The CW version of the DC Universe is poised to have its biggest ever story with Crisis on Infinite Earths. The crossover is set to feature almost everyone from across all of the CW shows, as well as the overall history of DC media, with stars like Burt Ward and Kevin Conroy taking on roles.
However, Crisis on Infinite Earths has a big shadow hanging over its ambitions: Avengers: Endgame, released earlier this year, seems to have tackled many of the same beats as Crisis seems to be teasing. Following the massive cultural impact that film had, is there any way for Crisis on Infinite Earths to stand out from the Marvel Cinematic Universe's crowning achievement?
Both Crisis and Endgame have some very distinct similarities, and seemingly to tackle many similar story beats. They both center on a large alliance of superheroes, working together to stop a greater threat, like so many superhero epics. However, both stories bring together entire armies worth of superheroes from solo stories and established teams. Endgame included all the established heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe working together in unity, especially in the epic climax. Likewise, Crisis on Infinite Earths will include the entire rosters of heroes coming together from the various Arrowverse series to fight a common threat.
Entire realities are on the line, and billions of lives at risk in this crossover. The newest teaser for Crisis has Barry Allen warning his allies that he's seen a version of the future where billions die. This is remarkably similar to how Doctor Strange foresaw over 14 million versions of reality in an attempt to find the only way to successfully defeat Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, which set up Endgame's tragic finale.
The end of the seventh season of Arrow even revealed that Oliver Queen won't survive the climax of the Crisis, ultimately giving his life in some way to help save the universe. As the first hero to appear in this version of the DC Universe, his death will have some inherent pathos. It's also very similar to how Iron Man, the first superhero to appear within the MCU, eventually sacrificed his life to help stop Thanos and his army once and for all.
Both Endgame and Crisis are also set to radically alter the future of their superhero universes. While the MCU and the other Arrowverse shows are set to continue expanding their respective universes, they'll boldly do so without their founding fathers. All of these factors make the two events look remarkably similar, meaning it's more than possible that Crisis fails to stand up next to the box-office crushing Endgame. But if Crisis is willing to go as big as it possibly can, it might have the chance to stand out.
History Of The DC Universe
Endgame specifically served as a climax to the narrative through-line of the MCU. It featured a number of characters from across the cosmos, coming together to try and stop Thanos. But Crisis has the potential to be an even bigger battle, uniting everyone away from their own stories to come together in a single giant conflict.
Crisis will bring together multiple realities to try and combat the threats presented to the entire DC multiverse, with the Monitor recruiting heroes and villains from across all of space and time to save everything that's ever existed. That's an even bigger risk than what happened in Endgame. It's not just a universe at risk, it's an existential threat to the entire multiverse.
This means the crossover will feature appearances by numerous former DC heroes from other incarnations of the universe, with guest appearances by Kevin Conroy, Burt Ward and John Wesley Shipp already confirmed. Coupled with both Brandon Routh and Tyler Hoechlin portraying Superman, Crisis promises to throw multiple versions of nearly countless superheroes at whatever threatens the entire DC multiverse, uniting together for one common goal. It could be the DC answer to both Endgame and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
This could give the crossover a scope that could allow it to try and even surpass Endgame. While Endgame was something of a love letter to the MCU, Crisis could become an extended tribute to the entire history of DC. The multiple shows involved in the crossover will give the entire proceedings plenty of room to explore, building up tension during the entire crossover while still affording multiple casts the chance to contribute to the story. Avengers had a massive cast to deal with in Infinity War, and reduced that number down for the majority of Endgame. If Crisis can fully embrace the massive scope of a multiversal threat, then it might just stand-up besides Endgame as a superhero epic, instead of only feeling like a television karaoke equivalent to Marvels cinematic epic.
"Crisis on Infinite Earths" begins Sunday, December 8 at 8 pm ET/PT on Supergirl, then continues in Batwoman on Monday, December 8 at 8 pm ET/PT and in The Flash on Tuesday, December 10 at 8 pm ET/PT. After the winter hiatus, the crossover will conclude on Tuesday, January 14 in Arrow at 8 pm ET/PT and in DC's Legends of Tomorrow at 9 pm ET/PT.