DC TV fans are likely approaching the next major crossover event, 'Crisis on Infinite Earths', with a mixture of excitement and trepidation.
On the one hand, 'Crisis' promises to be a true TV spectacular, uniting five shows – Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and Batwoman – and featuring characters from even more DC movies and television shows, including Tom Welling's Smallville version of Clark Kent and Brandon Routh's Superman Returns model of the Man of Steel.
But the flipside of the coin is that the event is expected to kill off a number of beloved characters, much as the original comic book mini-series – published from April 1985 to March 1986 – did.
The question all DC fans are asking is... who will survive 'Crisis' and what will be left of the multiverse when it's over?
Who dies in the Crisis on Infinite Earths comic?
The comic book version of 'Crisis' was DC's attempt to streamline its fictional universe, which by the mid '80s had got bogged down with the existence of many, many different parallel Earths.
By the end of the mini-series, the 'multiverse' was collapsed into one single universe, effectively rebooting DC's entire output.
Hundreds of characters died or were erased from existence as a result, but the two most significant casualties were Supergirl and The Flash.
Though both characters were eventually resurrected in one form or another – we are talking comic book 'deaths' after all – Supergirl was killed in a battle with the Anti-Monitor, the villain in 'Crisis' looking to destroy the Multiverse, while The Flash/Barry Allen perished thwarting the Anti-Monitor's plan to destroy Earth with an anti-matter cannon.
Who will die in Crisis on Infinite Earths on The CW?
So should we expect the TV adaptation of 'Crisis' to follow suit and kill off the Arrowverse versions of Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) and The Flash (Grant Gustin)? Not necessarily...
LaMonica Garrett, who plays the villainous Anti-Monitor (and his less sinister counterpart The Monitor) on television, told RadioTimes.com that certain aspects of 'Crisis' will be changed for the screen.
“Like, a lot of things you can take from the comic book, but it’s hard to adapt everything that was in the Crisis comic book to television," Garrett said. "So they adapted a lot and what they couldn’t do, they did a tremendous job with the story and filling in the gaps with what wasn’t on the page."
It has been hinted since the very first episode of The Flash that Barry Allen will 'vanish' in an upcoming 'crisis' – the timey-wimey nature of that show making such foreshadowing possible. But to simply follow through on that forecast might now feel like an anti-climax...
Fans should instead be worried for the Green Arrow, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) – in the last of these multi-show crossovers, 'Elseworlds', Oliver made a deal with the all-powerful Monitor to save the lives of Supergirl and The Flash, in what was surely a tip of the hat to their fates in the comic book version of 'Crisis'.
The Monitor agreed, for a price... which was later revealed to be Oliver's own life. Arrow's season seven finale saw the Monitor confirm that Oliver would die in the upcoming 'crisis', with his sacrifice saving the multiverse.
Like Barry's disappearance, you could argue that Oliver dying is now too obvious a path for 'Crisis on Infinite Earths' to take. But there's one other factor to take into account here...
Arrow is ending for good at the conclusion of its current eighth season, which means that Oliver could very much die during 'Crisis'. The show still has two episodes airing post-'Crisis' but the first of these is a 'backdoor pilot' for a spin-off show set in the far future, so needn't feature Oliver at all, and as for the series finale... could it somehow have Oliver appear after his death, on some other plane of existence?
It's certainly more probable than either Supergirl or The Flash continuing without their title characters, or for either show to come to a sudden and shocking end with zero notice.
No, our money's on Oliver Queen taking his last bow in 'Crisis on Infinite Earths' – RIP Green Arrow, you did not fail this multiverse.
In the US, Crisis on Infinite Earths will air on The CW, beginning with Supergirl (Sunday, 8th December) and continuing on Batwoman (Monday, 9th December) and The Flash (Tuesday, 10th December). The crossover will conclude after a midseason break, with episodes of Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow (both Tuesday, 14th January).
The crossover – minus Batwoman – will air on Sky One in the UK at a later date.