The Future of The CW’s “Arrowverse” Peaks Possibility!
In October 2012, The CW premiered Arrow and launched the beginning of what would evolve into the “Arrowverse”. Now, 6 years later, it seems like it might be time for the Arrowverse to shake things up in a big way!
For those of you who might not know, the Arrowverse is the umbrella term for the interconnected line-up of DC superhero shows that appear on The CW. Whilst Marvel has built itself up a wonderful cinematic universe of connected story-lines and characters, DC comics has built itself the Arrowverse, which essentially functions in the same way, just on a smaller scale.
At the present moment, the Arrowverse is comprised of several different shows. Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow are easily the most prominent staple shows of the television universe. Initially, the first season of Supergirl was aired on CBS, but was eventually brought over to air on The CW. Similarly, the character of Constantine (who is currently employed as a main team member on the fourth season of Legends of Tomorrow) had his own show on NBC. But following a cancellation, The CW officially added him to the Arrowverse character roster. And Black Lightning, whilst not officially part of the Arrowverse, airs on The CW and shares Greg Berlanti as an executive producer.
In addition to the live-action superhero Arrowverse TV shows that air on The CW, the Arrowverse also includes two animated series shorts: Vixen and Freedom Fighters: The Ray. Luckily enough, there have been two live-action incarnations of Vixen who have made appearances on Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow. The Ray, however, only appeared in a live-action form during the 2017 annual Arrowverse crossover: “Crisis on Earth-X”.
The Arrowverse, as a whole, operates in such a way that each show remains entirely independent—with its own unique seasonal story-line, characters, villains, and problems. And yet, there remains an underlying connection with an umbrella of the shared canonical universe hanging over each show. This allows the characters to fluidly appear in neighboring shows by use of physical appearance or by being mentioned in passing by certain characters. And overall, this adds to the cohesion of the connected Arrowverse.
Yet, nothing can quite remain the same forever. Eventually, there has to be some kind of exciting event to shake up what may or may not have become stagnant over years of pushing out the same ol’ good formula. Marvel decided to do this for itself by way of Infinity War, which allowed all of the characters to come together to fight back against a threat greater than the sum of the canonical Marvel Cinematic Universe. And whilst that story will be most likely resolved in the upcoming Avengers: Endgame, the proof is in the pudding…an interwoven universe of superheroes needs something big to shake things up.
For the Arrowverse, the big shake-up seems as though it will find its inspiration by utilizing one of DC Comic’s most infamous story-lines, Crisis on Infinite Earths, which was officially announced to be in the works following the conclusion of the 2018 three-part Arrowverse crossover event, Elseworlds. And whew! This kind of event might really change the game for the Arrowverse! But how?
In the comics, Crisis on Infinite Earths was a huge event that required the combined efforts of fan-favorite superheroes to fight together in an attempt to stop the destruction of infinite worlds. In addition, the comic event was actually DC’s clever way of taking the pre-established concept of the DC Multiverse and shrinking everything down to exist within one single Earth. This was all done so that DC could essentially restart their comics in a more manageable way that wouldn’t completely throw readers into a pit of confusion.
But, even that explanation is confusion, so I’ll explain!
The DC Multiverse meant that there were different worlds, different Earths of stark difference, all co-existing at the same time within different universes. One Earth could have Superman, another Earth in an alternate universe could have an evil Superman. One Earth could be perpetually stuck (aesthetically) in Victorian-Era London, whilst a different Earth could be perpetually stuck in a desolate post-apocalyptic nuclear world. But all of these worlds existed at the same time, side-by-side. Crisis on Infinite Earths undid all of that and basically reformed just one Earth where all of the major characters, superheroes and supervillains, would exist.
Interestingly enough, the Arrowverse has the same kind of deal. It’s canon that there are different Earths within the Arrowverse. In fact, a lot of the characters that frequent the weekly line-up of shows are canonically from the various Earths. For example: Arrow, The Flash, Vixen, and Legends of Tomorrow all take place on Earth-1. Supergirl, and the characters from that show, all come from Earth-38. The villains and The Ray from the 2017 crossover special, “Crisis on Earth-X” all came from Earth-X. And with The Flash continuously utilizing the dimension-hopping powers of Cisco Ramon, Flash watchers are constantly introduced to new Earths and alternate-Earth characters.
So, how does this all factor into how the Arrowverse might shake things up? Well, it’s been recently reported that Arrow will air an eighth and final season, putting a close to the show that started the entire Arrowverse to begin with. In the comics, Crisis on Infinite Earths ends with the deaths of prominent characters—The Flash and Supergirl. However, during the 2018 “Elseworlds” event, both Barry and Kara were spared their deaths by Oliver Queen, who pleaded their case and seemingly made a deal with the Monitor to save them. Did he trade his life for theirs? Well, we won’t know until the CW airs their Crisis special towards the end of 2019.
Nonetheless, the official end of Arrow forces the Arrowverse into a new era. Not only that, but there has been speculation that Supergirl might get cancelled and replaced with a Superman series due to poor viewership. Whilst none of this is officially confirmed by CW and the creative directors behind the Arrowverse shows, Crisis on Infinite Earths could make something like a Superman series possible, as well as open the door for new possibilities.
