In an ordinary television season, this is the time of year when fans of The CW's Arrowverse would be sitting down to enjoy the always eagerly anticipated crossover event. But 2020 isn't an ordinary year. Not only has The CW's fall television lineup been pushed into early 2021 thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, but last season's crossover, "Crisis on Infinite Earths" completely changed the game for the shared DCTV universe. Not only did it change the Multiverse in terms of story, but it also saw the end of the show that launched it all, Arrow, after eight seasons. With everything that's happened and all of the changes, it seems difficult to believe that it's really only been a year, but here's an anniversary to put it all in perspective: the very first Arrowverse crossover, "Flash vs. Arrow" kicked off six years ago on December 2, 2014.
The very first crossover event, "Flash vs. Arrow" kicked off during the eighth episode of The Flash's first season and was the first part of a two-part event. The episode sees Oliver (Stephen Amell), Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Diggle (David Ramsey) come to central city to investigate a case. Barry (Grant Gustin) asks Oliver to help him stop a villain of his own, Roy Bivolo but the two heroes' partnership doesn't go quite as smoothly as Barry had hoped. Oliver tells Barry that he has a lot he needs to learn while Barry takes that as a challenge and sets out to stop Bivolo alone. That also goes badly and sets things up for Oliver to have to stop him.
The second part of the crossover took place in the eighth episode of Arrow's third season, "The Brave and The Bold" on the next night, December 3, 2014. It saw Oliver, Roy (Colton Haynes) and Diggle track down the boomerang-wielding killer they'd come to Star City for help with, Digger Harkness, but also find themselves face-to-face with an A.R.G.U.S. team. When Harkness attacks and ends up being a larger threat than expected (and targets Diggle's wife, Lyla), Oliver and Barry team up again to find him, working together to save Lyla and the city.
The crossover was an exciting moment for fans as it saw the two heroes truly come together for the first time, but also began to truly establish the close bond between Oliver and Barry, not only as friends but as the heroes the Arrow and The Flash. That bond of friendship is one that would end up being very much a cornerstone for the entire Arrowverse as well as many of the future crossovers -- especially "Elseworlds" which had plenty of callbacks to the original crossover event.
Outside of the impact the crossover had in terms of the trajectory of the Arrowverse and the future crossovers, "Flash vs. Arrow" also was sort of a proof of concept of just how successful these sort of team ups could be. The Flash episode of the event had the second-highest number of viewers after the series premiere that season while the Arrow episode was the most-viewed of season three with the largest (at the time) since the series' premiere in 2012. All of it worked together to show that fans were not only interested in seeing the heroes come together, but that the audience would show up for it.
As for the future of the Arrowverse crossovers, those remain a bit uncertain. "Crisis on Infinite Earths" was such a monumental event that it will be very hard to top, but beyond that the Arrowverse has changed -- and indeed is still changing -- in big ways. It's possible that the big crossover events are a thing of the past, but even if they are, it's fascinating to look back and see how it all started.
What is your favorite Arrowverse crossover? Let us know in the comments.