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Series / Elseworlds (2018)

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Barry: Mar Novu, you're gonna stand down!
Oliver: You're gonna use that book to help us set reality right!
The Monitor: Well, I certainly wouldn't have placed it in Deegan's hands if that were my intent.
The Flash of Earth-90: Enough! You will not do to this Earth what you did to mine!

Elseworlds is a 2018 television serial, and the Arrowverse's fifth annual crisis crossover, told across episodes of The Flash, Arrow, and Supergirl, starting December 9th and concluding on the 11th.

A reality-bending experiment by Dr. John Deegan (Jeremy Davies), a doctor from Gotham City's Arkham Asylum, causes Oliver Queen, aka the Green Arrow (Stephen Amell), and Barry Allen, aka the Flash (Grant Gustin), to involuntarily swap lives and identities. With the help of Kara Danvers, aka Supergirl (Melissa Benoist), the only person who recognizes the switch, Oliver and Barry have to embrace the other's abilities, assemble a team of heroes from across The Multiverse and set things right.

"Elseworlds" introduced Batwoman (Ruby Rose) and Gotham City — a first for the Arrowverse— as well as Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch), Nora Fries (Cassandra Jean Amell) and The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett), while Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) returned for his first appearance in an Arrowverse crossover. In a very surprising twist, John Wesley Shipp's Barry Allen also showed up. The crossover set up Batwoman's own series.

To see the DC Comics Imprint of the same name, see here.

Elseworlds consists of three episodes broadcast from December 9 to December 11, 2018.


