Bat­woman, al­tered states, body swaps for su­per­heroes

CW goes crossover-crazy in three-part ‘Else­worlds’

USA TODAY US Edition - - LIFE - Brian Truitt USA TO­DAY

In pre­vi­ous an­nual crossover episodes, CW’s res­i­dent su­per­heroes have tus­sled with in­vad­ing aliens and evil Nazi dop­pel­gangers. This year, they’re go­ing full “Freaky Fri­day.”

The three-part “Else­worlds” sto­ry­line – kick­ing off on Sun­day’s “The Flash” (8 EST/PST) and con­tin­u­ing on Mon­day’s “Ar­row” (8 EST/PST) and Tues­day’s “Su­per­girl” (8 EST/PST) – body-swaps two of the net­work’s cen­tral he­roes, Green Ar­row, aka Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and the Flash, aka Barry Allen (Grant Gustin). Af­ter they mys­te­ri­ously wake up one day liv­ing the other’s life and bran­dish­ing the other’s skills, the two guys reach out to their pow­er­ful pal Su­per­girl (Melissa Benoist), meet her iconic cousin Su­per­man (Tyler Hoech­lin) and head to Gotham City on their path to set­ting things right in these al­tered worlds.

Bat­man’s not in town, but Bat­woman is: Ruby Rose makes her de­but as Gotham’s fe­male Caped Cru­sader be­fore get­ting her own po­ten­tial series next year on CW. (The first crossover sim­i­larly spun “The Flash” out of “Ar­row.”)

Af­ter seven years on “Ar­row,” pro­duc­ers gave the DC bunch free rein, essen­tially telling them “You can have what­ever you want,” Amell says. “Which I don’t think has ever hap­pened be­fore. Bot­tom line, this was the most fun that I’ve ever had, prob­a­bly by de­sign.”

Cast and cre­ators break down what those hero lovers can ex­pect from “Else­worlds”:

Oliver and Barry walk a mile in each other’s su­per-shoes

The he­roes share a mu­tual re­spect, but to get out of their predica­ment, they also have to un­der­stand each other, says ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Marc Guggen­heim. “To use their new pow­ers and skills, they ba­si­cally have to chan­nel the other’s per­son­al­ity.” And Su­per­girl acts as a me­di­a­tor “to po­lice the two boys,” Benoist says. “It’s not al­ways peachy be­tween them.”

Gustin re­ally loved be­ing Green Ar­row

Not only did he feel like an emer­ald-tinged war­rior, but “it was also pretty cozy com­pared to the Flash suit. It’s got a hoodie, which is awe­some,” says Gustin, un­ac­cus­tomed to a quiver on his back: “I would get caught in door­ways.” He says he got a 30-minute les­son in archery to per­fect his form and he shot only com­puter-an­i­mated ar­rows. “I don’t think Stephen shoots real ar­rows ei­ther, to be hon­est. When he sees that quote, he’ll be like, ‘Nope, there has been this time and this time ... ’ ”

Bat­woman is a lady of mul­ti­ple per­sonas

Like her cousin Bruce Wayne, Rose’s masked Gotham City hero­ine is an enigma of the night who’s fierce, uses a lot of gad­gets and can kick se­ri­ous pos­te­rior, says Caro­line Dries, who wrote Bat­woman’s in­tro­duc­tory episode and is head­ing the new show. The vig­i­lante’s al­ter ego, Kate Kane, “is much more elu­sive and mys­te­ri­ous.” While she isn’t in­ter­ested in hav­ing a new bunch of su­per­friends, Kate shares a warm mo­ment with Su­per­girl: “They’re both cousins of very fa­mous he­roes, and Kara sees a lot of her­self in Kate,” says Benoist.

New towns have old con­nec­tions

The “Ar­row­verse” vis­its Smal­lville for the first time, res­ur­rect­ing the ranch in Van­cou­ver from the old WB series. “It was so pic­turesque and very Amer­i­cana and it felt so Su­per­man,” Benoist says. And to repli­cate Gotham, the shows filmed in Chicago – the same set­ting Christo­pher Nolan em­ployed for his “Dark Knight” tril­ogy. “We’re re­ally es­tab­lish­ing this sort of dead city,” Dries says, “the idea that some­thing ter­ri­ble has hap­pened in the wake of Bat­man’s ab­sence and it’s been over­run with crime and de­spair.”

Green Ar­row, meet Su­per­man

Be­ing in­tro­duced to the Man of Steel “is one of the fun­ni­est in­ter­ac­tions in the crossover for me,” Amell says. “Oliver has no prob­lems with nor is he in­tim­i­dated by Su­per­man.” But Su­per­man faces an in­tim­i­dat­ing op­po­nent in the black-suited Dark Su­per­man (Hoech­lin) dur­ing the crossover. Adds Benoist: “It’s un­nerv­ing to see some­one in that suit, wear­ing that (shield), do­ing the things that he was do­ing.”

The crossover has last­ing con­se­quences

Un­like the pre­vi­ous multi-episode af­fairs, “Else­worlds” af­fects the char­ac­ters of each show go­ing for­ward, and Benoist re­veals it will carry into the 2019 crossover. Amell says it’s lead­ing some­where, “and if you’re a big comic-book fan, you’ll be able to at least the­o­rize about where that could be.” Guggen­heim ad­vises view­ers to pay at­ten­tion to the last line of di­a­logue: “We drop the ham­mer and it’s re­ally cool.”

KATIE YU/CW

Barry Allen (Grant Gustin, left) and Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) swap bod­ies, abil­i­ties and heroic per­sonas in Sun­day’s episode of CW’s “The Flash,” kick­ing off a three-night crossover.

PARRISH LEWIS/CW

Ruby Rose makes her de­but as Bat­woman as part of CW’s “Else­worlds” crossover.

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