After a whole year of teasing and buildup, the CW’s annual crossover has returned yet again, this time focusing on adapting the iconic maxiseries Crisis on Infinite Earths. Last night’s debut hour truly hit the ground running, by making good on an ominous prophecy that has been hinted for months!
[Ed. note: This post contains major spoilers for the first episode of Crisis on Infinite Earths.]
Just like its comic book namesake, Crisis began by casually destroying a few universes — including the universes of DC Universe’s Titans and the 1989 Batman film — but it ends with the death of Oliver Queen, the Arrowverse’s first lead superhero, the Green Arrow.
Yes, really, he dies; summoned to Supergirl’s world of Earth-38 along with his time displaced daughter Mia, Oliver and various Earth-1 heroes band together to fight off a horde of shadow demons as Supergirl’s team works to evacuate everyone on the planet before a wave of antimatter hits and wipes out everyone.
Just as the Monitor declares everything a wash and proceeds with teleporting the heroes away, Oliver opts to stay and fight off the demons himself — with his bare fists once he runs out of arrows. Later, surrounded by his various friends and his daughter in his team’s lair, Oliver dies having helped save a billion lives with his one-man fight against the monsters.
“This is not the death I foretold,” the Monitor says moments after the Emerald Archer expires.
Oliver has died a multitude of times across the Arrowverse, but this one is more likely to stick. The latest season of Arrow has been all about Green Arrow helping the Monitor because he knows he’s slated to die during Crisis on Infinite Earths. That Oliver’s death occurred in the very first installment of the crossover — and in an episode of Supergirl, no less — was part of the point, according to executive producer Marc Guggenheim.
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Guggenheim admitted that they “spoiled their own story” with Arrow’s seventh season finale, when the Monitor showed up to recruit Oliver in the cosmic war and told the hero he would die. Killing him off in hour one was a way to help establish the stakes; “going into the next four hours, if Oliver Queen can die, then no one is safe.”
Over the course of Arrow’s eighth season, Oliver has gotten a chance to have closure with his loved ones, from his mother Moira and sister Mia to enemy-turned-ally Quentin Lance. He’s made peace with his death and gotten a chance to see that his kids will have a future as heroes. Before the fight against the shadow demons, he christens Mia as the new Green Arrow, complete with her own costume. This death is hinted to impact everyone differently for the remainder of the crossover, with some trying to find a way to reverse it and others wholly accepting of their friend’s end. It wouldn’t be the first time anyone in this universe has tried to undo someone’s death.
The Oliver we know may be gone, but there’s an extra wrinkle to all of this. Stephen Amell rather casually revealed back in July that he would be playing different versions of Oliver for Crisis. In this first hour, we meet one of these alternate versions: a more grizzled Green Arrow from Earth-16 in the year 2046. Different Olivers are sure to pop up for the remainder of the crossover and mess with the surviving characters emotionally when they all cross paths. So, Amell is listed as a guest star in The Flash’s episode tomorrow night, but we don’t necessarily know who he’s playing.
It’s also not clear what Oliver’s death means for his own show’s contribution to the crossover, which will air in January. All that’s currently known is it’ll serve as an origin story for both the Monitor and his brother, the Anti-Monitor, which was briefly teased in Arrow recently. There’ll no doubt be an Oliver who shows up, but it probably won’t be our Oliver, unless something even stranger happens.
Crisis on Infinite Earths continues tonight with Batwoman’s episode.
Justin is a Kansas City, Missouri freelance writer and is on Twitter often, @GigawattConduit. He also is an avid lover of M&M McFlurries from McDonald’s, and accepts that he has an addiction to them.