Warning: This article contains spoilers about Sunday’s Supergirl, part one of the Arrowverse’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover.
Fans have known this was coming a year now, but they probably didn’t expect it to happen this early on in the Arrowverse’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths.”
Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow, is dead. The hero who started it all sacrificed his life in order to save billions of people in the first hour of the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover Sunday night.
As the Arrowverse’s heroes banded together to make their first stand against the Anti-Monitor on Supergirl‘s Earth-38, the rest of the Super-Friends worked on evacuating the planet before it was wiped out by an anti-matter wave. When it became clear Earth-38 was doomed, the Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) ordered all of the heroes to retreat to Earth-1. Oliver (Stephen Amell) being Oliver ignored his wishes and kept fighting the shadow army until his dying breath in order to buy the evacuation effort as much time as possible. Stubborn to the bitter end.
Even though the Monitor knew Oliver was going to die in the Crisis, he was shocked because it wasn’t supposed to happen this way. The Arrowverse’s executive producers hoped killing Oliver off this early on in the crossover would have a similar effect on viewers because Oliver’s death in the crossover was confirmed in Arrow‘s season 7 finale.
“The dilemma that we presented to our own selves was that we spoiled our own story,” crossover executive producer Marc Guggenheim told reporters at a recent screening of the parts one and two of the crossover. “So if Oliver dying isn’t the surprise, what is the surprise? And the timing of him dying, because I think we kinda figured the audience is expecting that Oliver would die in the climax in the fifth hour. So if we went in the opposite direction and killed him off at the end of Hour, we accomplish two things: Hopefully we do surprise the audience. That’s absolutely the intention. But we also really establish the stakes that going into the next four hours, ‘Wow, if Oliver Queen can die, then no one is safe.'”
In addition to intensifying the potential consequences, Oliver’s premature death will hopefully send the surviving heroes down interesting and potentially conflicting paths — especially the ones who were closest to him like Barry (Grant Gustin), Sara (Caity Lotz), and, of course, his daughter Mia (Katherine McNamara) — in the Batwoman hour, which is part two of the crossover.
“The leads all have a different take on how to grieve or handle Oliver’s death,” said Batwoman showrunner Caroline Dries. “Some of them believe it’s over. Some of them believe we can fix this. Some of them are not wanting to even think about it. Everyone has a different approach to it and that helps generate the story for the episode.”
DC’s Legend of Tomorrow showrunner Keto Shimizu added: “It sets up really interesting stories and conflicts between all these characters, all these leads of these different shows who have different ways of reacting to this tragedy, and you get to see them grieve together in a really compelling way.”
Oliver’s passing isn’t the only reason people are grieving, though. Let’s not forget that Earth-38 was destroyed, too, which has a tremendous impact on Kara (Melissa Benoist).
“She comes into it wanting to fix what has happened and that is kind of her journey with Kate not only in the Batwoman hour but in the rest of the crossover,” said Supergirl showrunner Robert Rovner.
For more insight into hour 1 of “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” tune into EW’s special after-show Crisis Aftermath, hosted by Kevin Smith and airing right after the crossover on The CW at 9 p.m.
“Crisis on Infinite Earths” continues Monday, Dec. 9 with Batwoman at 8 p.m., followed by The Flash on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 8 p.m.