Everything You Need To Know Before Watching The CW's 'Crisis On Infinite Earths'

The CW has been cranking up the spectacle of its annual Arrowverse crossover event since they started back in 2014, but it'll be hard to top 2019's Crisis on Infinite Earths. Based on the 1985 comic event of the same name, the crossover will span five full episodes and including every DC series featured on the channel. And fans of older DC shows and movies will have something to enjoy, too: Crisis is bringing in many characters and actors from previous DC series like Smallville and Batman: The Animated Series.

The massive crossover was teed up in 2018's Elseworlds event, but it has been referenced throughout multiple Arrowverse series, beginning back in the first season of The Flash five years ago. That's a lot of television to watch, and a lot of history to keep straight. So here's what to know before tuning in to The CW's 2019 Arrowverse crossover Crisis On Infinite Earths.

  • When Do The Episodes Air And In What Order?

    When Do The Episodes Air And In What Order?
    Photo: CW

    The Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover is the biggest event for The CW's Arrowverse to date. All of the network's heroes will come together as the story unfolds over five episodes. This is how the episodes break down and when they air:

    • Dec. 8: Supergirl (8/7c)
    • Dec. 9: Batwoman (8/7c)
    • Dec. 10: The Flash (8/7c)

    After the first three episodes, the crossover will pause until the new year. The final two installments take place on the same night in January.

    • Jan. 14: Arrow (8/7c)
    • Jan. 14: Legends of Tomorrow (9/8c)
  • What Happened In 'Crisis On Infinite Earths' Parts 1, 2, and 3

    What Happened In 'Crisis On Infinite Earths' Parts 1, 2, and 3
    Photo: CW

    Part 1: The Crisis begins and Earth-38 is under the gun from the Anti-Matter wave. Harbinger brings Green Arrow, The Flash, Batwoman, Sara Lance, and Ray Palmer to Supergirl's Earth to make a stand. Along the way, Harbinger also brings Superman and Lois from Argo City right before it's consumed by the Anti-Matter wave. The team fights for as long as they can to let as many people escape Earth-38 as possible. Millions are saved but, unfortunately, Oliver Queen dies as everyone is transported to Earth-1.

    Part 2: Clark, Lois, and Iris begin Earth-hopping to find which Superman fits their Paragon role, and Kate and Kara do the same but for Bruce Wayne. Barry, Sara, and Mia discover a Lazarus Pit with the hope that they can revive Oliver, which ends up not working. The hunt for Superman ends when they find Kingdom Come Superman (played by Brandon Routh), who is momentarily controlled by a Book of Destiny-wielding Lex Luthor. Kara and Kate learn the Bruce Wayne they found is a broken man, having killed most of his famous enemies and his Earth's Superman, so the two return after taking the man out. Kate learns that she is, in fact, one of the Paragons along with Barry, Sara, Kingdom Come Clark and Martian Manhunter.

    Part 3: Flash, Cisco, and Pariah break into the Anti-Monitor's lair and discover the Flash from Earth-90 has been powering his anti-matter machine. The group also meets Black Lightning, who helps them slow down the wave before Earth-90 Flash sacrifices himself. Diggle, Constantine, and Mia are still trying to resurrect Ollie and ask for Lucifer's help before being sent to Oliver's version of the afterlife. They meet him but don't get much time before the Spectre shows up and whisks him away for a new mission. After Ray, Ralph, and Iris track down Ryan Choi – the last paragon – everyone converges on the Waverider and learns that the Anti-Monitor had that planned all along. He reignites the anti-matter wave and takes everyone out for good... except the seven paragons.

    They find themselves at the Vanishing Point – a place outside of time – and they're the only remaining people in existence. Before they can truly get to figuring out what to do, Kingdom Come Superman disappears and is replaced by Lex Luthor. When he had the Book of Destiny in Part II, he had rewritten himself as the Paragon of Truth in a bid to save himself. Now, they're one Paragon down and have no plan for stopping the Crisis.

  • What Is The Crisis?