Elseworlds contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Kate Kane is a redhead in the comics, but a brunette here.
  • Advertised Extra:
    • Downplayed, but John Wesley Shipp's Flash ultimately just serves to deliver some exposition about the Monitor, confront him with the others, and then (presumably) be transported back to Earth-90 against his will.
    • Despite being the center of promotion, Batwoman herself only play a minimal role in the central plotline and disappeared after the second hour, only appearing again at the very end of the third hour.
  • Alternate Self: The crossover introduces the Earth-1 counterparts of Alex Danvers and James Olsen.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Despite the multitude of bizarre and previously-impossible things they've all seen and done before, none of Barry or Oliver's teammates are initially even willing to consider the possibility that the two of them are right about having swapped lives; instead they insist on trying to lock them up for sounding crazy, forcing the two to figure out the other's skills/powers so they can escape and seek out help from other sources.
  • Backdoor Pilot: For the upcoming Batwoman series for 2019.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: One of the Arkham Asylum inmates is named after Marc Guggenheim, the former Arrow showrunner who is despised by most of the fandom with a fiery passion for some extremely vilified writing decisions on the show.
  • Boobs-and-Butt Pose: Or in this case, Chest and Butt Pose. In a rare male example, the series poster has Barry shooting an arrow backwards over his left shoulder.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Superman, who's been absent since the Supergirl season 2 finale. It's mentioned in part 1 that Clark and Lois left Earth for a time to visit the city of Argo.
    • After a 28-year absence, Barry Allen from The Flash (1990) made his long-awaited return.
  • Call-Back: Diggle quickly grasps the idea of Barry and Oliver switching idea, bringing up the events of the previous three crossovers for comparison.
  • Canon Welding: Happens to the 1990 Flash further. In his series, he was the only real-life superhero in his world and Batman and Superman were fictional characters (as shown by their movie posters). In a stinger before the crossover proper, it's established that Earth-90 has (or had) several other real superheroes besides him, like versions of Green Arrow and Stargirl. Also, he generates lightning when he runs now, while he didn't in his show because the Speed Force concept wasn't a thing yet.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: As the villainous Trigger Twins, rather than experiencing Evil Feels Good, Barry starts feeling ill when he and Oliver send a crane toppling over to distract Deegan. Justified as they still have their usual heroic personalities, just placed into villainous alternate selves.
  • Continuity Snarl: Last year's crossover established that there were 53 alternate Earths, numbers 1 through 52 plus Earth-X, while in this one, Earth-90 shows up, named after the year that the first Flash series took place. However, while the numbering scheme gets skewed with the addition of "Earth-90," the 53 alternate Earths could be inhabitable Earths, since other choices could have rendered the others barren and lifeless.
  • Crossover: The fifth annual for the Arrowverse. This time, the Legends of Tomorrow sit out the crossover and instead the featured heroes are '90s Flash, Modern Flash, The Green Arrow, Supergirl, Superman and Batwoman.
  • Downer Beginning: The crossover starts off on Earth-90, with 90's Flash being the only survivor amongst the heroes who fought and died against the Monitor.
  • The Dreaded: Barry and Oliver seem to be this as the Trigger Twins; when they enter a Bad Guy Bar, almost everyone there seems intimidated by them.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: An armored truck belonging to the Crows, Gotham's primary security force, appears here before becoming a main faction in Batwoman (2019).
  • Elseworld: Obviously, given the title.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Oliver and Barry involuntary swap lives and identities, while keeping their own bodies. Barry actually references this, though notes that it's more like Quantum Leap, since they're still in their respective bodies.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • After having warned Lois the ladder in the Kents' barn is rickety, when Clark and Kara are having a beer and talking, there's a thump in the background and Lois yelling "I'm okay!"
    • Kara has several over-the-top flabbergasted facial reactions to Oliver denying that Batman exists.
  • Gender Bender: A strange version in the Elseworlds crossover between three CW series. Deegan has rewritten reality so that he is Superman. However, Kara soon realizes that technically he is not actually Superman, but rather a male version of herself, based on the scans that the AMAZO robot took of her. This is because she is from Earth-38, and the Book of Destiny that Deegan used to rewrite reality only contains information on things from Earth-1. Kara mocks him for being too scared to just go all the way and become her.
  • Instant Expert: Unlike Oliver who struggles with Barry's speed, Barry is very competent with Oliver's archery and hand-to-hand combat.
  • The Heavy: John Deegan with the Book of Destiny is the main threat, with the Monitor as The Man Behind the Man.
  • Hypocrite: John Deegan sees himself as "the hero the world needs", yet he has no problem ruining the lives of others, or even threatening innocents to get what he wants.
  • Incompatible Orientation: The straight Kara is very flustered by Kate's flirting with her.
  • Irony:
    • In the previous crossover, Oliver was the last to arrive on the scene after Barry and Kara, irritably pointing out to them that he didn't have super-speed. Here, he has Barry's powers, giving him the speed he complained about lacking. And he still arrives last.
    • The special ends with Psycho Pirate in Arkham babbling ominously about things to come. The ironic part is that these same ramblings are the closing moments of Crisis on Infinite Earths, whereas here Pirate is actually setting up (essentially the beginning) of the Arrowverse's adaptation of the Crisis.
  • It's All About Me: Deegan. Despite all his talk about helping the world, it's made clear he only wants to do so for his own personal glory.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: This crossover has tons of meta-references.
    • The dialogue "Nanites courtesy of Ray Palmer!", which has become the subject of countless memes since it was first uttered by Oliver in a Season 1 episode of The Flash makes its return — this time spoken by Iris.
    • In Part 1, Ralph mentions that "It's not even Tuesday". The episode in question aired on Sunday, as opposed to The Flash's usual Tuesday slot.
    • In Part 2, Kara mentions to Kate how the name "Bruce Wayne" carries a certain notoriety...a reference to Batman's real-world status as arguably the most popular superhero character, and also to how his name being uttered in the Arrowverse after years of subtle hints is kinda a big deal for the fans.
    • Also in Part 2, Oliver's opposition to the idea of Batman and his stubborn claims that he's the "original vigilante" is perhaps a nod to how some fans have been opposed to the idea of Batman in the Arrowverse - claiming it would dilute Oliver's status as The Cowl of this continuity.
    • In part 3 Kara points out these team ups are becoming a yearly thing.
