In the coming weeks, I will be leading discussion articles following Arrow and The Flash that will pass thoughts and ideas about them from one long-standing DC fan to all of you in hopes of bringing us all a place to cogently discuss what we may expect, want, and even fear from these shows with each passing episode. But before we get to that as they return next week, let us instead begin our discussions here with a topic that I’m sure many have talked about at length, but with an edge that will perhaps bring some new thoughts to the discussion.
There was a lot of headlines last year about the possibilities of a potential connection between the DC Cinematic Universe started with Man of Steel and the acclaimed CW Universe started with Arrow, but any hopes fans may have had for that union were seemingly dashed by WB when they came out stating it simply wouldn’t happen, before driving the point home with the announcement of a slate of DC films that are to be expected in the coming years, which included a Flash movie that specifically came attached with an actor in the role who was obviously not the same man from the CW series. Thus it became rather definitive for many that the universes would not connect, and we are simply expected to hold them separate. Which is fine, I suppose. As cool as it would’ve been to have a huge connected DC Universe on film spanning the big and small screens, multiple universes are truthfully the norm in the realm of DC Comics. From high-profile Elseworlds stories, to the break down and reestablishment of a wide Multiverse of varying continuities, having more than one canon should not be something DC fans should have any problems with… but what if they do connect after all?
If there’s anything a DC fan will tell you about the DC Multiverse it’s that it is constantly at the heart of a number of stories. Some of the biggest stories in the history of the publisher, in fact. Stories so dire that they are each deemed a Crisis unto themselves.
Back in 1985, DC looked back at their body of work and realized there was an abundance of “what if” scenarios, one-off stories that never again came into play, and a good chunk of stories that simply contradicted each other as the decades went on from the Golden Age, to the Silver Age, and even up through the Bronze Age of comics. It was a mess, and so they decided to wipe away everything that was amiss, whilst also declaring it all canon.
The story was Crisis on Infinite Earths, and it set the stage for the DC Multiverse before ultimately depicting its destruction. In 1995, in an effort to streamline a few little tangents that had gone slightly awry, they came again, this time with Zero Hour: Crisis in Time, to align some facts for the singular universe left behind after 1985’s Crisis. But even while they were doing this, they simply couldn’t resist telling far-fetched stories, and so such things continued under the Elseworlds label, a designation indicating outright each story’s lack of continuity with the main publications. So then it came as little surprise in 2005 that the Multiverse was reborn within the pages of Infinite Crisis, a 20 year sequel to the original Crisis, which took all the great Elseworlds stories and established them within a sort of convoluted pseudo-canon alongside the primary canon of the main comics, all whilst reestablishing certain canonical truths that had been altered over time.
But there was something else included in this new Multiverse. TV shows suddenly found their way into the broadened canon. Bruce Timm’s legendary animated universe was included almost right away, but over time, shows like Smallville and newer cartoons, such as Young Justice, were included as well. So even without deliberate assignment of universal order, it can easily be assumed that every universal DC continuity exists somewhere within the vast Multiverse, and so it must be that the DCCU and the CWU are already connected to one another in this fashion… but what does this mean, exactly?
Well, lets take a look at the pilot episode of The Flash, Arrow’s first spinoff show. At the cost of spoilers (which will be a norm for these articles in the future, so consider yourselves warned), we are shown a newspaper from April 2024 which states that the Flash has gone missing amidst a Crisis. Furthermore, there is mention of the red skies seen in the original 1985 story, and most notably there is a back-handed reference to Batman via an article talking about a Wayne Tech/Queen Inc merger. Now how this will play into the plot of the series is still largely unknown to us viewers at the moment, but what we can take away from this simple scene is that a Crisis event will happen in the future of the CW’s universal continuity. Now, knowing that Crisis events generally involve multiple universes, and looking at the time frame provided, I’m just going to make a few giant leaps for the sake of discussion.
The DCCU slate provided by WB outlines a plan for DC film releases through 2020, so what happens after that is going to be based entirely on the success of their films leading up to that point. Meanwhile, 2024 sets up Flash for a 10 season run for its present to catch up with the newspaper, and the CW has earned a reputation for being the perfect place for such genre shows to last that long (Smallville ran for 10 seasons, and Supernatural has just been renewed for its 11th), so what we have been given could be more than just run of the mill fan service. What if, just for the sake of discussion, this was an honest reveal of a long-term goal. A dream of those working on the shows and movies. An eventual absolute. Given the success of the DCCU and the continued success of the CWU, which is currently mulling over a second spinoff featuring the Atom, what if this all leads to an eventual Crisis on film?
Come 2024, we could see a massive two or three-part film saga. A Crisis Trilogy, perhaps. It could span the generations, pulling its main cast from the DCCU films and the CWU shows, whilst pulling support from any other shows made between now and then, and maybe even bringing in the big boys from the past as well, giving Tom Welling and Justin Hartley cameos within their Smallville roles, and maybe we could even see Dean Cain step in as the elder Superman who would hold a bit of the focus for the story. This would be a unparallelled feat of comic book film adaptation, and would be sure to blow both fans and general audiences away if only for its sheer scale… but then, this is only a thought.
A somewhat plausible thought, perhaps, but still totally far fetching at this point. It is simply where my mind has gone with what I have seen. But I’m not here merely to speak, I want to hear from you. What are your thoughts on the possible future of the DCCU and various TV universes? Do you think a Crisis epic could ever happen, or is it just a fanboy’s pipe dream?
Let me know in the comments below, and lets discuss your thoughts.