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November 19, 2018 at 02:00 PM EST

Batman does not appear in “Elseworlds.” Arrow consulting producer Marc Guggenheim confirmed that earlier this month. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t referenced. 

This year’s crossover will finally introduce Gotham City into the Arrowverse, and along with it Ruby Rose as Batwoman, which raises a couple of questions:  First, why have we barely heard about Gotham in the past seven years (beyond a Bruce Wayne name drop and a couple references on The Flash and Arrow this season)? Secondly, if there’s a Batwoman, where is Batman? Well, you can expect the crossover to address both of those questions when Barry/the Flash (Grant Gustin), Oliver/Green Arrow (Stephen Amell), and Kara/Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) venture to the Dark Knight’s hometown.

In the Arrowverse, Gotham City is essentially a failed city because the Batman has been missing for several years and thus crime has flourished.

“Our approach is: What does Gotham look like after the Batman has been gone for three years? So if you have the law and order, protector, and hope gone, what happens as a result?” says Caroline Dries, who consulted on the crossover and will executive produce the potential Batwoman series. “Some people are thriving in his absence because now they can start to do their own thing without the oversight. A lot of other people are suffering and they’re losing hope, and the city itself and infrastructure is falling apart. So it’s not a happy place. Our guys walk into a grimy, scary Gotham.”

 

“It’s a dead city,” says Guggenheim. “The way I sort of described it to Stephen is, it’s there but for the grace of God goes Star City. It’s the worst case scenario. The reason no one talks about Gotham is the city might as well be dead. It’s practically a ghost town.”

Jack Rowand/The CW

Outside of Gotham, there is a question of whether or not Batman is even real. In fact, Barry, Oliver, and Kara will argue about this in “Elseworlds.”

“Oliver is like, ‘He’s not real! They’ve made him up! It’s a hoax just to scare the citizens.’ Barry is flabbergasted by that and all he wants to do in Gotham is meet Batman. It’s a pretty funny scene,” says Gustin.

Adds Amell, “Oliver is not enthused about the idea that there might be some other vigilante out there.”

Of course, who needs Batman when we have Batwoman, who is, by all accounts, pretty badass?

“Elseworlds” begins Sunday, Dec. 9, with The Flash at 8 p.m.; continues Monday, Dec. 10, at 8 p.m. with Arrow; and concludes the following night at 8 p.m. with Supergirl.

 

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