During San Diego Comic-Con, the CW's upcoming animated series Freedom Fighters: The Ray gave us our very first look at the Arrowverse's Earth-X. The series was supposed to have premiered a few months back, but then something kind of big got in the way: the CW's Crisis On Earth-X crossover.
In an interview with CBR, The Ray's executive producer Marc Guggenheim explained that when production began on the CW Seed web series, it wasn't initially planned to be a direct prequel to Crisis On Earth-X. While the CW has brought other characters (namely, Vixen) into its live-action shows after debuting them in animation, Guggenheim said The Ray's production team didn't know it would happen to the character so quickly.
What ultimately slowed The Ray's production down, Guggenheim continued, was Russell Tovey's casting. Though they were rather far along in the production process for the show, The Ray's creators thought it was worth it to redesign the character to more closely resemble his live-action actor and to actually get Tovey in the studio to voice him:
There was just no way to turn those kind of changes around and release it before the crossover. It was just more important to have Russell's voice in the series than it was to get it out early, so that's why you've seen the crossover before you've seen the animated series, even though the animated series does take place before the crossover. Complicated enough?
Because Overgirl and the Dark Archer are still alive during The Ray, Guggenheim said, the series is technically a prequel to Crisis On Earth-X, but there will be a couple of noticeable continuity issues. He wouldn't elaborate what those issues were exactly, but added that there are plans to further explore the Ray's story in a comic book tie-in that would address the inconsistencies.