Did the crossover deliver or what?
And while the writers could have stalled for this promotional stunt - making this special episode one that centered solely on a Villain of the Week - mythology was beautifully meshed and important stories were moved along.
What did we find out from last night’s The Flash? And what’s coming n tonight’s Arrow? And beyond?
After last week’s screening event of both episodes in Los Angeles, cast members Stephen Amell, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards, Audrey Marie Anderson, Grant Gustin, Danielle Panabaker and Carlos Verdes gathered with executive producers Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim to talk about the making of the episodes and what they have planned for 2015...
When did they decide to do the crossover? Berlanti said planning started early but “then as we started hatching and planned [the episodes] out we realized how much time and work it was going to take. It took a little bit more.”
He added that the producers agreed that doing this crossover now instead of later in the season was the way to go: “Since these [shows] are born out of DC Comics, and in the comic books the crossover element…it’s literally how the characters were born and are born out of the comic books. And so we felt like we owed it to ourselves and to the fans and to everyone to try and do them sooner rather than later.”
Flash vs. Arrow: The epic fight between Flash and Arrow was something they knew they wanted to be a part of this event. “I think one of the biggest things was the sort of arguments that Digg and Felicity and Cisco and Caitlin have about who was winning the fight, which was one of the earliest things we talked about,” said Kreisberg.
“We’re all fans and we’ve all sat around when we were kids or adults, and who would win the fight, Superman or Batman? Or the Hulk or the Wolverine…so the idea that they would fight each other in one of these episodes was one of our earliest ideas, and that the cast members would have that Comic Con argument on camera was one of our earliest ideas.”
For Guggenheim, he wanted to make sure their fight wasn’t their primary interaction. “On Flash you actually get to see Flash versus Arrow and on Arrow you actually get to see the two heroes team up. So those are the two things that as a comic fan I always wanted to see. I wanted to see them fight and I also wanted to see them get along and work to stop the bad guy, and we got a chance to do both.”
The Fight: Since Arrow is more stunt-heavy and Flash is more special effects-heavy, how did they pull that clash off?
“It wasn’t that much different than a typical episode [of Arrow],” explained Amell. “I worked with the same stunt team because we essentially lent part of our stunt team to Flash and they created their own team. But the actual fight with Grant, which we shot over three nights, that was a different experience because of the special effects element but I think it turned out great.”
Love Is A Battlefield: Besides taking down meta humans on Flash, Oliver also lent some words of advice about love and being a hero, telling Barry that for guys like them, they don’t get the girl. What does that mean, then, for Barry and Iris?
“As much as he may think about Iris, making that happen isn’t necessarily the most important thing to him right now,” Gustin said. “He’ll always love her and I think just because Oliver said this to him, maybe he’ll take his advice and maybe not follow through with it right now. But it is still love of his life and that’s not going to change, I don’t think.”
And while the Flash/Irish relationship ended up in not such a great place, Gustin teased of what’s to come: “Barry is going to be honest in the near future about some things. I won’t say what that is exactly but something pretty big.”
Girl Power: Since Rickards and Panabaker play women surrounded by all these crime fighting men, how was it for them to work together? “It was great for us,” the former said. “We got to hang out. I think for them as characters it was nice to work with other intelligent women later on and the secret that they’ve been dealing with.”
Panabaker added: “Yeah, there’s a lot of trust. I mean, they’re both protecting these great men and so they have that in common.” It also doesn’t hurt that maybe there are some feelings for these men in the mix, too, right?
Starling City vs. Central City: It’s clear that Arrow is a bit darker and serious than the lighter Flash, so how did it work for mingling the slightly different worlds? Valdes offered that “one of the most fascinating things is that when members of one team in one city go to the other team, the tone of that city sort of starts to affect them. I think when Barry, Caitlin and Cisco were in Starling City, it’s very clear to them that they haven’t really been taking this as seriously as they could have, and so they sort of start to grapple with the stakes. You know, these are life and death situations, so that’s kind of something that affects their growth.”
Berlanti agreed: “One of the most rewarding parts for me is to see the actors just literally cross over to these separate shows and how much they hold the screen in the other show.”
Diggle The Comedian: While we don’t normally get a lot of laughs from Diggle on Arrow, David Ramsey’s awestruck reaction to meeting Barry as The Flash was a high point for a lot of the cast. “That’s actually my very favorite moment from all of the crossover stuff,” said Gustin. “The first time David seeks Barry arrive in the suit and his powers, I mean, we had a lot of fun that morning.” Amell also said, “you could build an entire blooper reel of outtakes from that scene.”
Ramsey explained he was a little caffeinated when shooting that scene because he and Rickards were drinking Coca Cola in the scene. After Diggle’s first reaction to seeing The Flash, Ramsey said, “I looked at Andrew and I said, “Is it too big?” He said, “Bigger. You can’t go too big on Flash.”
Firestorm Is Coming: SPOILER ALERT …or not since it’s been all over the web that Robbie Amell returns as Caitlin’s not-so-dead fiancé Ronnie - but he’s definitely changed since he was caught inside the particle accelerator and we caught a glimpse of him in The Flash episode.
How is Caitlin going to react when she finds out Ronnie is alive?
“She does not handle it well,” Panabaker revealed. “She’s spent the last year grieving the loss of Ronnie and then she thinks maybe he’s back, that maybe she’s lost her mind, and just seeing him in a very different form is extremely challenging for her.”
A Lighter Arrow?: Will spending time in Central City with The Flash gang lighten up things on Arrow? Don’t count on it, said Amell. “I do think it is important to know for us is that other stuff is out there, like metahumans and that there’s a whole team," he said. "It’s nice to stretch beyond Starling City but that smile that you saw on Oliver’s face lasts about four seconds in the next episode and then it’s gone.”
S.T.A.R. Labs Gadgets to Arrow: Kreisberg teased that while the technology on Arrow is different than Flash, watch for Flash’s S.T.A.R. Labs to lend some gadgets to our Starling City gang. “There’s a couple of big S.T.A.R. Labs inventions that will be coming Arrow’s way, which will be very cool. And like Greg said, one of the best things about when you read a comic book when you’re a kid or an adult, like it’s watching the characters cross over, and what happens in one book affects the other.
"These shows are so tightly knit, it does sort of feel like one giant show that’s sort of happening. So as many times as we can, there’s the mini crossovers and bigger ones like when Felicity graced Flash’s presence in episode four and then obviously this giant crossover event.”
More Crossovers: While this particular crossover event can be deemed a success, does that mean we’ll be getting more soon? Berlanti answered by saying, “We’re just working on the back half of the year and there’ll be other crossovers, but there won’t be a two-parter like this in the back of the year I think.”
What’s Coming Next: As we know, at the end of The Flash, Felicity asks Caitlin to use their labs to help find Sara’s killer. Oliver and Harrison Wells share a moment where, afterwards, Oliver says to Felicity, “There is something off about that guy.”
And, of course, the big bomb that was dropped in The Flash episode is that – gasp – Oliver Queen has a child out there since he ran into Sandra (who you’ll remember was seen in flashback in Arrow Season 2 Episode 20 as a girl who Oliver gets pregnant but Moira gives her two million dollars to tell Oliver she lost the baby and never contact him again). After an awkward moment with Oliver, she calls to check on her child. No idea when this will come back around again but it’s out there now.
The second half of the crossover airs tonight on Arrow at 8/7c on The CW. The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.