Crossover clash: Two popular superheroes collide in an epic showdown

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Cassie Dresch / TV Media
Stephen Amell stars in “Arrow”

Stephen Amell stars in “Arrow”

Everything is coming up green and red this time of year with Christmas right around the corner. For CW, however, there's a very flashy, pointed kind of green and red racing onto TV screens.

In one of the most highly anticipated moves this season, two superheroes collide on the small screen in a two-hour showdown for the ages. The hit dark drama "Arrow" and its new, lighter spinoff "The Flash" come together for a special two-night crossover event that is sure to intrigue and excite even the most passive superhero fans. Catch the first crossover episode when "The Flash" airs Tuesday, Dec. 2, and the conclusion on "Arrow" airing Wednesday, Dec. 3, both on CW.

Fans of both shows know that this won't be the first time Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell, "Private Practice") and Barry Allen (Grant Gustin, "Glee") have crossed paths. Since both series are set in the same universe, Barry actually made a quick stopover in season 2 of "Arrow" a year ago, almost to the day. The Central City CSI ventured to Starling City to help Oliver and his team look for a masked thief with superhuman strength. The episode was originally supposed to serve as a backdoor pilot for "The Flash," but it was so well-received that network execs ordered a full pilot.

The "Arrow" crew has also briefly made appearances in its Central City spinoff. In the pilot episode of "The Flash," Barry visits Oliver in Starling City, where they share a moment as protectors of their respective cities. Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards, "Soldiers of the Apocalypse"), with whom Barry shared a bit of a romantic connection in "Arrow," swings by Central City to check on the speedster after she learns he woke up from his coma.

These sojourns have been great little tastes of both worlds for viewers, and it only made sense to intertwine the characters since they are in the same DC Comics universe. It was pleasing to see them interact on a small scale, but this crossover event promises to be bigger and better, according to "Arrow" executive producer Marc Guggenheim.

"It's so freakin' awesome! It really is," he told "I keep telling everyone that we should try for Avengers. It's these two heroes together with a big production value. We're blowing out the doors on this."

It won't be all fanfare and fireworks for the episodes, and it won't be just a mashing together of characters to get all of the big names together all at once. Each crossover episode -- "The Flash's" chapter titled "Flash vs. Arrow" with "Arrow's" chapter titled "The Brave and the Bold" -- will still work on character development for both shows and will even feature a huge shocker for one green arrow-slinging crusader.

"We have one of the biggest surprises on 'Arrow' of all time on 'The Flash' episode, and both episodes are really important for Barry’s growth," Andrew Kreisberg, executive producer for both superhero dramas, said to

Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin as seen in “Arrow”

Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin as seen in “Arrow”

Of course, there's always the worry that "Arrow" might lose its edginess and darkness or "The Flash" will forgo its lightheartedness and general dorkiness in a crossover event like this. Kreisberg ensures us, however, that the very distinct vibes that both "Arrow" and "The Flash" are known for will still be very prevalent in their respective episodes.

"When we were working on the script, we realized that the best part of 'The Flash' episode was this meta commentary on how serious everyone is in 'Arrow,' and so there’s a lot of jokes at Oliver’s expense in 'The Flash' side of it," he said. "But then what was fun was when we went to do the 'Arrow' side of it, it became the reverse, where Barry and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker, "Shark") and Cisco (Carlos Valdes, "Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier") … all have to face 'Oh wow, what you guys do is serious.' So they're sort of playing at a different level."

It's truly exciting to see two popular heavyweight superhero series go head to head. It's really no surprise that this has come now, either, since both "Arrow" and "The Flash" have been ratings hogs for CW. When "Arrow" first premiered in 2012, it became CW's most-watched series premiere since 2009 and averaged 3.68 million U.S. viewers over 23 episodes. "The Flash" premiered in October to 4.83 million viewers in the U.S., taking over the title of most-watched series premiere since 2009 and making it CW's second-most-watched series premiere ever.

Now, fans of "Arrow" and fans of "The Flash" can sit back and get ready as two superheroes collide for a small-screen showdown that is shaping up to be a flashy and pointed affair. "It's really going to be an adventure with the Arrow and Flash on both episodes. Watching the two teams come together and fight alongside each other, it’s one of the most fun parts,” Kreisberg said in an interview with "Entertainment Weekly."

Catch the two-night crossover event when "The Flash" airs Tuesday, Dec. 2, and "Arrow" airs Wednesday, Dec. 3, both on CW.