DC is taking the small screen by storm, with the success of the CW shows Arrow and The Flash, Fox's Gotham, and now CBS' Supergirl. And with rumours that Smallville star Tom Welling may reprise his role as Superman in The Flash season 2, could we be facing an epic crossover event that will neatly tie DC's expansive universes together?
Crossover: Awesome or Confusing?
Fans were delighted to hear that Welling might appear in season 2 of The Flash when it was first reported. But their delight was not without questions. For those of you who don't remember (and it was a few years ago), Smallville had its own Flash, Bart Allen, who teamed up with Clark and Oliver Queen on several occasions to help save the day.
Also, Smallville has its own carefully built explanation for super powered people: they are "meteor freaks", those who were affected by the shower of kryptonite-laced meteors that heralded Clark's arrival on Earth. The Flash, in contrast, has a very different meta human plot. Not to mention that back when Arrow premiered, it was confirmed by the writers that this was a different Oliver Queen to the one we saw in Smallville.
Executive producer Andrew Kreisberg has also revealed what his contract restrictions mean for Superman (and Batman)...
"There are things we can do, and there are things we can't. There are cities we can use, and then there's everything else. You won't be hearing Gotham or Metropolis on the show anytime soon."
While there have been allusions to the Caped Crusader in The Flash season 1 (a newspaper report on"Wayne Tech"), this was reportedly just "a tease" and tongue-in-cheek reference by the writers.
But wait a minute, wasn't Superman mentioned in the Supergirl trailer?
Supergirl, which premieres later this year, follows Kara Zor-El as she takes up the hero's mantle and saves the day. The trailer begins by mentioning her cousin Superman, and characters refer to him throughout. Jimmy Olson is also going to have a major role in the show, and his friendship with Clark Kent is definitely going to come in handy.
Many fans hoped that the events of Supergirl would occur in the same universe as The Flash and Arrow. Oliver Queen and Barry Allen occasionally visit each others shows, so why shouldn't Kara join the party?
This is a question that's already been posed to Greg Berlanti, writer and producer of The Flash and Arrow. And unfortunately, his answer wasn't hopeful for those wanting to see Kara kick back with Oliver and Barry...
“I would love to see a crossover. But the network [CBS] has said publicly at this point they’re going to keep Supergirl to themselves."
We may have to wait a long time before Kara flies over to Central City, and it definitely won't happen in time for season 2 of The Flash. Whether Tom Welling will portray Superman in Supergirl remains to be seen, but as the studio wants to keep Supergirl separate from the other DC shows (after all, Kara had her own plot in Smallville), it's more likely they'll cast someone new if the man of steel ever makes an appearance.
What about the movies? And Gotham?
DC has many, many irons in the fire. Unlike the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which stretches from cinema to tv and everything you see is in the same canon, DC is far more scattered. One of the reasons for this is that there are several different studios and networks in play, and they have different agreements with one another as to whether their characters can be referenced or used in another network's show. It's all very confusing.
The long and short of it is, we have four separate canons (five if you count Smallville), and crossovers are very unlikely. The CW is looking to expand their little corner of the universe though, so stay tuned for [DC's Legends of Tomorrow](tag:2937021) coming in 2016. You can watch the trailer here.
(Yes, that's ex-Superman Brandon Routh from 2006's Superman Returns. Just in case you weren't confused enough already.)
For the time being, we'll have to try and keep track of all the different universes and their separate stories, and hope for an epic crossover event some time in the future!