Earlier today, Erica Durance provided fans with their first look at Lois Lane and Clark Kent, as played by herself and her Smallville co-star Tom Welling, since that series wrapped a decade ago. The pair are back together again for The CW's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover, in which they will be joined by Tyler Hoechlin as the Superman of Earth-38, Bitsie Tulloch as that world's Lois Lane, and Brandon Routh as the Superman of a world which, because he is wearing the Kingdom Come Superman costume, many fans assume his Lois has passed away. But even with all that legacy baked into the crossover, it seems that Welling's wardrobe provided another subtle visual callback to earlier Superman stories.
A cursory look at the red-and-black flannel Clark is wearing in the shot below -- especially since this shot appears to have been taken on the Smallville Kent Farm set -- may be a reference to similar outfits worn by Henry Cavill in Justice League (with a little Man of Steel sprinkled in, too) and Jeff East in Superman: The Movie. First, take a look at Welling below...
Welling himself wore flannel as Clark...well...a lot during his years on Smallville, but the exact color and design of the shirt feels like an intentional homage. Even if it wouldn't in a "normal" guest appearance, the fact that this is "Crisis on Infinite Earths," an event so self-referential and so affectionate to DC's history that they managed to get Welling in the first place, tips the scales a little.
While Cavill's flannel shirt in Justice League was a little different than this one, one of the film's final scenes -- also on the Kent Farm -- depicted him wearing a jacket that was much more similar to the pattern on Welling's in the shot above. You can check that one out below. In Man of Steel, he also wore a shirt very similar to the one Welling is wearing under the flannel, but that may or may not be intentional.
What's funny about that red flannel is that it, too, was originally seen by fans as being a reference. The jacket worn by Welling looks like a more contemporary version of a jacket worn by Jeff East, who played teenage Clark Kent, in Superman: The Movie 40 years ago.
"Crisis on Infinite Earths" has loomed over the Arrowverse for years. The series premiere of The Flash featured an allusion to the hero disappearing amid red skies in the year 2024. During the original comics event, red skies were a sign of doom to come to a world during the Crisis. At the end of last season, a couple of things happened: The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett), who had appeared in "Elseworlds," reappeared and revealed that Oliver Queen was destined to die in the Crisis...and the future newspaper at STAR Labs rolled back the expected date of the Crisis from 2024 to 2019.
In the comics, Crisis on Infinite Earths centered on a battle between the combined superheroes (and even some villains) of the DC multiverse and an immortal, cosmic threat known as the Anti-Monitor. Like The Monitor, the Anti-Monitor will be played by LaMonica Garrett in the Arrowverse. As the Anti-Monitor destroys realities, he replaces their positive matter energy with antimatter, growing his own power and sphere of influence. He was eventually stopped by the sacrifices of several heroes, including The Flash and Supergirl, as well as the merging of multiple universes to save reality by becoming a single, unified timeline. Fans have long wondered whether the events of "Crisis on Infinite Earths" might bring Supergirl and even Black Lightning to Earth-1, where the rest of the series take place. The crossover will also feature guest appearances by Tom Welling as Clark Kent, Erica Durance as Lois Lane, John Wesley Shipp as the Flash of Earth-90, Johnathon Schaech as Jonah Hex, Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne, and Brandon Routh as Superman.
"Crisis on Infinite Earths" will air on The CW this winter, taking place on five episodes of TV over two quarters -- one each of Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, and Batwoman. Are you excited for the Crisis? Chime in below or tweet your thoughts to @russburlingame.