For anyone who has been watching the DC superhero shows airing on the CW — Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning and, now, Batwoman — one of the highlights they’ve come to anticipate is the annual crossover between all of them. Yet even with the wide-ranging adventures that have already been brought to life, few could have possibly imagined the shows’ respective producers tackling one of DC’s biggest comic book events, Crisis on Infinite Earths, for which Tom Welling will be reprising his Smallville role of Clark Kent (aka Superman) for the first time since that show ended its run in 2011.

“For eight years, Arrow has stood on the shoulders of Smallville. Simply put, there would be no Arrow, and no Arrowverse, without it,” said executive producer Marc Guggenheim in a statement. “So when we first started talking about Crisis on Infinite Earths, our first, second and third priorities were getting Tom to reprise his iconic role as Clark Kent. To say that we’re thrilled would be a Superman-sized understatement.”

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Smallville co-creator Al Gough tells Closer exclusively, “We think it’s great that Tom Is reprising his iconic role as Clark Kent on the Crisis crossover event. The creators and producers of all of the Arrowverse series have always had such kind things to say about Smallville, and its enduring influence, and we greatly appreciate it. We are thrilled for their continued success and boundary-pushing storylines that have brought these heroes to a new generation of viewers, including my own children!”

The announcement of Welling means that there will be three actors playing some version of Superman over the course of this event. As previously reported, Tyler Hoechlin reprises the role he’s played several times on Supergirl. Brandon Routh, who stars on Legends of Tomorrow as Ray Palmer/Atom, is going to put on the red and blue outfit for the first time since he played the Man of Steel on the big screen in 2006’s Superman Returns.

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The premise of Crisis on Infinite Earths is that a character known as the Anti-Monitor is a cosmic being who, having been exposed to antimatter, is going around the galaxy destroying different realities so that he can absorb them and expand his own empire. Going up against him is the Monitor, who is trying to protect the remaining realities, and is choosing champions to help him do so. In the comic book version, he and the heroes succeeded, but there were casualties, among them Supergirl and the Flash. While there’s a question of which heroes will make it out of the event alive, it seems that the TV version is promising some pretty radical changes as well. Nobody is talking specifics.

This crossover event concludes with only two episodes of Arrow, the show that started the current wave of CW superhero shows, left. Recently Closer had the opportunity to ask that show’s star, Stephen Amell, what its impact has been. He was quick to throw credit Smallville‘s way, noting, “It’s hard for me to look at what we’ve done from 30,000 feet, because I’m deep into it at the moment. What I can say is that I’m proud of what we’ve inspired. If Arrow is proof of concept that you can do a superhero show on TV and that it can work right — piggybacking off of Smallville, which should never go unmentioned — I feel like the legacy is we produced a bunch of content and people dig it. It’s not going to last forever, but I’m glad we were the first.”

Look for Crisis on Infinite Earths to air in five parts on the CW: Supergirl on Sunday December 8 at 8PM; Batwoman on Monday, December 9 at 8PM; The Flash on Tuesday December 10 at 8PM; Arrow on Tuesday January 14 at 8PM; and Legends of Tomorrow on Tuesday January 14 at 9PM.