What do The CW’s Arrow and The Flash have in common (other than being superheroes)?
Fighting the same villains.
The CW hosted a screening of “The Flash VS. Arrow” and “The Brave and the Bold” two-episode crossover event at The Crest Theater in Westwood, Calif. Saturday evening bringing the superheroes together on-screen as full-fledged superheroes for the first time.
More than 400 people filled the theater including fans, press and the production crews for both shows. Guests were given a t-shirt with either a Team Arrow or S.T.A.R. Labs logo across the front as well as a poster from the event.
The event kicked off with Stephen Amell, who plays Oliver “Arrow” Queen, and Grant Gustin, Barry “The Flash” Allen, introducing the event. The full crossover episodes of The Flash and Arrow, which debut on The CW on December 2 and 3 respectively were screened.
After the screening, The CW hosted a Q & A between the fans and Amell, Gustin, David Ramsay (John Diggle), Emily Bett Rickards (Felicity Smoak), Danielle Panabaker (Caitlin Snow in The Flash), Carlos Valdes (Cisco Ramon), along with Executive Producers Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg.
After the Q & A, fans got a sneak peek of the trailers for the mid-season finales of both Arrow and The Flash. Here then is the extensive Q&A in full. Beware, there are a few spoilers, though any major spoilers from the crossover episodes have been removed.
Q: How soon in the development process on the spin off did you know that you wanted to do a crossover of The Flash versus Arrow?
Kreisberg: I think at the beginning of the season we definitely knew it was planned to kind of push into those episodes. In the original episodes, there was supposed to be this sort of passion about how much time and work this would take for this to be a little bit more. We were sort of leading up in both shows in a lot of those ways for the crossover.
Q: And where did the idea of this crossover come from?
Kreisberg: Since we’ve been doing these shows, I think our greatest joy about them is the universe of it all. When we went to talk about both seasons this year, we said we know it's typical for these shows to stand on their own, usually they don’t do crossovers until later but since these are born out of DC comics and in the comic books, the crossover elements are literally how the characters are born. So, we felt like we owed it to ourselves the fans and everyone to do this crossover.
Q: As comic book fans yourselves, when you were discussing this crossover, what elements had to go into it?
Berlanti: I think one of the biggest things was the argument that Diggle, Felicity, Cisco, and Caitlin have to have a stand in the fight. We're all fans and we’ve all sat around as kids and adults and asked who would win in fight, Superman or Batman? The idea that they would fight each other in one of these episodes was one of our earlier ideas and that the cast members would have that (competition) on camera was one of our earliest ideas.
Guggenheim: What I love about the crossover is that it gives you the best of both worlds. On Flash, you actually get to see Flash versus Arrow and on Arrow you see the two heroes team up. So these are things as a comic fan, you want to see them both get along and you want to see them fight and get along and work things out and you got a chance to do both.
Q:You had some pretty (big) fights between these two episodes. What was the preparation like for that?
Amell: It wasn’t that much different than the typical episode. I worked with the same stunt team because we essentially lent our stunt team to Flash and since then, they have created their own team. But the actual fight with Grant, which we shot over three nights that was a different experience because of the special effects element, I think it turned out great.
Q: How much were you actually fighting and how much were you fighting with the air?
Amell: I fought the air a little bit.
Gustin: But he kicked the air’s ass.
Q: This episode also had a lot of hearts aching when Olver says Iris and Barry don’t have a chance. Do you think Barry still has some hope?
Gustin: Yeah absolutely. I keep saying that Barry doesn’t actually have love very high on his priority list right now, as much as he may think about Iris. Making that happen isn’t necessarily the most important thing right now, He’ll always love her and I don’t think just because he’ll take advice from Arrow but may not follow through it. She’s still an important part of his life and that’s not going to change anything.
Q: Their relationship is a little tenuous at the end of this episode with The Flash and Iris so what’s the solution to that and can you tease what’s coming up?
Gustin: Barry is going to be honest in the near future about some things. I won’t say what that is exactly.
Q: It’s not often that you guys get to work with other females in S.T.A.R. labs, or what are we calling it, the Arrow Cave? Was that fun for you guys?
Rickards: It was great for us.
Panabaker: I think for both characters it was nice to have another intelligent woman and someone who knew what she was dealing with.
Q: A lot of times you are both protecting these great men. How was that and do they both have feelings for these men?
Rickards: So many feelings
Q: After developments in the episodes, will get to see a bit of a softer side form Diggle?
Ramsay: Ummm, that was the softer side. The stakes are high and Diggle is working in the field, is much more engaged a lot more fights and he has a potential wife and daughter at home. I don’t know if it’ll be softer. He has a lot more responsibilities.
Q: It’s very apparent in this episode that The Flash team is jovial but how do you think seeing the darker side of being a superhero team will affect Team Flash as we move forward?
