Next month, what is probably the most earth-shaking – or perhaps “earths-shaking” – event to happen between all the DC superhero TV series on The CW will finally play out after what may be literally years of hype and foreshadowing. “Crisis on Infinite Earths” will see the main heroes that collectively make up the “Arrow” verse preparing to face an existential threat against all parallel worlds. It will also feature guest appearances from stars that have portrayed DC heroes in film and TV in the past, either as straight reprisals or thematic variants. Burt Ward from the 1969 “Batman” series and Tom Welling from “Smallville” (2001-11) are just a few of these.
Also included is Kevin Conroy, the iconic primary voice actor for Batman since 1992’s animated series. His reprisal of the Dark Knight for The CW’s “Crisis” was not much in doubt, but the question is what variant of Batman he could play in live-action considering his age (68). Initial teases hinted that he might play the aged Bruce Wayne of the distant-future “B:TAS” sequel “Batman Beyond.” But Comic Book Resources now reveals that he might instead portray an elderly retired Dark Knight from a famous DC Comics miniseries, “Kingdom Come.”
This was discerned when The CW released its first promotional image of Conroy in character for his appearance on “Crisis in Infinite Earths.” The photo shows the actor dressed in a business suit over which is strapped a mechanical exoskeleton. This is similar to the setup that an aged and physically battered Bruce Wayne wears in the “Kingdom Come” DC mini from 1996. It also establishes the possibility that Conroy’s character exists in the same in-universe parallel earth as the Clark Kent/Superman portrayed by Brandon Routh. Though it was hinted that his character takes off from his sole movie outing in “Superman Returns” Routh’s costume, complete with red-and-black S-shield, is from “Kingdom Come” as well.
Kevin Conroy has been a shoo-in for showing up in The CW’s latest crisis since as early as last August. That left plenty of time for speculation to grow as to how his Batman role will be interpreted. DC’s “Kingdom Come” miniseries took place in a world where the rise of ultraviolent super-villains and vigilantes to fight them leads to disillusionment from the classic heroes such as Superman and Batman, who take opposite approaches to solving the problem before things can go out of control.
The “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover event between The CW’s superhero shows will start on December 8 at “Supergirl” season 5 – episode 9. This storyline is notable as it will be the last crossover with the franchise-originating series “Arrow” involved, as their current eighth season will be its last. Said show’s “Crisis” episode will be the eighth in broadcast order.
Image courtesy of Comic Book.com