'Crisis on Infinite Earths' boss answers burning questions about Earth-Prime, Ezra Miller, and more
Warning: This article contains spoilers about the final two parts the Arrowverse’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover, which aired Tuesday.
Worlds lived. Worlds died. Worlds were reborn. And the Arrowverse will indeed never be the same.
This year’s five-part crossover “Crisis on Infinite Earths” threw a lot viewers: Oliver Queen’s two deaths; Beebo!; Ezra Miller’s cameo as The Flash; the death and rebirth of the multiverse; and of course the creation of Earth-Prime, which is now home to all of the CW’s superhero shows, Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Batwoman, and Black Lightning. Naturally, all of this left us with some questions. So EW hopped on the phone with crossover executive producer Marc Guggenheim to get some answers.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You tweeted that DC Entertainment CCO/Publisher Jim Lee played a pivotal role in pulling off the Ezra Miller cameo. How did he help it all come together? Also, did any of the people on the film side have input on the contents of the scene?
MARC GUGGENHEIM: Absolutely. Basically, I was really working hand-in-hand with Jim. From the moment we found out that this was a possibility, to once we knew Grant Gustin was cool and on board with it and Ezra was on board with it, I would send drafts of the scene to both Jim Lee and [DC Entertainment’s film VP] Adam Schlagman and we would just go back and forth. The trick with the scene is that I didn’t want to and they didn’t want me to do anything that stepped on the toes of the Flashpoint movie that they’re developing. So, we really worked hand-in-hand. Jim was really great about just making sure that all the parties were talking to each other, that nothing was getting stalled. He was a cheerleader when he needed to be, a diplomat when he needed to be. He really stepped up in every way one could do it. His enthusiasm really helped make this possible.
The Crisis comic destroyed the multiverse and condensed everything into a single Earth. Here, though, you guys decided to reboot the entire multiverse. Why did you want to do that?
Basically, I promised DC and all the powers that be that if they just let me destroy all the various different shows in hour 1, I would bring them back in hour 5. I promised that I would put all of the toys back in the toy box once we were finished. For us, the most important status quo change was, of course, combining the CW shows into a single Earth. I like to think that I’m a considerate enough showrunner that I’m not going to destroy the shows of other showrunners.
The Legends hour establishes that the DC Universe show Stargirl takes place on Earth-2 in the new multiverse. What does that mean for all the characters who were on the old Earth-2, specifically with Earth-2 Laurel who is a major character on Arrow? How is her continued existence explained?
Actually, that question is very directly asked by Laurel herself in the Arrow series finale. There’s actually a really, really poignant scene between her and Paul Blackthorne, who plays her dad, that explains that. Speaking to that larger question, one of the things that really excites all of us involved with the Arrowverse shows is that by rebooting the universe, we’ve given ourselves a new central mystery, which is the question: Okay, what does this new universe look like? You got a little bit of a taste of it in hour 5, and going forward we’re going to continue on all the shows to peel the layers of the onion on what that looks like. That’s really, really exciting for all of us.
Arrow‘s next episode is the Green Arrow & The Canaries backdoor pilot. How does this new Earth-Prime affect Star City 2040 and Mia’s storyline, especially since she wasn’t present in the final two hours?
I don’t want to spoil too much the backdoor pilot. I will say that this universe restart affects the entire universe, which includes the future. I will also say the backdoor pilot gives you a very clear answer to that question.
“Elseworlds” setup Psycho-Pirate as a player in the coming Crisis, but the character ended up not appearing in the episode. Was there ever a version of the crossover that included him?
No, we actually had Psycho Pirate in various iterations, in various different ways. It’s funny, you go into this type of event thinking, “We’ve got five hours and that’s going to be all the time in the world to tell every single story and include every single character we want to and do every single moment we have in mind.” When you actually start breaking it, you discover wow, there’s still never enough time and there’s never enough space to do all the different ideas. Psycho Pirate was one of those characters that was in and out, and in and out. We basically realized that given the story we were telling, the only reason we were having him in there was because he was in the original comic. When we’re finding ourselves forcing moments just to be faithful to the comic, that stuff is usually the first kind of moments to go, actually, much to chagrin of my Twitter feed.
So far this morning I’ve seen some mixed reaction to the Arrow hour. How did the idea to trap some of the heroes in the Speed Force come about?
Basically, that was something I sort of came up with [when] I was flying back from Prague. Because we knew we were killing off Oliver, I wanted to come up with a conceit…You know, back when we had the writers’ room, we had talked about basically the characters being scattered throughout the Speed Force and Barry would sort of have to hunt for everybody. We didn’t quite have a clear idea as to what that would look like, but what occurred to me was that it was an opportunity to kind of revisit a series “greatest hits” for Oliver, key moments in terms of his relationships. That was very important to all of us involved with the crossover because we knew Oliver was dying at the end of the episode, so it’s a little bit of a “Before you die, your life flashes before your eyes” kind of feel. That was really important to us that we look backwards before Oliver’s death.
You could’ve placed Kate, who is relatively new, in a number of places. How did you decide to drop her into that scene between Oliver and Ray from season 3’s “Suicidal Tendencies”?
I’ll be honest: We kind of knew that Brandon was already contracted to be in that episode, so we knew he would be in that episode. Originally, we were going to do a scene where we revisit Arrow  where Oliver and Diggle fight and she would have to break up Oliver and Diggle’s fight. But season 6 was relatively recent and we kind of wanted to go a little further back in the canon and that episode “Suicidal Tendencies” is actually one of my favorite episodes; it’s certainly one of my favorite episodes of season 3 because I just love the tension between Ray and Oliver, and I particularly love it in light of how much all of the shows have evolved and relationships between the characters have evolved. In picking those moments we were looking back to, that kind of idea of showing how far the characters have come really drove a lot of those selections and decisions. Like, let’s show Oliver and Kara really not liking each other. Let’s show Oliver and Ray really not liking each other. It’s fun to illustrate how far everyone has come right before you kill off Oliver.
Arrow returns next Tuesday at 8 p.m. with the backdoor pilot for a potential spin-off, followed by the season 5 premiere of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow at 9 p.m., on the CW.