In the very early moments of CW’s The Flash, the writers dropped what, at the time, seemed like an easter egg to prove to fans that they were, indeed writing a comic-book show: A newspaper headline from 2024 telling of the scarlet speedster’s disappearance in a “crisis.” The word crisis, of course, being DC’s signal that lots of heroes are about to die in a multiversal event. After this past fall’s ‘Elseworlds‘ crossover, though, the word ‘Crisis’ stopped being an easter egg, as the event ended with the promise that 2019 would bring us DC’s legendary Crisis on Infinite Earths event.
Longtime Flash and DC fans know that the 1985/86 Crisis on Infinite Earths event is the one that killed the original Flash, Barry Allen. He stayed that way for almost a quarter century before DC would finally resurrect him for the Flash: Rebirth comics. All of this jives with that headline from the show. But that headline takes place in 2024, and the Crisis on Infinite Earths is set to air in 2019. So what’s up?
Well, we won’t know for sure until next fall, but the Flash showrunner has some encouraging words for us.
“We’ve certainly been teasing [the headline] for a long time, but it’ a major factor in next year’s crossover,” said Todd Helbing in an interview with TV Guide. And then he said something that’s sure to have all of us on pins and needles for the next nine months.
“There will be little tidbits here and there that people will be able to start to put together.”
The Flash is weak to cold. Superman, Kryptonite. For fans, this kind of thing is it. Hints, easter eggs, and a promise that paying atomic-microscope levels of attention to the show will be rewarded? Helbing is making our dreams come true, but sounding like a supervillain in the process.
So how are we going to bridge that five-year gap? Well, the Arrowverse could certainly do a 5-year jump, but that seems unlikely, as the shows have intentionally set themselves in the present day, to suggest that they’re happening in real time with us (and that no villains ever attack Star, National, or Central City between May and October). But the other thing the Flash has done since the beginning is play fast and loose with the timestream. Some kind of timey-wimey thing would happen in the back half of this season or the first parts of the next one. Or it could be that the future timeline that exists now didn’t account for the awakening of the Anti-Monitor, if that’s who will be putting the multiverse in danger next fall.
Either way, this is pretty exciting news, and I’m genuinely interested to see what the CW does. The Flash is one of the gems in the CW’s primetime crown, so killing off Barry doesn’t make sense – especially when the show rushed to incorporate Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) as Kid Flash and continually struggled to find a place to put him. Lonsdale doesn’t seem to have enough starpower to take over for Gustin if the Crisis killed the Barry Allen in the upcoming Crisis event, so going the route of the comics seems unlikely.
But then, Helbing didn’t say that the Flash disappears – just that his disappearance plays a role in everything that happens. A moment that took place off-screen had Oliver Queen bargaining with the Monitor to save his friends, and he left the being’s pocket dimension with a grim look on his face.
There’s lot to anticipate next fall and, now, a lot to keep our eyes open for.