Why the Arrowverse Doesn't Need a Crossover Next Season

Last season, The CW pulled off its most ambitious Arrowverse crossover event to date with the five-part "Crisis on Infinite Earths". An adaptation of the comic book series of the same name, "Crisis" reshaped the landscape of the network's interconnected DC television shows by bringing not just Supergirl onto the main world -- now Earth-Prime -- but by bringing Black Lightning into the fold as well. The event changed things up for the other shows as well, with Arrow using the Multiverse-changing event to take a bow, and The Flash, Batwoman, and DC's Legends of Tomorrow all dealing with consequences of the merged universe. After such a massive event, fans of the Arrowverse wondered how the network would top themselves for the next crossover, though network president Mark Pedowitz confirmed there'd be a smaller scale crossover for the 2020-2021 season.

But a lot has changed since then. Batwoman ended its first season and a short time later it was announced that Ruby Rose was exiting the series. While it was initially said that the series would recast the Kate Kane/Batwoman role, that too changed with the series choosing to introduce a new character altogether -- Ryan Wilder, who will be played by Javicia Leslie. Then, last week, it was announced that Supergirl will be ending its run after the upcoming sixth season. On top of that, a new series -- Superman & Lois -- is set to debut in 2021 and the network has a new, technically non-Arrowverse series in Stargirl which ended its first season in August. With all of the shifts and changes, it's time to reconsider the question of crossover and this time it's not what the Arrowverse should do for its crossover next season but if they should do one at all -- and the answer to that is no.

The Arrowverse does not need a crossover event for the 2020-2021 season and there are a handful of reasons why. One of those reasons is "Crisis on Infinite Earths". Without question, "Crisis" was huge. While most of the Arrowverse crossovers incorporate all or nearly all of the shows current at that time, the effects of those crossovers aren't quite as dramatic. The heroes come together, they fight a common enemy, they are victorious and return home until the next one. That's not to say each event hasn't had lasting impact -- Crisis on Earth-X saw the death of Martin Stein while Elseworlds introduced the Monitor and set the stage for “Crisis” -- but "Crisis" fundamentally changed everything. That kind of change is something that needs time to breathe and really settle in. The changes that came with the merging of the Multiverse into Earth-Prime are changes that the shows are still trying to balance for themselves, particularly on Supergirl where Lex Luthor has become a "hero" because of the event. Trying another crossover next season feels like too much, too soon.

That would support the idea of a smaller crossover then, right? Not necessarily. With Supergirl's final season arriving outside of the same cycle as the rest of the Arrowverse, the one small crossover that most fans wanted -- a World's Finest with Batwoman -- was taken off the table. Instead, it was suggested that there'd be one with Batwoman and Superman & Lois. It's something that could have still worked -- especially with Kate having acquired Kryptonite at the end of Season 1 but with the exit of Rose and Kate Kane/Batwoman with her even that crossover feels wrong. Leslie's Ryan Wilder is an unknown to the rest of the Arrowverse heroes. Thrusting that character into a crossover so quickly feels forced especially with no connections.

There's also the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to consider. Most of the Arrowverse shows were caught in the production shutdown back in March, leading The Flash, Batwoman, and Supergirl to all have shortened seasons. While production is starting up again on the new seasons -- and the truncated storylines from last season being dealt with in the early episodes of the new season of each series -- production itself has fundamentally changed. There are new safety protocols that shows must follow, protocols that include COVID-19 testing which is itself likely to be a significant extra cost. More than that, there's the logistics of things. It's possible that the actors and crews from the different shows might not be able to work together because of safety restrictions -- and in the case of Black Lightning, if characters from that show were to be included, there would have to undergo a full quarantine period as that series films in Georgia. The rest of the Arrowverse films in Vancouver.

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"Crisis" having made too many sweeping changes. The schedule and casting shuffles. The pandemic. All three of these things are significant reasons why the Arrowverse should just skip the crossover this year. Instead, the Arrowverse should focus bringing Supergirl's story to a close, introducing Superman & Lois, giving the new Batwoman a chance to rise, and continue the stories on The Flash and DC's Legends of Tomorrow that fans are eager to see told. Maybe by taking a season off not only will the world get a bit back to "normal" but there will be all new stories to tell.

The Arrowverse is set to return with new episodes of Batwoman, The Flash, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Superman & Lois, Supergirl, and Black Lightning in 2021.