There is a brand-new episode of Arrow tonight, airing on the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S., but many fans are already looking past the holiday fog and toward next week's big crossover event, "Crisis on Earth-X."
About that crossover? Series star Stephen Amell wants fans to know that it was monumental, difficult to make -- and worth it. He also says Arrow fans should get hyped because Oliver Queen is heavily featured in the story, which feels like a four-hour TV movie.
"What I can tell you about this year is you know the order of the episodes, as in Supergirl, Arrow, Flash, Legends? That doesn't mean shit," Amell told reporters during a recent visit to the set of Arrow. "You can't tell what episode is what episode. The first episode centers on everyone coming together for Barry and Iris's wedding. So you're collecting everyone from all over the place, and then it's really effectively their story throughout the first hour, which would indicate that it's a Flash episode, except it's not. I think it's weird. I would wager to guess that I have the most screen time in all four episodes of the crossover."
Amell reiterated something actors and producers have been saying for months -- that the scope and scale of "Crisis on Earth-X" dwarfs last year's "Invasion!' crossover.
"Not to get too inside baseball here, but they have made it bigger than ever," Amell said. "When we conceived of the crossovers back in Season 3 of Arrow and Season 1 of Flash, it was like, 'OK, I'm going to go, and I'm going to shoot on The Flash for four days. Fine.' The crossovers this year took up six full weeks of shooting. I think that in order for us to continue down this path, we, as productions, and The CW, as the network, and Warner Bros., as the studio, are going to have to fundamentally re-conceive how we execute these because this sort of broke the schedule mold. I mean it just simply didn't fit. It wasn't that it was 14-hour days every day, it was a very long day."
Even practical matters like how to manage talents' schedules became unwieldy, and Amell foresees a change in that, too.
"I think that if we're going to shoot it like a big four-hour movie, we have to board it like a big four-hour movie," he said. "We have to prioritize the schedules of the people that are going to be working the most, if that's me, if that's Melissa, if that's Caity Lotz, if that's Grant. It's going to change year over year based off of story. The payoff is that I've seen one cut of one episode, and it's just... It's like a four-hour escape. There are some through-line storylines like Oliver and Felicity's relationship, and Barry and Iris's relationship, and what's going on with Sara, what's going on with Victor and Franz. It really is, for the first time, it's an event. It's not a crossover anymore. Call it the crossover if you want. But it's kind of like calling the Super Bowl just a football game. Yeah, sure, they play football, but there's so much other stuff that goes on with it. It's an event."
"Crisis on Earth-X" is a four-hour event that will air on November 27 and 28 beginning at 8 p.m. and running for two hours each day; Supergirl (8 p.m. Monday), The Flash (8 p.m. Tuesday) and Legends of Tomorrow (9 p.m. Tuesday) will remain in their normal time slots but Arrow will move from Thursday to a 9 p.m. Monday placement for the week.