The Flash and Arrow are two very different shows; this difference was never more apparent than last year when Oliver Queen’s trip to Central City – as well as Barry Allen’s subsequent visit to Star(ling) City – played out like standalone adventures. However, times have changed, these heroes are no longer strangers to each others' worlds, and with that, the upcoming Flash and Arrow crossover event will play out significantly differently.

According to Green Arrow himself, Stephen Amell, the upcoming team-up between Oliver Queen and Barry Allen will not play out as two distinct storylines, as it has in the past. Amell recently told TVLine:
It’s not the case this year. If you put them back-to-back on one night, they would run like one two-hour episode of television.

Last year’s crossover event between The CW’s The Flash and Arrow felt very much like an origin story for the network’s future events. The Flash and Arrow introduced each other to their respective worlds, complete with the tonal inconsistencies and humorous fish-out-of-water moments one would expect from seeing Barry Allen in Star City, or Oliver Queen in Central City.

The last year has seen an overall increase in the cohesion of The CW’s DC universe, so these characters now have much more freedom to interact with each other’s worlds in logical ways. Oliver Queen can show up to help Barry face off against any enemy, or Cisco can outfit Team Arrow with new gear and weapons without anyone batting an eyelash. These days it is not necessarily an uncommon sight to witness someone from Team Arrow or Team Flash show up on the CW sister programs, so the network as a whole has begun to think bigger with regards to how they handle this universe.

An increased ability to tell one long story inhabited by multiple heroes is an important trait that The CW needs to nail now more than ever. The crossover event will also introduce the overarching Legends of Tomorrow threat – immortal villain Vandal Savage – as well as Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Because of this, it likely requires the running time of two full episodes to lay all of that groundwork without feeling rushed or forced. With Legends coming in 2016, the network also needs to prove that it can balance an enormous roster of heroes – both iconic and original – without ever feeling overcrowded.

The crossover event between The Flash and Arrow will commence in Barry Allen’s timeslot on Tuesday, December 1 at 8 p.m. ET in an episode titled “Legends of Today.” On the following night, the action will continue on Arrow with “Legends of Yesterday” and will lay the necessary groundwork for Legends of Tomorrow to premiere at the midseason mark in 2016. Here's what we know about that upcoming series so far.

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