The following are unsubstantiated fan theories based purely on a lifetime of geekdom. It goes without saying that this contains SPOILERS for the previous seasons of The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow. We are not crackpots, but we are willing to learn.
Read on for spoiler-filled speculation.
The end of THE FLASH Season 2 was something a little bit special. Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) decides to run back in time to stop his mother from being murdered at the hands of the Reverse Flash. As he does so, he watches an alternate timeline version of himself disappear, having altered history again and pushed the entire chronology of events from the first two seasons into oblivion. While we don’t know the full extent of Barry’s actions just yet, comic book fans would all have one word on their minds: Flashpoint.
Flashpoint was a 2011 event at DC Comics that served as a catalyst for a monumental shift in the DC Universe. The core mini-series, written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Andy Kubert, saw Barry Allen awaken to find that the entire universe had changed around him, and he was the only one with any memory of the differences. It was eventually revealed that this was all the result of Barry trying to stop his mother’s murder, as he does at the end of Season 2. Scenes from the mini-series, including Batman’s memorable attempt to recreate the accident that caused Barry to become The Flash, were already used in the second season. But can you imagine a significant portion of Season 3 set in an alternate world that only the viewer (and possibly Barry) knows is different?
It would have knock-on effects for the other series in the CW universe as well. In LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, it’s possible that these time travellers are the only ones who know that there is something wrong with the timeline. While they are “flying blind” after the events of Season 1, and cut off from the Time Masters, Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) would have to know something is wrong. While previous hints that Booster Gold had be planned for inclusion in the series, this has now given way to hints about a feature film. Now the first season cliffhanger tease of the Justice Society of America may be an indicator of the direction of that series.
How will it impact ARROW? Well, it leaves them free to run with an “Ollie as Mayor” storyline set in a non-powered world, as teased in the finale for Season 4. We already know that the next season will be more grounded with a non-powered villain, but will that be the result of a shifted timeline? It would be great to see the timeline quibbles of THE FLASH carried over into the other series as well, and it gives Green Arrow’s series a chance to explore a whole new set of flashbacks. After all, as they primarily flash back five years each time, we are rapidly approaching a point where they would otherwise be re-examining the first season! So it could definitely give the convention that they have persevered with some new meaning going forward.
The biggest potential benefit of the shift would be in bringing SUPERGIRL into the CW continuity. While a first season crossover episode with THE FLASH established that the Kryptonian’s adventures take place on a different Earth (in “World’s Finest”), any corrections of the Flashpoint style timelines might have some unintended consequences. Such as combining those worlds together in a single form. The “Crisis” teased from the very first season could give weight to that, or Kara’s (Melissa Benoist) presence could be simply be a handy side-effect of the altered history. We know that there is a big crossover event planned between all four series in December 2016, one that CW chief Mark Pedowitz is already calling “our biggest one ever.”
If any of this crazy fan theory is on the money, he’s absolutely right. Prepare your collect squees to start when ARROW, THE FLASH and SUPERGIRL return later this year.