Katie Yu/ The CW
Natalie Abrams
November 30, 2015 AT 12:00 PM EST

It’s the crossover Arrow and The Flash fans have been waiting for since DC’s Legends of Tomorrow was first announced.

In a two-hour, two-night event, Team Flash and Team Arrow will combine once again to help introduce immortal threat Vandal Savage (Casper Crump), who will haunt the midseason spin-off, while also ushering in a new set of heroes: Hawkman (Falk Hentschel) and Hawkgirl (Ciara Renée). 

“It’s Legends, Arrow and Flash crossing over now, so it’s even bigger,” Flash star Grant Gustin tells EW. “There are more characters from Arrow and Flash crossing over that didn’t crossover last year.”

In “Legends of Today,” the first hour of the two-night event, Vandal arrives in Central City to attack Kendra, so Cisco (Carlos Valdes) enlists Barry (Gustin) to protect her by taking her to Star City. But Carter Hall has other plans for his long-lost love. Hour two, “Legends of Yesterday,” finds Barry and Oliver (Stephen Amell) hiding Kendra and Carter from Vandal while they search for a way to defeat him.

As goes the story in the comics, Kendra is unaware of her past lives dating back to the pharaohs of old. Both Carter and Kendra, also known as Khufu and Shayera, are destined to be drawn together only to be killed, reincarnated and forced to walk the earth until they can find one another again. While the duo take center stage, it’s Cisco (Carlos Valdes) who really steps into the spotlight as Vandal’s plans to kill Kendra puts a damper on their new relationship.

“Hawkman comes and joins the team in this collaborative effort to get her to remember who she is and unearth this hidden legacy — this hidden person — inside her,” says Valdes. “Cisco struggles the most because he’s found something special in Kendra. In order for her to fully fulfill her destiny, she has to leave that. There’s going to be a lot of conflict coming up in terms of how Cisco manages his relationship and also manages to allow Kendra to fulfill her destiny and chase after what she wants and needs. There’s a lot of conflict there.”

While it’s heartbreaking for the unlucky-in-love Cisco, it’s even more so for Hawkman. “He remembers loving Kendra, and he remembers all the adventures they’ve had,” executive producer Andrew Kreisberg says. “And now he’s staring at this woman looking at him like he’s crazy. There’s a sadness about the whole thing because he knows how great it can be and how sad it is to look at her looking at him like he’s a stranger.”

Katie Yu/ The CW

“In my mind, they’re like a bickering old couple,” Hentschel says. “He’s gone through 4,000 years of loving her and getting her to love him back. She doesn’t know about it yet, though, so it’s a fun dynamic of him being like, ‘You’ll love me.’ Underneath it, too, he’s terrified always of losing her. Imagine you’ve seen everybody that you love die. It’s pretty lonely. There’s that one person that’s always constant.”

The complicated love triangle is one of many relationship dynamics featured throughout the event. “The most exciting thing to me about the crossovers is that you get to explore new relationships,” says Valdes. “New relationships start to develop. You get to see what Cisco’s relationship with Thea (Willa Holland) is like, and you start to explore what Cisco’s relationship with Hawkman would be, and his relationship with Kendra. That is the true spectacle of the crossover, just seeing how these personalities interact when they’re in the same room together trying to make the same thing happen. Hilarity ensues, to say the least.”

“I think it’s a lot funnier,” Gustin adds. “It’s huge and you see a lot of characters interacting that you don’t normally get to see interacting.”

Case in point, Diggle (David Ramsey) has always struggled with the concept of metahumans, lending a lot of comedy to Barry’s return to Star City. “What comes out of Diggle is always going to be what the audience is thinking,” Ramsey says. “This is how a person would respond to someone moving that fast. How does he respond to people with wings? You can only imagine.”

What isn’t hilarious is the introduction of Vandal Savage, said to be more dangerous and dastardly than any villain we’ve seen so far in each series. In the comics, Savage is a brilliant strategist and scientist who has plagued the earth with more than 50,000 years of savagery after gaining powers from a mysterious meteorite. Throughout his history of conquering various lands, Savage claims to have adapted many names, including Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, and Jack the Ripper.

Katie Yu/ The CW

“Vandal Savage has a mysticism about him,” Valdes says. “The characters in Arrow typically deal with a lot of brawn-related stuff. With The Flash, we’ve been dealing with a lot of sci-fi and all sorts of science stuff. With Vandal Savage comes, much like with Vixen, the onset of the mystic quality, something that’s not necessarily physical or scientific, but other. That is really interesting to start to uncover the supernatural factor.”

Bringing the crossover to life was no easy feat. Though all of the shows film in Vancouver, the logistics of working out production schedules on three shows was tricky. “I don’t think it’s possible to overstate the incredible amount of difficulty it was for just about everyone involved,” says executive producer Marc Guggenheim, from “the actors being asked to shuttle from one set to two other sets, oftentimes in the course of a single day, to the crews of the different shows.”

“The crossovers aren’t easy,” Gustin adds. “We work 12-14 hour days, five days a week anyway, and then you do an extra episode on top of it, so it’s pretty much a logistic nightmare-slash-borderline impossible. But when you see it, it’s more than worth it. It’s going to be really fun for everybody. It works really well. It’s not a forced gimmick. The stories could happen organically and are woven together really well.”

The extra work seems to have paid off. Whereas last year’s crossover event featured two self-contained episodes with different villains, this year is much more of a two-hour action film. “Storywise, it was appealing to us to try and do something different than we had done previously,” executive producer Greg Berlanti says. “We wanted to challenge ourselves to see if we really had two hours of storytelling and could follow everyone all the way through, what would that feel like.”

Jordon Nuttall/TheCW

While the scope of the crossover is quite large, several characters are MIA. The Hawks will soon be joining the Legends team alongside the likes of Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and others — none of whom appear in the crossover event. “We wanted to have a couple, but not all,” Berlanti says. “It also felt right that we would use the characters that we hadn’t introduced on the individual series yet, with the exception of Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill), who we’re saving for the pilot of Legends.

The Flash-Arrow event kicks off Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET, and continues Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

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