    What Is The Crisis?
    Photo: DC Comics

    Crisis on Infinite Earths is one of DC Comics' most famous storylines. Written in 1985 by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, Crisis really created the template for line-wide comic crossovers and amassing big superhero team-ups like those in the Avengers films. The storyline introduced the Monitor and brought the concept of the multiverse to the forefront of DC Comics storytelling. A superhero's death was nothing to scoff at back in 1985, so the story ending with characters like Supergirl and the Flash dying shocked quite a few people.

    The storyline to Crisis begins with the Anti-Monitor's release and his destruction of various Earths around the multiverse. The Monitor then begins to rally heroes from every corner of the remaining multiverse to help fight his eternal enemy.

    As far as the Arrowverse goes, Crisis was teased way back in the first season of The Flash in 2014. Several major characters from the Crisis comic play central roles in the Arrowverse – including the ill-fated Girl of Steel and Scarlet Speedster – while others, like Green Arrow, will play a much larger part as Ollie made some sort of deal with the Monitor to help him at the end of 2018's Elseworlds crossover.

  • Who Is The Monitor?

    Who Is The Monitor?
    Photo: CW

    The Monitor – aka Mar Novu – is at the center of the Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline. He is essentially an all-powerful god in the DC Universe who wields near-limitless abilities and has one constant goal in mind: protecting the multiverse. Unfortunately for the heroes of multiple Earths, whenever the Monitor shows up, his counterpart, the Anti-Monitor, isn't far behind. Their appearances usually signal big-time trouble for the multiverse.

    In Arrowverse continuity, the Monitor showed up in 2018's Elseworlds crossover to test the abilities of Earth-1's heroes. After Green Arrow, the Flash, Supergirl, and the rest of the heroes deal with some Freaky Friday body swaps and a mad scientist capable of rewriting reality, he deems the heroes worthy of helping him take on the coming Crisis.

  • Who Is Showing Up For The Crisis?

    Who Is Showing Up For The Crisis?
    Photo: CW

    The Crisis crossover is really leaning into the multiverse concept. The five-episode event is bringing in actors from previous live-action DC shows and films to reprise their characters, or to play entirely new ones. Here is a running list of actors confirmed to be appearing in the crossover alongside Team Arrow, Team Flash, Supergirl, Batwoman, Black Lightning, and the Legends of Tomorrow.

    • Tom Welling as Clark Kent/Superman (Smallville)
    • Erica Durance as Lois Lane (Smallville)
    • Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne (Batman: The Animated Series)
    • Brandon Routh as Kingdom Come Superman (Superman Returns, Legends of Tomorrow)
    • Jon Cryer as Lex Luthor (Supergirl)
    • Tyler Hoechlin as Clark Kent/Superman (Supergirl)
    • Bitsie Tulloch as Lois Lane (The FlashSupergirl)
    • Burt Ward in an unconfirmed role (Batman 1966-1968)
    • Stephen Lobo as Jim Corrigan/the Spectre (Smallville)
    • Johnathon Schaech as Jonah Hex (Legends of Tomorrow)
    • John Wesley Shipp as the Flash (The Flash 1990-1991)
    • Ashley Scott as Huntress (Birds of Prey 2002)
    • Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore/Stargirl (Stargirl)
    • Audrey Marie Anderson as Harbinger (Arrow)
    • Tom Cavanagh as Pariah (The Flash)
  • What Has The Green Arrow Been Up To?

    What Has The Green Arrow Been Up To?
    Photo: CW

    At the end of 2018's Elseworlds crossover, Oliver made a deal with the Monitor to save Supergirl and the Flash's life. That deal came due in Arrow's Season 7 finale when Mar Novu showed up, telling Ollie he needed to come with him to help prepare for the coming Crisis. He also let it slip that Oliver wouldn't survive the Crisis. Arrow's final season has dealt entirely with Ollie helping the Monitor procure pieces to a device necessary to help stop the event. He even went to Earth-2 for one of those parts and left just as the planet was consumed by the Crisis – with Black Siren, Earth-2's slightly more villainous Black Canary played by Katie Cassidy – in tow.

    The Monitor also pulled adult versions of Ollie's kids, William and Mia, from the future, along with Diggle and Lyla's adopted son, Connor, to help Team Arrow with their tasks. In the end, the device Mar Novu built wasn't even for Oliver: it was for Lyla. She took it and – after years of fan speculation – finally became Harbinger just in time to warn the team that the Crisis had begun.