (very overworked) actors of the Arrow-verse a chance for a break. With the crazy crossover production schedule, it’s amazing any of the actors even want to be a superhero anymore.
Opt for smaller crossovers
Do I think all crossovers should end? Absolutely not. In the beginning of the Arrow-verse, we were treated to routine, simple crossovers between single characters quite regularly. For example, Laurel visiting Central City on The Flash season 1 episode 19, Felicity’s many trips to Central City, and even Barry crossing the dimensional (and network) line to help Kara fight Livewire and Silver Banshee on Supergirl season 1 episode 18.
While these crossovers were much smaller and held far less consequences on the universe at large, they were the perfect opportunities for characters to take their experience somewhere else and befriend other characters in the superhero universe (which would create even more opportunities for smaller crossovers to happen). One of the most frustrating things to watch on the Arrow-verse shows is the familiarity these characters have with one another, even though we haven’t seen it on-screen.
For instance, when Laurel Lance died and Black Siren appeared in Central City soon after, Caitlin called Laurel a friend, but we never really saw her interact with anyone except Cisco. So how and when did Barry, Caitlin, and Laurel find the time to become friends? We don’t know because we don’t see anything.
With so many heroes in the Arrow-verse, there are so many opportunities for new and refreshing dynamics between characters that we have never seen interact before. Killer Frost or Black Canary and Supergirl, The Flash and Wild Dog, or White Canary and Batwoman, the opportunities are almost endless because of the number of heroes and what they bring to the table. Since no one except the lead characters can get any sort of focus during the big crossovers, I have genuinely always preferred watching the smaller crossovers, which the production teams have basically done away with over the last two seasons.
The Barry and Oliver show
With so many shows in the Arrow-verse, and more appearing almost every year (i.e. Batwoman), more often than not I find myself frustrated and disappointed by the crossovers. Year after year, the crossovers are solely the Barry and Oliver show, eating up the Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow hours without giving anyone else time to be a pivotal player. In her own episode, Kara is often given the B-plot, while the Legends of Tomorrow episode has literally nothing to do with the Legends (aside from a rare appearance by most of them during the final fight scene). They’re completely sidelined for Barry and Oliver.
These “bromance fests” have grown stale. Their dynamic is one that fans don’t really need to see on a larger scale anymore after four (soon to be five) crossovers, especially when it takes time away from the other lead heroes and alienates the fans that don’t want to watch Arrow and/or The Flash. Personally, I love Oliver and Barry, but I want to see a new dynamic explored if they aren’t able to focus on more than two heroes.
Barry and Kara have a great friendship, while Kara and Oliver have an interesting relationship that could help open their minds and see another side of things, like Oliver did with Barry and likewise. Hell, I’d much rather see a crossover focused on Sara and Kara leading the charge than another focusing primarily on Oliver and Barry, but as Crisis on Infinite Earths is Oliver’s final ride, we know it’ll just be the same story as usual (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as the hero who allowed this universe to begin deserves a proper sendoff, but let’s not pretend it’s something it isn’t anymore).
Crisis on Infinite Earths will air over five hours in December and January of the upcoming season. Stay tuned for news and updates!