This year’s Arrowverse crossover, titled Elseworlds, is teasing a crisis of infinite proportions with the casting of Designated Survivor star LaMonica Garrett as the omnipotent DC Comics character the Monitor. Introduced in Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s landmark DC crossover event The Crisis on Infinite Earths, the cosmic being of near-limitless power oversees the DC Multiverse. The seminal DC Comics storyline merged the many parallel worlds of the Multiverse into one, but at a tremendous cost: In a desperate race for the lives of trillions, Barry Allen ran himself to death to dismantle an antimatter cannon constructed by the crossover’s principal antagonist, the aptly named Anti-Monitor.
DC’s signature Crisis crossover events have traditionally been costly ones for the Flash family. Dan Jurgens’ 1994 crossover Zero Hour: Crisis in Time nearly aged Johnny Quick to death at the hands of the villainous Extant, and 2006’s Infinite Crisis by Geoff Johns and Perez saw Wally West and his family trap themselves in the Speed Force in a failed attempt to imprison a renegade Superboy-Prime. But what makes the impending DCTV Crisis particularly ominous for The CW’s incarnation of the Flash is that a Crisis and the death of Barry Allen has been foretold ever since the series’ premiere episode in 2014.
In the closing moments of the series premiere, time-displaced villain Eobard Thawne, better known to comic book fans as the Reverse-Flash, visits a secret room prominently displaying a newspaper from 2024. The headline announced the Flash’s sudden disappearance in reference to a Crisis involving red skies. And, as comic book fans immediately recognized, red sky-tinged Crisises signal a breakdown in the barriers separating alternate universes.
While the date originally hinted Barry’s fate was still a ways off, the arrival of his adult speedster daughter, Nora West-Allen, from the future may have accelerated the coming Crisis by five years. After all, the character openly declared she had made a “big mistake” with her own time travel. What’s more, the theory of the newspaper’s Crisis being the centerpiece of this year’s crossover was teased by The Flash showrunner Todd Helbing just a month ago. Helming promised fans the upcoming fifth season will provide the origin to the apocalyptic headline.
Realistically, the permanent death or lengthy disappearance of Barry Allen is unlikely, especially as the interlude between the third and fourth seasons already saw the hero trapped in the Speed Force. However, the Flash is far from the only speedster in the Arrowverse making another hero assuming the role of high-speed heroic sacrifice more probable. This corroborates earlier reports from the cast and crew that the fifth season will feature several characters’ deaths and have a major twist at the midseason break.
In short, someone’s gotta die – but who?
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