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"Whoa!" is a completely acceptable response after watching the first actual episodic moment introducing Arrow-verse fans to this year's giant "Elseworlds" crossover. Airing as Supergirl's last-minute tag, the crossover moment makes a big leap for John Wesley Shipp's return to this superhero universe. He's not reprising the role of Earth-3's speedster or merely nodding to his former TV glory, but is instead literally playing Earth-90's Barry Allen from the 1990 TV series. Check him out!
This will be the third different role that John Wesley Shipp will portray for The CW's The Flash, after first playing Henry Allen (in different timelines) and Earth-3 hero Jay Garrick. Now, the actor is back in the role that first put him on the DC Comics map, and the Earth-90 reveal represents a shift in the Arrow-verse's broad already broad Multiverse strokes. The crossover will presumably clarify how things work a little more in that respect, or maybe it won't.
Unfortunately, fans don't get to see how The Flash makes the jaunt from Earth-90 to Earth-1 to join the crossover proper. This version of the hero may have some kind of Vibe-esque device or ability that makes interdimensional transport available, though that wouldn't explain why The Monitor makes nary a move to kill him before his quick getaway. Maybe The Monitor's mission needs for Earth-90's Barry Allen to contact Team Flash on Earth-1 for whatever reason.
It appears that The Flash will be Earth-90's only contribution to the current "crisis" affecting the other familiar heroes' worlds. As seen before John Wesley Shipp's face is revealed, whatever cosmic forces destroyed this planet also took out a bunch of Earth-90's superheroes, both those with meta abilities and those without. (It feels like this should be related to The Flash's newspaper from the future, but probably isn't.)
We see quite a few different bodies strewn about that already have established Earth-1 counterparts, such as Stargirl, Captain Cold, The Ray and more. And that's a much brighter and comic-friendly Green Arrow costume on Earth-90's late Emerald Archer. Maybe Shipp's Barry will give Earth-1's Oliver-as-Barry some fashion tips about his green-hued colleague.
It's obviously also worth noting that this teaser tag is also the first time viewers get to see LaMonica Garrett's The Monitor in this universe. (Check out what we learned from the actor.) Though he doesn't even move around as much as Barry does while crawling along the ground, The Monitor still commands attention, standing tall and confident and healthy among a ton of corpses and a beaten-up lone survivor.
It's also the first that bulky crossover-centric book is seen, though from the trailers, we already know that The Monitor will be granting the mysterious tome to Gotham City's John Deegan, as played by Jeremy Davies. The book glows, but knowing all of its true powers is still just out of reach for viewers. Was it responsible for destroying that world and others, or is it only used after the destruction is already done? Does it tell the future, or make a desired future happen?
Perhaps the biggest question we should all have after watching that scene is, "Where is Earth-90's Flash going to live now, and will he have to initially borrow whatever clothes of Henry's that Barry held onto?" Also, "Does one ever get used to meeting fellow speedsters that look like one's father who wasn't a speedster?"
Those questions might not get answers during the "Elseworlds" crossover, but many more will. Find out what's happening when it kicks off on The CW with The Flash on Sunday, December 9, at 8:00 p.m. ET. Arrow and Supergirl's installments will air on Monday and Tuesday night, respectively. The dread of waiting for crossover heaven can be abated by taking note of all the other great fall TV shows and midseason TV projects that are on the say.