Valdes: I think in the screening just now, I think one of the most fascinating things when members of one team go to another team, the tone starts to affect them. When Barry, Caitlin and Cisco go to another city, it becomes very clear to them that they have not been taking this as seriously as they could and they sort of grapple with the states of this situation and so that’s kind of something that affects their growth.
Kreisberg: One of the most important parts for me was to see the actors cross over to other shows… It shows how lucky we are to have such amazing actors on the shows and what superstars they are. So just because show is spin off , it’s a whole other show. They totally owned it
Q: And also (in The Flash) you have the introduction of Ronnie. Danielle, (we have) to imagine that Caitlin suffered dearly. Did she have an interesting reaction to her fiancé returning?
Panabaker: She does not handle it well. You know, she spent the last year grieving the loss of Ronnie, and then he’s back, she thinks she lost her mind. Ya know, seeing him in a very different form is extremely challenging for her.
Q: For our Arrow people, obviously we’re talking about it being hard for The Flash team having (Starling City) being a little bit darker for them to see. What about for team Arrow getting a lighter side. Do we see a lighter side to team Arrow?
Q: How do you think they have affected you guys though?
Ramsay:Arrow the musical?
Amell: I think it is important for us to know that there is other stuff out there such as meta humans and that there is a whole team. It’s nice to stretch beyond Starling City but that smile that you saw on Oliver’s face, lasts about four seconds in the next episode and then it’s gone.
Rickards: We hate you guys. We don’t have your technology, your superpowers.
Q: Will we see gadgets from S.T.A.R. Labs coming over to to the (the Arrow)?
Berlanti: There are big S.T.A.R. Labs inventions coming Arrow’s way. One of the best things about reading comics books as a kid is watching the heroes crossover and what happens in one books affects the others. These shows are so tightly knit, it does sort of feel like one giant show sort of happening so it makes things like crossovers necessary.
Q: How soon are we gonna get more crossovers?
Kreisberg: There won’t be a two-parter like this in the back half of the season.
Q: What has been your favorite part of the crossover? With a scene or behind the scenes moment on set or in the writers room?
Berlanti: We actually had combined the writers rooms. We had The Flash writers in the Arrow rooms and vise versa. In the writers room, you pick everybody for their specialities and their personalities and then you throw two rooms together, just like throwing two casts together, which meshed nicely, too. And then you can look at this and really see the results of all of those lines.
Ramsay: Just being on set with our three new recruits is honestly a great thing and just working with, first of all… honestly it’s amazing that me and Stephen even get a word out because they're always just talking.
Amell: The scene where David sees The Flash for the first time. You could make an entire blooper reel. I don’t know how. If you watch it again, you will see me bite my lip because that was the only way I could get through. I swear to God.
Gustin: Actually my very favorite moment is when David sees Barry arrive in his suit and we had a lot of fun that night, that morning.
Ramsay: It was real Coca Cola in our cups so we were just wired. I looked at Andrew and said “Is it too big?” (about the cup) He said “Go bigger, can’t go too big on Flash and I was like OK.
Valdes: I binge watched Arrow before I was actually a part of The Flash so I knew these faces in some capacity and then I actually got to work with them and I was like “Ahhh!!” I really enjoy working with crew on pilot.
Panabaker: I mean it really was the cast, that’s the great thing about that. We all love each other, it was so fun to see Colton (Haynes). It’s fun to get to see each other in the trailers and high five and that sort of thing. *gives Amell high five*
Rickards: It’s really great to come to work everyday and get to enjoy what you're doing.
Q: I was kind of surprised, with Arrow, it sort of didn’t take long to give him the name. First we had the Hood, the Vigilante and all that. The Flash has got his name and there were all these episodes aired.
Kreisberg: One of our producers who is not here tonight was saying, “We got to name him soon, we got to name him soon” and so we did.
Berlanti: We were calling Barry the streak and also it fits in with the Flash’s universe. if anything its funny because at the time Barry became a superhero, Oliver was already calling himself the Arrow so Barry was like, “well I need a name.”
Q: Is there anything that inspired you for the crossover?
Kreisberg: I was a fan of the Six Million Dollar Man. It was nice being part of a crossover show minus the Sasquatch.
Berlanti:Doctor Who. You saw everybody in the TARDIS so to see everybody there together was amazing.
Q: What is your guys’ favorite Green Arrow or Flash comic?
Amell: Year One. I know that was largely the source material for our pilot.
Gustin: When I got the audition, I hadn’t read many Flash comics but I knew a lot about them so I started reading as much as I could. I found the New 52 series pretty early on and then stuck with that series just because it seemed like that whats we were drawing from the most and it felt the most contemporary. I like that series.
Q: For someone who is going through a breakup, I just spent the last two hours smiling so thank you. I follow Stephen on Facebook and I know he’s really active, did you have to go through any training to keep up with this man?
