The CW’s DC crossovers are always filled with fun, and often incredibly absurd surprises. They are, after all, about a smorgasbord of attractive actors in various heaps of pleather punching extradimensional beings, aliens, nazis, and sometimes even extradimensional alien nazis. But Crisis on Infinite Earths perhaps had the wildest crossover yet—and it nearly didn’t happen.
Although the final two hours of Crisis were light on the gleeful cameos of its first three episodes, it made up for the lack of quantity with a moment that absolutely no one ever thought would actually happen. Racing through the Speedforce after the Anti-Monitor attacked him, the Spectre (who, long story short, was now Oliver Queen) and his allies in the Paragons, Barry Allen finds himself back in what looks like STAR Labs.
And there’s another Flash waiting for him. Not just anyone, either: the Barry Allen of the DC Cinematic Universe, as played by Ezra Miller in Justice League, is staring right back at him. The multiverse lives, film and TV are one, and yes, for a very brief moment in and among all the nonsense of it all, the world of superhero comic books and their adaptations remind us that they are very good. But it turns out that it was a moment that actually nearly didn’t happen. In fact, it didn’t even come together until Crisis on Infinite Earths was actually wrapped and essentially complete.
“We were series wrapped on Arrow, and we were wrapped on the whole crossover. We were in post and some episodes were locked, and some were soft-locked,” executive producer Marc Guggenheim told Variety. “I got a phone call from [Warner Bros. boss] Peter Roth saying, “I know you’re locked, but can you put Ezra into the crossover?” And I said, “Yes.” And he said, “How, you’re series wrapped? And you’re wrapped on the crossover.” And I said, “Yeah, I know, but if you’re telling me Ezra Miller can be in the crossover, I can make it happen.”
From that initial acceptance, Guggenheim had to turn to two other important figures before Miller’s scene could be worked into Crisis—The Flash showrunner Eric Wallace, who then in turn contacted, well, The Flash: Grant Gustin himself. “The one thing that was our only concern was the thought we didn’t want to do it unless Grant was 100 per cent onboard with it,” Guggenheim continued. “And he was. He was incredibly enthusiastic and onboard with it.”
From there, the team hastily pitched the brief scene to Miller, who then managed to get to The Flash’s production studio without any paparazzi apparently paying attention to him. With just the crew of the show in on the secret, it was, spectacularly, not until Crisis aired that most people involved with the crossover at large got to learn of the scene. Posting a comment on Gustin’s instagram of a picture he shared after the crossover, Supergirl’s Melissa Benoist expressed her own shock at Miller’s cameo: “YOU KEPT THIS SECRET SO WELL,” the actress shriek-typed. “NONE of us knew!!!! Or did they know?! Was I the only one that didn’t know?!”
As surprising as it is that, after years of waiting, we finally got to see TV’s Flash team up with the Movieverse’s scarlet speedster, it’s kind of incredible that it wasn’t actually planned to have happened in the first place. Thank the Speedforce it did though.