Warner Bros. Television has discovered a new level of fan service with the revelation that John Wesley Shipp will appear in his 1990’s Flash muscle suit (and looking good in it) in their upcoming “Elseworlds” yearly Arrowverse crossover.
Having cameos and extended guest stints by stars of past DC superhero movies and TV shows has been a staple of the Warner Bros approach since 1978’s Superman: The Movie when former Superman (Kirk Alyn) and Lois Lane (Noel Neill) actors made brief appearances as Sam and Ellen Lane (Lois’ parents), a tradition that has continued in many TV and film productions based on DC characters. It’s like the DC version of Stan Lee cameos in all Marvel films.
And with more Arrowverse crossovers likely to come, executive producer Greg Berlanti and Warner Bros. TV will have plenty more opportunities to open up the “Elseworlds” DC universe to more beloved elements of their movie and TV past. So, with Newsarama’s endorsement that they continue to fully embrace their extended media Multiverse, here’s a few suggestions on who the current TV DC stars can meet next…
Now of course the often-complicated rights to the various TV shows and movies would be of critical importance here, but we’re not going to deep dive too much into what’s legally possible or likely and instead simply focus on what would be fun and cool for fans.
The “Trials and Tribble-ations” Approach
Since you’re reading Newsarama right now, there’s a pretty good chance you immediately understand this reference. This was the November 4, 1996 episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (s05e06 in TV geek speak) in which the series cast was digitally inserted into the 1967 episode of Star Trek: The Original Series “The Trouble with Tribbles” and pretty seamlessly too, considering it was 1996 digital technology.
The well-regarded episode is considered a highlight of the 'next' generation wave of Star Trek TV series and the idea could easily be borrowed for any number of past DC TV series.
Wonder Woman would be a strong possibility, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow often strikes the right tongue-in-cheek tone to pull off a visit to the Adam West Batman series, which would be a hoot and probably highly rated.
But having Supergirl visit an episode of the 1950’s George Reeves’ Adventures of Superman TV series seems like the ultimate application of the concept and given 22 years of advances in digital technology, it could probably be made to look seamless and spectacular on a reasonable TV budget.
The Animated Approach
Hell, precedent has already been set for this one, with live-action Constantine actor Matt Reeves along with another Arrowverse actors recreating/voicing their characters roles in various animated projects. But here we’re imagining a DC live action-animated nirvana here - an episode that finds cartoon versions of the Flash, Supergirl and Green Arrow inserted into an episode of the iconic Saturday morning classic, Super Friends.
They just need to find a voice actor who can pull off a good impression of the narrator Ted Knight. But c’mon, this one’s a no-brainer and would be a WB event in the truest sense of the word. In fact, how have they not done this already?
The Cameo Approach
Shipp’s original bulked-up Flash suit goes a long was to making his reappearance as a Flash credible and not cringe-worthy.
While tons of actors from past DC projects have filled roles in new DC projects, time is often the enemy of trying to have characters recreate their original roles. But some seem doable.
Justin Hartley is probably a little too busy with his little NBC drama This is Us to be lured back into his Smallville Green Arrow costume (not even mentioning Aquaman), but Tom Welling (currently appearing in Lucifer) could certainly pull off Superman if he was inclined (and says he has a few ideas all ready for Berlanti and co.).
Having Brandon Routh trade in his Atom suit for his movie Superman tights and cape seems like an Arrowverse "Elseworlds" inevitability and sticking with Supermen, Dean Cain could probably pull off an Earth 2 Superman-like cameo, if you can forgive his role as Jeremiah Danvers in the Berlanti-Multiverse. And we’re betting 59-year old Gerard Christopher (late 80s/early 90s Superboy) could do the same, though more recent photos are hard to come by.
But again, forgiving her current occasional guest role on Supergirl as President Olivia Marsdin, Lynda Carter reviving her role as Wonder Woman seems to be the golden lasso that grabs the brass ring here.
To make this one work we’re suggesting a trip to the far future where the near-immortal Diana has returned to rule as Queen of Paradise Island, but that said by the looks of things the 67-year-old Carter could probably pull off the original bustier/leotard spectacularly.
The F@#$-it Approach
Somewhere in the far background of a “Crisis” future episode they have to include actors dressed in recreations of the notorious live-action Justice League pilot costumes … just because.
While they’re at it, they can throw in recreations of Hawkman, Black Canary and the Huntress’ costumes from the 1979 Legends of the Superheroes special, someone dressed like Halle Berry’s Catwoman, Shaquille O’Neal’s Steel, and Cathy Lee Crosby and Adrianne Palicki’s Wonder Women.
We’re sure you all have your favorites. Feel free to suggest them to us on Facebook or Twitter.
Because self-deprecating humor is always a good thing.
The Vehicular Approach
As we say, we imagine somewhere along the lines rights to character and footage would be an issue to some of our suggestions, and we doubt any significant crossover to DC feature films is likely, but there may be a way to bridge some of those worlds with wink and a nod that the lawyers of the Multiverse might let happen – collect all the TV and film versions of Batmobiles and let them play into a future crossover somehow.
Imagine the Tumbler alongside the classic Lincoln Futura Batmobile. Figure a way to throw in Wonder Woman’s 70s Invisible Jet, Shazam's 1973 Dodge Open Road motor home, Yvonne Craig’s Bat-cycle, the Bat-Copter and Bat-Boat, and voila, a geekdom car show is born.
The Kevin Conroy Approach
We have no ideas for the specific execution but get Kevin Conroy’s voice as Batman in a future crossover … somehow, some way.
You’re welcome, Warner Bros.