Could it be that the Arrowverse is actually connected to Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy? That may sound a bit crazy upon first hearing it, but the Elseworlds crossover event, which is set to reach its conclusion tonight, may very well have planted the seeds for just such a truth. Whether or not this is something that is ever directly stated is another thing entirely, but there is one compelling piece of circumstantial evidence to give this theory at least a little weight.
Ahead of the debut of Elseworlds, The CW released some promo photos from the event and one of those images, in particular, caught the attention of DC fans. Specifically, an image of Bane's mask that looks suspiciously identical to the one that Tom Hardy's version of the character wore in The Dark Knight Rises. Even if it's just an Easter egg intended to make fans smile, it's far too coincidental to not be looked into a bit further. Could this be the key as to why Batman doesn't actually exist, or at least hasn't shown up in the Arrowverse up to this point?
The end of The Dark Knight Rises reveals that, to the world, Batman "died" in a blaze of glory in order to save Gotham City. Really, Bruce Wayne took it as an opportunity to hang up the cape and go live his life. But with Batman dead to the world, who would be left to take up the mantle? Elseworlds is bringing Batwoman, as portrayed by Ruby Rose, into the fold and that could be the answer this theory needs. The character made her live-action debut in Elseworlds Part 2 and finally brought Gotham City into the Arrowverse.
That's not to say this has to be the version of Gotham City from Christopher Nolan's trilogy, as the Arrowverse already has a multiverse established. But Bane's mask could establish that one of these Earth's within the multiverse is the one that features Christian Bale's Batman and Heath Ledger's Joker. It's an enticing prospect and, outside of complex issues relating to behind the scenes studio business, there's no reason this couldn't be the case. But because of that studio business, it's unlikely that The CW will ever firmly be able to say, as much as they may want to imply it, that these two corners of the DC universe exist alongside one another.
The Dark Knight is still largely seen as the gold standard for standalone comic book movies and, as far as the small screen goes, The CW has things locked down pretty right on the Arrowverse. While tonally these two takes on DC are quite different, it would be an amazing connection to make. Ultimately, this is probably just a fun Easter egg placed within Elseworlds to conjure up just such a conversation. But what a very fun "what if?" scenario this has turned out to be. Elseworlds Part 3 airs tonight on The CW. Be sure to check out the photo in question below. This news was previously reported by io9.