The CW’s 2021 Arrowverse crossover, which was already significantly scaled down after the massive impact of “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” will now be cancelled entirely. The crossover, which was to take place between Batwoman and Superman & Lois, will no longer take place as a result of challenges to the filming process that have happened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Crossing over would have been difficult given the heightened safety protocols of the pandemic — you’d be bringing new people into the production, and likely for just a week. There’s also the risk that if someone tested positive for COVID-19 while an actor was on another show’s set, it could shut down production of two shows instead of one while the quarantine period elapsed.
Producers and incoming star Javicia Leslie are, understandably, disappointed by the impact of the changes. Both Black Lightning and Supergirl are ending this season, meaning that those characters are unlikely ever to met Leslie’s Ryan Wilder, the heir to the Batwoman cowl following the departure of Kate Kane (Ruby Rose).
“I’m so heartbroken about the COVID situation because I know that it’s Black Lightning‘s last season, and I would have loved to do a crossover with them,” Leslie told TVLine. “Nafessa [Williams] and Jordan [Calloway] are really good friends of mine, and it would have been great to play with them and be superheroes all on the same show. That would have been epic.”
She added that she would like to do a “super Black” crossover when it’s possible to do. While Black Lightning is ending this season, the network is setting up a backdoor pilot for a potential Painkiller series starring Calloway.
The annual Arrowverse crossover events bring together the heroes from two or more (and usually all) of the DC comics adaptations on the network. They tend to be the network’s biggest ratings boon of the year — but they can also be incredibly difficult to pull off. Long production days and complicated scheduling shifts tend to leave the cast and crew exhausted, and the size and scope of a major crosover event makes it effectively impossible for the season finales to top.
Add to that the loss of Marc Guggenheim, co-creator of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Arrow, and showrunner of the crossover events, and you have a recipe for a crossover this year that would have been incredibly difficult to effectively manage even before the COVID variables came into the conversation.
The loss of Kate Kane and Ruby Rose, also, complicated the crossover idea somewhat. Supergirl had forged a bond with Kate, making the duo an obvious fulcrum point for crossover stories. With the lack of that relationship, and no guarantee that the onscreen chemistry between Kara Zor-El and Ryan Wilder would read the same way, writers would have had to spend time in an already-abbreviated crossover reiterating information the audience already knows about Ryan’s backstory and the disappearance of Kate.