While Marvel has had the upper hand when it comes to its big-screen movies, it has been a different game on TV. Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and now Legends Of Tomorrow are showing a continued confidence in adapting DC superheroes for the small screen – something Marvel has only really started to explore in 2015 with the arrival of Daredevil and Jessica Jones.
But for the acclaim for the connected TV universe, DC have still come in for a lot of criticism for not linking it to their big screen counterparts. Ezra Miller has a hell of a lot to prove when he becomes part of The Justice League‘s Flash after Grant Gustin won fans over with his leading role on the TV series. And with Zack Snyder’s Man Of Steel failing to get the same level of acclaim as the Marvel Cinematic Universe-founding Iron Man, this year’s Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice has to be frankly brilliant to assure fans that the DC Cinematic Universe can be just as good as Marvel‘s.
But maybe DC has an ace in the hole. The announcement in the last week that The Flash will be crossing over into Supergirl but seem small considering the shows both share the same executive producers and crossovers are a regular thing for The Flash and Arrow, but it is a bigger event than you think. They’re on different networks for a start, The Flash on The CW and Supergirl on CBS and most importantly they do not exist in the same world. There is no Superman in the Arrowverse and when Kara Danvers proclaimed herself the world’s second superhero in Supergirl that was done in a world where the Flash or Arrow were not around.
So how will this work? And how could this crossover be DC‘s ace in the hole? Let’s explore this with one world; multiverses…
5. All the DC TV shows are connected
Arrow, The Flash and Legends Of Tomorrow work not only because of The CW‘s willingness to embrace its many comic book superheroes but because they are all connected. Felicity can pop over the help the team in Star Labs, Cisco built the latest version of the Arrow-cave and even the titular heroes can team up, from small cameos like those seen at the end of the last season to the full-blown two-part annual crossover event that has been a hit with fans everywhere.
We’ve already had the arrival of John Constantine, played again by Matt Ryan in early Arrow season four, which means his short-lived NBC show Constantine exists in the same universe. With Barry Allen now popping over to National City, so too is Supergirl. It might take the multiverse to do it, but now there is that possibility of seeing Supergirl – or even Superman – help out our heroes in Central and Star City.
4. The Multiverses mean more cameos, more alternative takes on classic characters
We all love a good doppleganger right? Seeing Buffy The Vampire Slayer‘s pink fluffy jumper-wearing Willow confronted with her black leather-clad vampire version in season three’s Dopplegangland was one of the show’s funniest moments and now The Flash is having great fun with ‘evil alternates’ with the upcoming arrival of Killer Frost and Deathstorm in season two.
But it doesn’t just need to end there. Across any of the DC TV shows, the multiverses mean long dead characters can return or innovative new takes on existing characters can that can be a lot of fun for the actor and just as much fun for the audience – without it feeling cheap…
3. It also establishes a connection to the DC Cinematic Universe
Here is the real hook of the multiverse; it doesn’t just need to be limited to TV. If the big screen adaptations of Batman, Superman and even the Flash remain successful then the ability to crossover to alternative worlds means we could see Henry Cavill’s Superman appear in Legends Of Tomorrow or Ben Affleck’s Batman arrive to help Oliver Queen in Arrow.
It would have to in a careful, well-crafted manner, but it would be a great way for cameos and/or special crossovers. Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen meeting Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen; it could happen and in the same manner that Marvel‘s TV shows have a connection to the likes of Iron Man, Thor, and even Guardians Of The Galaxy, the same could theoretically work for DC. A multiverse connection between the alternate worlds of the big and small screen would be a massive coup for DC.
2. We could see other versions of classic characters…
Imagine our heroes discovering a world where Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne is a The Dark Knight Returns-style Batman, weathered by the years of crime fighting? Or a world where Kara’s mother Eliza Danvers was Supergirl and her father Jeremiah was Superman? Barry Allen’s father was the Flash in a world where Mark Hamill was the same Trickster?
The possibilities are endless, in a way that can show that even DC superhero past and present ‘existed’ in some form. It might be another way of DC jumping a few hurdles to get themselves into the same playing field as the cinematic Marvel but it could work and demonstrate that good or bad, it is all connected and it has been happening for decades…
1. Crisis On Infinite Earths for the big and small screen…
Another key success of Marvel‘s approach is its willingness to adapt key comic stories for big and small screen. We’re about to see their take on Civil War, Infinity War is looming and even Agents Of SHIELD is putting its own spin on the Secret Warriors storyline.
But with multiverses already clearly established in The Flash, the foundation for an adaptation of something bigger has already been laid. If Justice League parts 1 and 2 are as successful as they are hoping for, DC will be looking for something to beat The Avengers: Infinity War parts 1 and 2. An adaptation of Crisis On Infinite Earths could be just that. TV and movie superheroes working together – with the possibility of some earlier favourites too – could make for a cinematic event that will be hard to beat.
Of course this is all just conjecture, but in a world where DC has a lot to prove with its cinematic universe, the creation of multiverses could be their winning move…