Next year's Arrowverse crossover will have an iconic title

Get ready to go into Crisis mode.

At the conclusion of the Arrowverse's Elseworlds event which finished airing Tuesday night, the CW teased audiences with the title of next year's crossover: Crisis on Infinite Earths, a reveal that left the heads of DC fans spinning.

Elseworlds' final episode revealed (spoilers) that the Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) had been behind all of the universe-colliding events, in an effort to find heroes worthy of joining his army to stand against a mysterious foe (almost certainly his doppleganger, the Anti-Monitor) who is just as bent on destroying the multiverse as the Monitor is on protecting it. In the final moments of the episode, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) were sitting down for a well-deserved beer when Queen received an unexpected call from Batwoman (Ruby Rose). "I just came from Arkham," she says. "Tell me this deranged doctor of yours (referring to the imprisoned Dr. John Deegan, the Monitor's pawn in the whole plot) isn't going to be a bigger problem." Deegan is then seen in his cell, which shares a wall with that of Psycho-Pirate. "Don't worry, doctor," the villain says. "Everything is as it should be. The stage is set. Worlds will live, worlds will die, and the universe will never be the same."

This last sentence just happened to be the marketing tagline for DC's epic 1985 maxi-series Crisis on Infinite Earths, and a title card then informed us that the next crossover event will share its title.

For those uninitiated, the Crisis comic series (created by the legendary Marv Wolfman and George Perez) was a brilliant, dramatic fix for a DC multiverse which had become unwieldy in the extreme. Scads of alternate "Earths," along with multitudes of different versions of DC heroes and villains, had been introduced in the preceding years, and Crisis offered up a nifty explanation (by way of the Anti-Monitor's crusade to destroy the multiverse) for doing away with all of them, condensing them down to one consistent timeline. In the process, however, more than one iconic hero bit the dust — including, notably, the Flash and Supergirl.

Of course, DC later reversed course on the whole "single timeline" thing with the introduction of the New 52 (52 alternate universes, each presided over by a different version of the Monitor) in 2011. But for the CW's purposes, invoking the classic Crisis storyline could serve as a springboard to a serious revamping of any or all of the series comprising the Arrowverse — or, it might spell the end for one or more of them.

Based on the fates that befell them in the comics, one might think that an Arrowverse Crisis adaptation could portend doom for the Flash and Supergirl, but this is not necessarily the case. The final episode of Elseworlds revealed that the pair were destined to die in an attempt to prevent Deegan from rewriting reality on the Monitor's behalf once again, but Queen made some kind of (offscreen) bargain with the Monitor which resulted in their lives being spared. It's anybody's guess what Queen offered the all-powerful entity in return, but it probably wasn't an autograph. Arrow recently teased the possible emergence of Queen's half-sister Emiko (Sea Shimooka) as the new Green Arrow, which could open the door to Amell's departure from the series — possibly as a result of his character making the ultimate sacrifice in order to avert the deaths of his friends and/or the destruction of the multiverse.

There similarly exists the possibility that Barry Allen's days could be numbered, a it was teased as far back as the very first episode of The Flash that, in the year 2024, the Scarlet Speedster will mysteriously disappear in the midst of a "crisis." It seems unlikely that the CW is considering canceling any of these (extremely popular) series at this point, but that doesn't mean that Gustin couldn't bow out of the series to make room for a new version of the character — perhaps Wally West, AKA Kid Flash, who has appeared (portrayed by Keiynan Lonsdale) in both The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. There is precedent for this in the comics, as Wally famously took over for Barry Allen as the Flash after the latter's death during the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Obviously, this is all speculation, and the CW is sure to keep us guessing right up until the next crossover's premiere. But it's safe to assume that the stakes will be raised, nobody will be safe, and — like that classic tagline says — the universe will never be the same.

Crisis on Infinite Earths is expected to air in the Fall of 2019.