  • Lighter and Softer: Unlike the previous year's emotionally heavy Crisis on Earth-X, the actors have described this crossover as "fun" and a "hoot to film".
  • Moral Myopia: John Deegan performed horrific experiments on his patients, and sees nothing wrong with warping reality to suit his needs. He even goes so far as to call Superman a villain for trying to stop him.
  • Mundane Utility:
    • The first display of Kara and Clark's superpowers? Clark is acting as a glorified car jack holding up the front end of a truck and Kara pops the caps off two bottles of beer with her thumbs.
    • Bookended by Clark crushing a burning coal into a diamond to propose to Lois with.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The title and logo of Elseworlds are callbacks to the original Elseworlds imprint of DC Comics.
    • If one looks carefully at the fallen heroes of Earth-90, they would notice a Smallville-era Green Arrow costume, suggesting a Justin Hartley-faced Oliver Queen.
    • Barry and Oliver heading to Earth-38 is heralded not only by "Save Me", but by an establishing shot of Smallville that, if you add the CGI meteors, was the intial shot of the Season 5-10 opening credits.
    • John Deegan as Superman appears in the black version of the suit, obviously referencing "Reign of the Supermen".
    • Hour One's shot of Batwoman on a roof is directly inspired by a similar panel in 52 #9.
    • There are mysterious red lightning-filled skies in the background, in reference to Crisis on Infinite Earths and the Trope Namer for Red Skies Crossover.
    • Kara picks up the Shakespeare bust from the '60s Batman show to distract herself after getting flustered by Kate's flirting.
    • A street in Gotham is fittingly noted as the intersection of "Nolan and Burton", who both directed Batman movies.
    • Bane's mask from The Dark Knight Rises shows up on a storage shelf in Arkham.
    • When Batwoman and Supergirl part ways, Kara mentions she thinks they'd make a good team. Kate smiles as they shake hands and says "World's finest".note 
    • John Deegan (sometimes called "John Dee") is the real name of longtime JLA villain Doctor Destiny. While he obtains vastly different powers from his namesake, the artifact given to him by the Monitor is called the Book of Destiny.
    • Also, the Book of Destiny very strongly resembles the book that Destiny of the Endless always carries in the Neil Gaiman Sandman comics. Making it the...Book of Destiny. This is particularly appropriate as Sandman retconned the gem that gave Dr Destiny his Dream Walker powers as being part of Dream's regalia. So he still has powers from an artefact that belonged to one of the Endless, just a different one.
    • Earth-90 Barry contacts Earth-1 through a portal straight out of Barry's appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
    • Barry's plan to slow time and his and Kara's attempt to do so has multiple references:
    • Deegan's final appearance, with his face white and vaguely skull-like, references Dr. Destiny's normal costume that has a skull mask (in some versions his head really is just a skull).
    • The "Trigger Twins" were characters in a Western comic book from DC Comics, although they were heroes, not villains (albeit their modern-day descendants were villains). They also appeared in a Crisis on Infinite Earths tie-in issue of All-Star Squadron.
    • Kate's password is "Alfred," the name of the Waynes' trusted butler.
    • As "Evil Superman", Deegan has traits in common with Superboy-Prime; they are both narcissistic, petty and childish, and convinced that they are heroes. The dark Superman suit Deegan wears is similar to the suit worn by Prime during Countdown to Final Crisis.
  • No-Sell: Much to Barry and Oliver's relief, the whole body swap thing does not work on Kara, who can tell they're in the wrong bodies.
  • Poke in the Third Eye: The Monitor can tell when Cisco trying to vibe him and uses it to communicate how hopeless their situation is. The experience leaves Cisco with a nosebleed.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: Cisco's attempt to vibe the Monitor ends with this when the Monitor hijacks it to taunt them.
  • Reality-Writing Book: The Monitor's book allows anyone possessing it to shape reality to their whim. He gives it to John Deegan and encourages him to "think big".
  • Red Skies Crossover: On the concurrent Legends episode, they receive calls from Barry, Oliver and Kara, and choose to remain out of "the annual crossover".
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: The first sign something is amiss.
  • Running Gag:
    • The more pop-culture savvy characters keep arguing whether the body swap is more like Freaky Friday or Quantum Leap.
    • Once again, Diggle throws up after traveling by Super-Speed.
    • Yet again, one of the Danvers sisters is hit on by another woman.
  • Sequel Hook: The final episode ends with a teaser for next year's crossover: an adaptation of Crisis on Infinite Earths.
  • Shout-Out: When Barry, Kara, and Oliver are arrested in Gotham, a cop gives the location as the corner of "Nolan and Burton."
  • Spiritual Successor: To the previous year's Crisis on Earth-X, which also featured an elseworld-focused plot.
  • Superhero Speciation: Notably averted, as the six main heroes consist of two Badass Normals (Green Arrow and Batwoman), two speedsters (the Flashes of Earths 1 and 90), and two Kryptonians (Supergirl and Superman).
  • Swapped Roles: Literally. Part of the Crossover's premise is Barry and Oliver suddenly swapping lives and identities with their investigation into why and how to reverse it being one of the driving mysteries.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The promos made it seem like the 1990 Flash would have big part. In truth he only shows up in the last quarter of "Hour Two" and the Monitor makes quick work of him by sending him...somewhere.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: The leadup to the reveal of 2019's Crisis on Infinite Earths uses a series of these.
    • Earth-90 Flash explains that the Monitor is creating these warped realities to test heroes for a bigger multiversal clash he believes is coming.
    • The Monitor warns that a threat even greater than himself is coming, and he needs to find heroes capable of fighting the battle to come.
    • After he's admitted back to Arkham as a patient, Deegan is warned by fellow inmate Psycho Pirate that "the world will never be the same" after some live and others die.
  • Verbal Backspace: Hilariously, Oliver attempts to do this when he lets slip that he woke up in bed with Iris. Needless to say it makes Barry very determined to fix things.
  • Visual Pun: In Kate's second scene, one particular low-angle shot has Kara (who eventually gets tongue-tied from Kate's flirting) framed between Kate's legs.
  • Wham Episode: For the Arrowverse as a whole.
    • While there is a Batman on Earth-1, he is missing, and a new superhero has emerged to take up his mantle.
    • The Crisis on Infinite Earths is coming...quite a lot sooner than it should be...
    • Clark is retiring as Superman so that he and Lois can get married and raise their baby.
  • "Will Return" Caption: Crisis On Infinite Earths was announced as the next annual crossover after this crossover finished.

"Don't worry, Doctor. Everything is as it should be. The stage is set. Worlds will live. Worlds will die. And the universe will never be the same."


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Arrowverse DC and WBTV

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