A Superman show would drive fans wild, seeing as how Superman is probably the biggest character from DC comics. Tyler Hoechlin has done an absolutely amazing job with the characters thus far and I think a lot of people wouldn’t mind having him grace our television screens every week. The rumors of a Superman show happening are clearly intensified by the rumors of Supergirl’s ratings possibly not being what they used to be. And yet, Supergirl is officially introducing the character of Lex Luthor in an upcoming episode.
This is interesting because whilst Lena Luthor (Lex’s sister) has been a prominent character on Supergirl for a while, Lex is Superman’s arch-enemy. Now, the official promo for Supergirl S04EP15 “O Brother, Where Art Thou” has been released and showcases old footage of Superman from past episodes, as well as Lex Luthor. Hoechlin isn’t said to return to his role for this upcoming episode of Supergirl, but the use of old Superman footage for the promo is an interesting decision to make. Could Lex Luthor’s introduction into Supergirl be a hint at something to come for Superman?
Furthermore, if The CW’s version of the Crisis follows along with its comic book counterpart, then we might see the various pre-established Earths merge into just one realm of reality. This means that instead of existing on Earth-38, Superman and Supergirl would theoretically proceed to exist on Earth-1 with Flash, the Legends, and the rest of those characters. And with The CW gaining access to Batwoman (for the upcoming Batwoman series), alongside some of the famous Batman villains, as alluded towards during the Elseworlds crossover, could this give us the potential of seeing an Arrowverse Superman/Batman team-up? The possibility lies somewhere, don’t you think?
As sad as it is that we’re losing Arrow, this new age of the Arrowverse brings with it the potential for new shows and new characters. Personally, I do think that it would be cool to see some new superhero shows breeze into the Arrowverse as some fresh air. After all, the DC universe is so big and holds so many different characters. There’s always room for more superheroes on TV, as far as I’m concerned.
So, in somewhat of a maddened fanatical craze, I’ve compiled a very small list of DC characters I think would be fun to add into the Arrowverse as full-fledged TV shows sometime in the future.
Birds of Prey
Now, this one’s probably going to be a no from The CW team, just on account of the fact that there will be a live-action Birds of Prey movie slipping its way onto the big screen sometime in the near future.
And yet, Arrow has tried to do little things with the Birds of Prey a few times during the course of its run. The most notable moment was during one particular episode back in 2014 (S02EP17 “Birds of Prey”) with Sara Lance still donning her Black Canary costume and Helena Bertinelli as the Huntress. In more recent news, there will apparently be another Birds of Prey themed episode in the current season of Arrow with White Canary (Sara Lance), Black Canary (Dinah Drake), and Black Siren (Earth-2 Laurel Lance), as confirmed by Katie Cassidy’s instagram.
In the comics, The Question (Vic Sage) is an investigative vigilante superhero who follows clues and frequently crosses paths with other superheroes in order to solve particular cases. Now, it might just be my inner Jessica Jones fanboy speaking, but I think The Question could work as a really cool superhero series addition to the Arrowverse, laced with cool Noir elements and a large shadowy mystery to propel whole seasons.
What’s even better is that the Arrowverse has actually mentioned and visited the fictional Hub City a few times, which also happens to be where The Question is mainly situated within the realm of the comics. In season 4, episode 20 of Arrow, Oliver actually visits Hub City in an effort to seek out information. But unfortunately, there was no mention or appearance from The Question.
Midnighter (Lucas Trent) is a gruff and tough superhero, who could also be seen as being somewhat of an anti-hero due to the way he likes to play by his own rules and take absolutely no mercy on foes, unlike the majority of other superheroes (think: Batman, but likes to kill bad guys). Even cooler, Midnighter is one of the few available gay characters in comic books, and has a relationship with Apollo, another superhero with the ability to absorb the sun’s energy and use it offensively and defensively (think: Superman….).
Sadly, the Arrowverse doesn’t currently have a live-action series centered around a gay male superhero. Although, it should be noted that Batwoman is a lesbian and is getting her own show. Still, I think Midnighter would be a fun addition to the Arrowverse line-up and could easily fill the darker and grittier space that’ll be left behind once Arrow takes its final bow.
Now, I’m interested to see what you guys think about all of this news. The Arrowverse has been such a strong force put on by The CW. With several shows, handfuls and handfuls of colorful superheroes and villains, and an endless pool of potential to explore in the future, do you think that The CW’s decision to take on the Crisis on Infinite Earth’s story-line is a well-needed shake-up? And does this shake-up open the doors for new characters and shows?
Let us know what you think!
Rodney is finishing up his last semester at university to attain his B.A in English Literature. Aspiring to one day write television shows and novels, he’s an avid slash-shipper and enthusiast for all things gay. Rodney’s especially a lover of magic, mystery, and superheroes—holding Harry Potter, the X-Men, and Scooby-Doo close as his own personal favorites. But when he’s not fantasizing about how cool it would be to have magic, he’s busy writing fanfiction and re-watching old TV shows.
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