"Crisis on Infinite Earths": Batman '89 Universe's Role Revealed

Well before 'Crisis on Infinite Earths' arrived in The CW's Arrowverse tonight fans knew the epic [...]

Well before "Crisis on Infinite Earths" arrived in The CW's Arrowverse tonight fans knew the epic five-part crossover event would be packed with cameos and appearances from people, places, and things that spanned multiple facets of DC Entertainment. Kevin Conroy, the iconic star of Batman: The Animated Series and its spinoffs was an early announcement. Tom Welling's reprisal of Smallville's Clark Kent was another welcome announcement. In October, it was also confirmed that the world of 1989's Batman would find a place in "Crisis" as well with the casting of Robert Wuhl, reprising his role as Alexander Knox from the Michael Keaton-starring film. Now that "Crisis" is here, we know exactly what role the world of Batman '89 has to play in the event and it's one that drives home just how serious "Crisis" really is.

Spoilers for tonight's episode of Supergirl, "Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part 1" below.

Tonight's beginning of "Crisis" wastes no time in revealing the terrifying reality of the anti-matter wave sweeping through all realities. After a voiceover explaining the concept of the birth of the multiverse and the fact that it's now under attack viewers are immediately taken to Gotham City on Earth-89 -- the reality in which Batman took place. Sitting on a park bench is Alexander Knox (Wuhl) reading a newspaper with a headline about The Joker the skies behind Knox are red and the Bat Signal is alight in the sky, the unmistakable call for help from Gotham's protector. Sitting on his bench, a nervous Knox declares "I hope you're watching, big guy."

Even of the big guy is watching, it's not something that will do any good. Earth-89's fate is sealed along with the fates of several Earths we see right after it. The anti-matter wave has destroyed them, wiping them out much the same way Earth-2 died in the Arrow season eight premiere.

The idea that "Crisis" begins with the destruction of various parallel realities isn't one that itself is a surprise. Arrow co-creator Marc Guggenheim confirmed as much in an interview with ComicBook.com at San Diego Comic-Con earlier this year. In the same interview, he also teased the "cool things" that the event would do -- and this appearance and subsequent destruction of Earth-89 certainly fits the bill in both regards.

"Basically, we're gonna begin — this is an exclusive — we're gonna begin the way Crisis on Infinite Earths the comic begins, which is the destruction of various parallel universes. And the goal is for us to adapt key moments from the comic, those seminal moments," Guggenheim told us.

"In fact, yesterday I pitched to the network what the story was going to be and the best part of the pitch, we have a board that DC made up for me, which is covers from key issues of Crisis on Infinite Earths. And we're like, 'We're gonna do our version of this, we're gonna do our version of this, we're gonna do our version of this.' Our goal is, the thing we've been saying, is we're going to make a list of 100 cool things that we want to do. And even if we only get to do 50, we're still doing 50 cool things."

In addition to Earth-89 being wiped out in the opening of "Crisis," home of DC Universe's Titans (Earth-9), home of the Freedom Fighters (Earth-X), and home of Batman '66 (Earth-66) all succumb to the anti-matter wave in the event's opening moments. Worlds will live and worlds will die indeed.

"Crisis on Infinite Earths" kicks off on Sunday, December 8 on Supergirl, runs through a Monday episode of Batwoman and that Tuesday's episode of The Flash. That will be the midseason cliffhanger, as the shows go on hiatus for the holidays and return on January 14 to finish out the event with the midseason premiere of Arrow and a "special episode" of DC's Legends of Tomorrow, which launches as a midseason series this year and so will not have an episode on the air before the Crisis.