In the aftermath of the Arrowverese‘s Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, the entire concept of reboots has been effectively nullified in DC films and TV shows. Based on the eponymous DC Comics story line, Crisis on Infinite Earths would prove to be as sprawling and all-encompassing a crossover as the CW has ever done. It would also mark a pivotal turning point for the Arrowverse itself.
Crisis would see Oliver Queen aka Green Arrow becoming the Spectre and sacrificing himself for the sake of the Multiverse. With Oliver’s death, it would also bring the launching pad for the whole Arrowverse continuity itself to an end, with Arrow wrapping up after two more episodes following Crisis (though the show’s prospective continuation, Green Arrow and the Canaries, still hasn’t been officially greenlit yet.) However, the effects on DC’s various film and television properties wouldn’t stop there.
Put simply, Crisis on Infinite Earths would establish a massive DC Multiverse by sprinkling references and character appearances from throughout its big and small screen libraries. With the sheer amount of material incorporated into the crossover, Crisis would also send an unexpected message about the many individual DC adaptations that have been produced over the years. Specifically, that when it comes to all things DC, the term “reboot” no longer carries any weight.
As it was produced as part of the Arrowverse, Crisis on Infinite Earths primarily takes the perspective of the various characters and series therein. With some of the individual series existing in separate continuities from the others, Crisis also served to unify all the individual Arrowverse shows into a single reality (along with the remainder of Arrow‘s story). However, even this only scratches the surface of just how much DC material was featured on the crossover.
In addition to the Arrowverse shows, Crisis on Infinite Earths also included a wide range of other DC movies and TV shows, with the most prominent being an appearance by Tom Welling as the Clark Kent seen on the long-running series Smallville, Brandon Routh returning as the Man of Steel from Superman Returns (with Routh’s portrayal itself being a continuation of Christopher Reeve’s), and a very surprising Ezra Miller cameo as the big screen version of The Flash from the DCEU. Other DC properties also received smaller but nevertheless noteworthy shoutouts in Crisis, including the 1960s Batman series, Tim Burton’s Batman, and the DC Universe streaming shows Titans, Doom Patrol, and Swamp Thing, among others. By including such a huge volume of DC content, Crisis on Infinite Earths served to communicate the relevance of all of them to the larger DC Multiverse, but it would send another message with a few of the continuities it featured.
One particularly noteworthy aspect about Crisis on Infinite Earths is the number of the DC properties it includes that have previously had the reset button hit on them. The most obvious example is Superman Returns, which debuted in theaters in 2006, only for Superman to be rebooted on the big screen with 2013’s Man of Steel. That didn’t stop Crisis from giving Brandon Routh’s Kal-El a significant role on the crossover, right alongside Routh’s Arrowverse role as Ray Palmer aka The Atom.
Crisis would also touch upon other DC films and television series that have also been rebooted or otherwise discontinued, such as in the early reference the ’60s Batman series with Burt Ward’s cameo. DC Universe’s Swamp Thing was also barely into its run before being canceled, only for Crisis to include it in its final round-up of the various realities within the DC Multiverse, while the early 2000s Birds of Prey TV series was also worked into Crisis. Furthermore, 2005’s Batman Begins would essentially serve as the progenitor of contemporary reboots, yet Robert Wuhl would be seen reprising his role of Alexander Knox from Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman movie mere moments into Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Additionally, the crossover would also continue the Arrowverse role of John Wesley Shipp’s early ’90s Barry Allen, following his appearance in the previous Arrowverse crossover Elseworlds, while Crisis even managed to work in the ’60s animated series Super Friends into its final scene. By featuring references big and small to so many disconnected DC adaptations, Crisis on Infinite Earths would not only establish a massive Multiverse umbrella, but it would also make a statement on the very concept of reboots as they now relate to DC.
By making Crisis on Infinite Earths so incredibly inclusive of such a wide range of previously unrelated DC properties, the crossover has also established something significant for DC’s legacy on the big and small screens. Specifically, by resurrecting both films and television shows that had previously had their stories come to a close, and establishing them as existing in a cohesive Multiverse with other DC continuities, Crisis on Infinite Earths has effectively “de-booted” numerous DC properties while positioning them as being relevant alongside those that are still ongoing. In a nutshell, the term “reboot” essentially no longer applies when it comes to DC.
In aftermath of Crisis, any DC movie or television production can now be plugged into any continuity of its choosing, or none at all. Whether one chooses to exist within the Arrowverse or DCEU continuities or go the Joker route and position itself as its own unique entity, the existence of one now doesn’t cancel out any others. Additionally, Ezra Miller and Grant Gustin’s respective versions of Barry Allen having definitively acknowledged each other opens a world of possibilities all on its own, on top of dovetailing with comments Miller had made regarding The Flash movie in an interview prior to Crisis on Infinite Earths.
With every individual DC theatrical or televised story line referenced within Crisis, the Multiverse that the crossover has established has given DC movies and television series a huge degree of creative license when it comes to continuity. Each individual DC franchise can essentially do its own thing with or without crossing over with or acknowledging the existence of any others. On top of that, by resurrecting numerous DC continuities that had already come to an end and allowing them to intermingle with those that are still ongoing, the notion of reboots, when it comes to DC, is now a completely moot point as a result of Crisis On Infinite Earths.
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