Gustin: No, no. I have not gone through training and I will not be going through any training. Stephen is fantastic at Facebook and I will probably never be able to keep up with him but I’m trying to be better with social media in general.
Amell: You’re a better singer than I am.
Q: Can we hear you sing?
Berlanti: You will hear him sing in an upcoming episode of Flash.
Gustin: Someone else is going to sing with me.
Q: Can you give us any information about future guest stars, are there any casting updates you can give us?
Berlanti: Victor Garber will play Martin Stein, who is the other half of Firestorm and
Andy Mientus will play Pied Piper.
Q: On a television budget, you guys are doing feature film effects and everything. Is that something you take into consideration. Do you think budget? I know you have to but are you thinking big budget, small, having to cut corners, how does that process work for you?
Guggenheim: On Arrow and Flash, we don’t consider budget. We go through a process and sort of have it down to a little bit of a science. We shave and we shave and we shave, shave, shave, but it’s creating the illusion that we have a lot more money than we actually have. Glen Winter directed the first part of The Flash episode and honestly, the fight between Barry and Arrow in the script, that was pretty much exactly what we wrote and Glen pulled it off in the amount of time and money that we had.
Q: Being a long time fan of the comics, do you put a lot of thought about what villains you guys are bringing and where they fit?
Berlanti: On Arrow it’s different. Arrow doesn’t have the villain gallery that The Flash does and The Flash has some of the best villains so there is a lot more to choose from. Arrow does have some amazing villains, obviously Merlyn. We sort of pull from everything and that’s one of the fun things about the show. You can pull from classic golden age and silver age villains but there’s also a whole bunch of new villains.
Q: I never thought I’d see Rainbow Raider. What's another obscure villain that you would want to bring on?
Berlanti: We have a board up in The Flash office with all the villains and some of them they sound so silly. Rainbow Raider is one of them and Geoff Johns, it’s his favorite thing to do in the world is to take old silly characters and make them sound cool and I think we kind of did that with Rainbow Raider. I mean if you see the costume he has on in the comic, It’s very silly.
Q: Are you guys thinking of introducing the Batman family in either of these shows?
Guggenheim: Obviously there is Batman in the movies and now theres Gotham. DC are amazing partners.
Berlanti: There are things we can do and things we can’t. I’m a huge fan of Nightwing so there’s like the cities we can use and theres anything else. I don’t think you’ll be hearing Gotham or Metropolis anytime soon.
Q: What was it like to be in the crossover?
Rickards: It’s an honor to play a character who’s strong and I love and adore being with these two guys. Working with you guys has been great. It’s an honor and it’s really fun. I was sort of naive going over (to The Flash set) the first time thinking it was going to be the same but in reality, Felicity is the only thing the same. It was a really great time for me and for her, she had a great time. She got caught on fire but it got better.
Q: When is the Reverse Flash going to come in? We have a Thawne already in detective...
Berlanti: We’re actually going to show you guys some teaser trailers for the mid-season finales of both shows.
Q: I love the F*** Cancer thing on Facebook and I think it really has the power to do something. What was the inspiration for you sharing that?
Amell: My mom’s a breast cancer survivor. She survived twice, 25 years apart and she and I were hanging out in Toronto, right after we wrapped up the pilot of Arrow and she was going through chemo and we were having a beer and were decided to give the finger to the camera as an f-you to cancer and little did I know, there was a charity called F*** Cancer. Then the founder of that charity got into touch with the people at Arrow and we did a t-shirt campaign and never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be as successful and far reaching as it’s been. Anyone wearing a t-shirt right now stand up. (About ten stood up.)
Q:Felicity, are you single?
(fan walks away)
Ramsay: That was your moment!
Rickards: I don't think it’s gonna work out for me.
Q: My question is, Arrow - now that they're working with The Flash team, will they ever start nicknaming villains?
Amell: Well, Barry has a pretty good comeback with that one about the Captain Boomerang, the Huntress, but that’s a Flash thing I think.
Q: Are you guys going to be showing Killer Frost or Vibe any time soon?
Valdes: We can’t lie and say we haven’t talked about it. For right now, I think we’re only really focusing on…
Berlanti: Hopefully, we’ll have a long successful run but for right now, we’re happy with Caitlin and Cisco being Caitlin and Cisco.
Panabaker: We’ve got our hands full.
Q: Who do you think, between Stephen and Grant, ultimately who would win Arrow or Flash?
Amell: Diggle would win.
After the Q&A, the exclusive, two mid-season finale trailers revealed the two main villains for this season.
Ra’s Al Ghul will be the main villain for the Arrow mid-season finale, while viewers finally get to meet “the flash” (see: earlier question about Reverse) that killed Allen’s mom in The Flash.