By Danielle Turchiano
Even before “The Flash” and “Arrow” premiered this fall television season, fans -- oh, okay, and MTV News as well -- were already buzzing about the sure-to-be epic crossover event between The CW superhero dramas.
Now those episodes are finally upon us, with “Flash vs. Arrow” airing on Tuesday (December 2) and “The Brave and the Bold” airing on Wednesday (December 3), and MTV News caught up with the producers and stars of both shows to get the scoop on what to expect.
Here are some key secrets that were spilled:
1. It's Barry Vs. Oliver.
Though the last time he saw Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), he was something of a mentor to young Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), they later each went their separate ways to take down the bad guys in their cities the way they best saw fit. Needless to say, they each have tactics and strategies that the other doesn’t necessarily agree with, and that conflict comes into play pretty much from the jump in the crossover. However, it truly comes to a head in the “Flash Vs. Arrow” hour, and the two vigilantes actually turn their skills on each other.
“The whole reason that this fight begins between Barry and Oliver has to do with the fact that Barry is manipulated by a metahuman, and somebody gets in his head, I guess you could say," Gustin said. "He’s vulnerable in this episode to begin with because I think he’s essentially a different person; he’s kind of lost his mind a little bit."
And Amell was quick to add that Oliver’s motivations in the fight are not ones of anger or animosity towards Barry (though the same can’t be said for the other way around).
“It’s more about ‘Barry’s out of control and we need to keep him away from people he can do some real damage against,'" he said.
2. Felicity’s stuck in the middle.
Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) is stuck in the middle between Barry and Oliver when they aren’t seeing eye-to-eye, because she has a special bond and understanding with each of them.
“She becomes the middle man... she becomes the person that needs to get them to understand each other and work together," Rickards said. “They both have different views on how to take on this world that they are all trying to help and live in... and I think she does really have to be that person [but] that is her strength -- understanding. And then she kind of gets to play chess with personalities. She is in the middle a little bit, because I don’t think she totally agrees with either side."
However, Felicity also gets put in a precarious position when Wells (Tom Cavanaugh) wants her to reveal The Arrow’s true identity. He doesn’t trust The Arrow or his methods, considering how many bodies he’s dropped and how many terrorist attacks sprung up in Starling City since he started his work, but will Felicity know Wells can’t be trusted either!?
3. Stepping into new shoes offers new perspective.
With characters like Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity heading to Central City and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) journeying to Starling City, there are plenty of opportunities to see how the other side lives, so to speak, and even to walk a bit in their shoes. The world of “Arrow” can be quite dark and more often than not, deadly, while “The Flash” is a bit lighter, with much more fantastical elements. These characters have very specific reactions to their new environments, which provide moments of growth all around.
“I don’t think Caitlin and Cisco know what they’re in for when they first go over to Starling City; they think it’s just going to be an adventure," Panabaker said. "And when they get down into the lair and [are] seeing the reality of what’s going on and having to be faced with a life or death situation, it’s really a challenge for them."
Valdes noted that for Cisco, specifically, “he deals a lot with learning what it takes to be responsible and what responsibility means, and what it takes to be a hero. There are a lot of conflicts and issues that he comes into conflict with.”
4. Diggle’s expanding world view and family drama take center stage.
Ramsey says that “Diggle gets to be a little bit silly” in the crossover, in a way that is “mostly reactionary to the metahuman aspect he encounters.” But let’s face it, that kind of levity can’t last for long, considering Digger Harkness is coming for Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) due to an A.R.G.U.S. connection.
“There’s some fundamental problems that Diggle just has with how she approaches justice philosophically," Ramsey explained. "So not only will we address that, but we’ll also address the fact that she places herself in mortal danger. Diggle has to adjust to the fact that his world is now changed [as a dad but also with metahumans]. What does that do to his world? We’re going to connect him making a decision [and] him embracing that world in a very real way that hits very, very close to home... I can’t really give it away completely, but he will embrace the world that he now found himself in."
5. Barry AND Oliver are (still) the good guys.
Yes, yes, we just spent quite a few words talking about the tension between the two heroes, but at the end of the day, they are both fighting on the side of good, so despite their differences, they’re going to inspire each other.
“Barry’s certainly learned a lesson on his side of things," “Arrow” and “The Flash” executive producer Andrew Kreisberg said. "Oliver’s point is, to him, is he really needs to take things more seriously, and I think he starts to do that, and Barry really speaks to Oliver’s arc for the year. Oliver’s been saying ‘I need to be The Arrow more than I need to be Oliver Queen,’ and Barry is reminding him that humanity is really important [and] he does still have it."
6. It's not just a stunt for sweeps!
The crossover episodes are something that both Kreisberg and “Arrow” executive producer Marc Guggenheim found extremely cool, because they are throwbacks in a way to earlier days of comic crossovers. But it’s not something either show is doing as a gimmick or desperate ratings ploy, nor will the episodes be complete stand-alones that take you out of the narrative of each individual world. Instead, the focus is on strengthening the worlds by throwing fish out of water into each one and having everyone learn something. And for “Arrow,” specifically, the importance will be felt all season long.
“Oliver’s really dealing with this issue of identity that we’ve always said is the theme of season three, [and] the crossover episode really has a big pivot point for him in terms of that season long arc of identity,” Guggenheim said. "The end of season three; that will really resonate with people who have watched this particular episode. There’s a very clear line between the season premiere, this episode, and the season finale.”
7. Superpowers are great, but it’s Barry’s heart that matters most.
From the moment Barry awoke from his coma and realized he had new abilities, he has seen them as a positive thing. He is a positive person, and that certainly comes into play with how he takes on new challenges and new dangers. He may be a metahuman, but he is still human. Therefore he is still vulnerable -- and to things much deeper than guns.
“There are a lot of conflicts in the episode that are related to the heart that only [Barry] can solve for himself," Valdes teased. "I think Cisco does his best to help with gadgetry to try to take on the task at hand, but there are also a lot of problems that are difficult and can’t be fixed by a simple technological application."
8. The Canary isn’t forgotten amidst these cases of the week.
Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity have their hands full tracking Digger Harkness (Nick Tarabay) to Central City and then helping Barry take down Roy G. Bivolo (Paul Anthony), but Sara (Caity Lotz) is still in their hearts. In fact, a major step toward finding out just who killed her takes place in these episodes, which Guggenheim said was key for the rest of “Arrow’s” season.
“This episode leads into our mid-season finale, and the mid-season finale super charges the whole season and shoots us off into 2015 with a different kind of focus,” he said.
9. Surprise, surprise, surprise!
Kreisberg may have said that they have “one of the biggest secrets on 'Arrow' happen on 'The Flash' side of these episodes,” but he may have been selling his shows a bit short with that one. There are actually THREE secrets that are all in play in the first hour of this crossover event, and they deal with life, death, and identity -- you know, just little things that will carry through and affect the characters for the rest of the season, and probably beyond as well.
Plus, there’s something pretty big (and great) for “The Flash” fans, too -- and true to form, it’s in the episode tag, so be sure not to miss it!