Earlier this week, the poster for The CW's upcoming "Elseworlds" crossover was released, featuring the official tagline for the crossover alongside photos of Stephen Amell in The Flash's costume and Grant Gustin in the Green Arrow costume.
Of course, since Gustin is the star of The Flash and Amell is the star of Arrow, this got people talking -- and we are wondering whether all the talk about how the Arrowverse's flagship heroes got Freaky Friday-ed might have missed something else: the tagline.
"Destiny will be rewritten," promises the poster...and after a little time for reflection, we're wondering: could that word choice be intentional?
"Elseworlds" was the name of an imprint, which ran from 1989 until 2010, in which familiar characters and concepts from the DC Universe would be imported into strange and unfamiliar circumstances. The first of the Elseworlds titles was Gotham by Gaslight, which dealt with Batman hunting Jack the Ripper in Victorian Gotham. The final was Superman: Last Family of Krypton, which centered on an alternate timeline where Jor-El and Lara were able to join their son in traveling to Earth, and the world had to cope with a super-powered family.
The brand itself was just a savvier way of telling "imaginary stories," as DC used to call their non-canon tales in the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths times -- but even within the main continuity, you would sometimes get a riff on the established DC Universe. Often, such stories would alter reality for a brief time, or at least convince the heroes that they were living in a different universe than the one readers knew.
One such story, "Destiny's Hand," centered on the return of Doctor Destiny, a villain who could reshape reality by using a stone called the Materioptikon, or Dreamstone, which allowed him to create entire realities by using dreams or memories.
The black Superman costume seen in behind-the-scenes shots is most commonly associated with "Reign of the Supermen" or Superman: Lois and Clark, both written by "Destiny's Hand" scribe Dan Jurgens. There was no Superman in "Destiny's Hand" -- he had just died and, even for an alternate reality, it is likely DC belived bringing him back would water down the impact of the story -- but there was The Flash, who wore a black suit instead of red and was part of a dark, twisted version of the Satellite-era Justice League that occupied one of the realities Destiny created.
As Zartan25 notes in the comments below, Jeremy Davies' Arkham scientist, who was originally said to be the big bad of the crossover, was named "John Deegan." This is likely a modernization of "John Dee," the name of the post-Crisis Doctor Destiny.5comments
While the Arrowverse does contain a multiverse within it, and while the presence of The Monitor in the story suggests that the Elseworlds being visited might be alternate Earths, it is likely that John Dee/Doctor Destiny is actually involved here, and that hidden away on the poster is a clue that could explain a lot of the craziness fans have been seeing on social media this week.
The three-night "Elseworlds" event will begin with Supergirl on Sunday, December 9th, before carrying over to December 10th's Arrow and December 11's The Flash.