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Arrowverse Crossover Featuring Tyler Hoechlin, Brandon Routh As Superman Underway

Get ready for a clash of the Supermen.

Brandon Routh, who portrayed the iconic hero in 2006's Superman Returns, will suit up alongside current Arrowverse Supes Tyler Hoechlin in the forthcoming Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event. Deadline was first with the news, with its report indicating that an announcement is expected to be made at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend.

It's an appropriate move for the CW's Arrowverse, which in recent years has fallen back on the multiverse narrative device early and often, notably during last year's crossover Elseworlds (in which Green Arrow and the Flash encountered alternate universe versions of themselves with their heroic identities swapped). The Flash even cast John Wesley Shipp, who portrayed the Scarlet Speedster in his '90s live-action TV series, as Jay Garrick, the Flash of Earth-3 — so introducing Routh as an alternate Supes is certainly not a stretch.

Superman Returns, which positioned itself as a direct sequel to Richard Donner's Superman II, constitutes an odd blip in the history of DC characters on film. Arriving two years before the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and, therefore, the concept of share movie universes in general), the flick was well-received, with critics singling out the performances of Routh and Kevin Spacey (as Lex Luthor) for praise. But the flick failed to generate the kind of potentially franchise-launching box office returns that Warner Brothers was hoping for, and after kicking around the idea of a sequel for a couple of years, the studio decided to go the reboot route with 2013's Man of Steel (which launched what was then known as the DC Extended Universe). 

As fans of the CW's suite of DC series know, Routh has played Ray Palmer — AKA The Atom — in the Arrowverse for years, with the character first recurring on The Flash before moving to the main cast of characters on Legends of Tomorrow. It's not clear whether the double-casting will be addressed during Crisis on Infinite Earths, but given the Arrowverse series' propensity for cheeky, self-referential humor, we're going to go ahead and guess that it probably will be, and in hilarious fashion.

Hoechlin, meanwhile, has held down the role of Big Blue on Supergirl since 2016, and his iteration of the character figured prominently into the narrative of Elseworlds. His portrayal has been well-received, and for some time now, the rumor mill has continually insisted that Hoechlin's Supes will be getting his own solo Arrowverse serial any old time now.

While the CW's Comic-Con panels will focus on their individual series, including the upcoming Ruby Rose-starring series Batwoman (who was introduced during the events of Elseworlds), it certainly wouldn't surprise us if a few choice details about Crisis were to be offered up as well. The crossover event, which shares its title with one of the most iconic DC comics storyline of all time, has been highly anticipated since it was teased at Elseworlds' conclusion, and its five episodes will unite the principals of all of the CW's series: The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Batwoman, and Arrow, which will soon field its eighth and final season.

Of course, as awesome as it was, fans will remember that the comics storyline — which ran for 12 issues in 1985 and 1986 — served a higher purpose than simply bringing all of DC's heroes together for an epic throwdown. In it, the all-powerful, villainous Anti-Monitor sets out to destroy every universe in the DC multiverse, and nearly succeeds — but is eventually halted by the combined efforts of two alternate universe Supermen and the son of the Lex Luthor of Earth-3. At the end, only a single universe was left unscathed — meaning that, in one fell swoop, the problem of the notoriously complicated, headache-inducing continuity of the DC multiverse of the time was solved. 

The Arrowverse, obviously, hasn't had to tangle with the issue of dozens of writers needlessly tangling up its continuity for decades. But given that the Crisis crossover will introduce an alternate Superman, it'll be interesting to see the extent to which its writers draw from the comics storyline for inspiration. 

The CW's Comic-Con panels for its Arrowverse series will all take place on Saturday, July 20, in Ballroom 20. The creative minds behind Batwoman will screen the pilot and engage the crowd in a Q&A at 10:30 AM local time; Arrow will take the stage with a special video presentation and Q&A at 3:30 PM; Supergirl will get its time in the spotlight at 4:15 PM; and The Flash will close the festivities out at 5:45.

Stay tuned, as we'll be here to bring you all the news that's fit to report from San Diego Comic-Con 2019 all weekend long.