Jim Lee Fought For Brandon Routh To Play Superman Again In Crisis On Infinite Earths Crossover [Exclusive]

At Comic-Con, The CW's Arrowverse revealed that this year's crossover between their five series – Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, DC's Legends of Tomorrow and Black Lightning – would be Crisis on Infinite Earths. One of the big reveals was the Superman Returns star Brandon Routh would play a Superman from another world. Routh also plays Ray Palmer on Legends.This will be the first time the crossover spans five shows, the first time Black Lightning is a part of the crossover, and the first time the crossover is split before and after the Christmas holiday. Three episodes will air in December of 2019, with the final two in January 2020. At The CW's party for the Television Critics Association, Arrow producer and crossover supervisor Marc Guggenheim spoke with /Film. Find out how he wrangled Routh back into the Superman costume, how the crossover relates to Superman Returns, and Guggenheim's thoughts on a classic Supergirl actor.

Jim Lee Helped With Superman

By season seven of Arrow, Guggenheim has developed a good working relationship with DC. When Warner Brothers wanted to include The Flash in their DC universe, they worked it out with The CW's show. Supergirl managed to have a Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) appear on their show. Guggenheim said it was legendary comic book artist Jim Lee who helped him include Routh as an alternate Superman. "It's never legal wrangling," Guggenheim said. "It's the usual dance we do when we're trying to access characters from the DC universe outside of the Arrowverse. So it's just conversations. I will tell you, Jim Lee was incredibly instrumental in those conversations. It's funny, I don't think of it as legal wrangling so much as diplomacy and Jim was amazing, and such a gentleman about it, a real advocate for the shows, a real advocate for the studios. I have to say it was really painless."It probably also helped that Routh will only be the third simultaneous Superman. Once Hoechlin established himself while Henry Cavill was in the movies, it set the precedent for multiple Supermen. Plus, these are infinite earths we're talking about.

Will This Be Superman Returns Returns?

Superman Returns was a divisive-enough Superman movie that they decided not to make a sequel. Instead came the reboot Man of Steel. I personally think they had time to make two more Brandon Routh movies and still could have rebooted in 2013. So seeing Routh play Superman again could be the sequel some of us have always wanted. Guggenheim was reluctant to call Routh's crossover appearance a sequel. "I don't know if it's for me to say," Guggenheim said. "We're picking up so many years after the events of that movie, maybe a coda is a better word than sequel."It's probably too much to ask for a TV crossover servicing five main characters to also serve as a 13 years later sequel to a movie. Still, it will just be nice to see Routh play Superman again.

A Former Supergirl is Also in the Arrowverse

Routh isn't the only former superhero reprising his role. Kevin Conroy, a voice of Batman in animation, will play a live-action older Bruce Wayne in the crossover. Helen Slater, the star of the original movie Supergirl, plays Supergirl's (Melissa Benoist) adopted Earth mother on The CW. As long as there are infinite earths where movie actors reprise their superhero roles, Guggenheim sounds open to asking Slater to play an alternate Supergirl along with Benoist."I feel like at this point, we've covered the waterfornt in terms of we've talked about every person who's been in a DC property in live-action, and with Kevin [Conroy] in animation," Guggenheim said. "Everything is possible. I happen to love the Supergirl movie and I remember the first time I saw it. I would love for her to reprise her role. We're feeling out a lot of our various parameters in terms of what can we afford and what do we have story for? Can this be a cameo? Can this be a full on story? It's just this ongoing conversation. we started the crossover earlier than we ever have precisely so we could have these conversation."Helen Slater back in the Supergirl suit is what seven-year-old Fred, who fell in love with the character in 1984, wants. But while we're spitballing here, let's also bring Shaq back as Steel.