Arrow‘s days are numbered. With just 10 episodes left, the series that kicked off what we now call the Arrowverse is coming to a close. But these DC superhero shows are big business for the CW. Batwoman is starting this fall after a splash intro during last year’s Elseworlds crossover. With Arrow on the way out though, the channel is going to have a superhero-sized gap in its programming come next fall. The network is already looking at starting up a new Arrowverse series to take its spot.
Want proof? Word comes straight from the top. CW President Mark Pedowitz talked about it at the Television Critics Association press tour recently, saying that the network is looking to add another DC Comics property to its list. That got us wondering what it might be. Here are a few options that popped into our heads as we discussed the idea, along with how plausible they seem as next steps for the network.
This seems like the most obvious next step, and it almost seems like the network was prepping for it. Throughout Arrow‘s seventh season, the show did away with flashbacks and instead gave us flashes forward to a grim 2040 where vigilantes were outlawed and big-brother software monitored everyone and everything. This version of Star City introduced us to Mia Queen, the daughter of Oliver and Felicity, as of yet unborn in 2019. It re-introduced William, Oliver’s first son, as well. The duo – a trained fighter and an expert hacker, just like their parents – joined up with aged-up versions of Rene and Dinah, as well as some other Arrow Kids to take on the surveillance state. How? With bows and arrows.
The stage is set for that to blossom out into its own show, it would seem, but that’s not what they’re eyeing. “There’s a possibility, but we haven’t fully had the discussion about that one way or another,” Pedowitz said of the idea.
We’re going to call this one possible.
Another jump into the future would be Batman Beyond. The animated series gave us Terry McGinnis, the protege of an elderly but still plenty dangerous Bruce Wayne, a Batman of the future. It’s a fascinating idea, and there are two strong pieces of connective tissue here to make it a tantalizing idea. The first is the aforementioned Arrow 2040 team. The Arrowverse already has an established future for Terry to land in and connect to. If there’s a future Star City, there’s a future Gotham. And then there’s the news that Kevin Conroy, the longtime voice of animated Bruce Wayne, will be appearing as a future version of the billionaire philanthropist/amateur chiropractor in the upcoming Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover. We now have a future Arrowverse with a future Bruce Wayne!
While it’s easy to jump on that idea and dig our teeth into it, though, it seems unlikely. The CW is riding high, but the network is still a broadcast network and it’s not exactly NBC-sized. A show set in the future would get expensive quickly, especially with a high-flying character like the future version of Batman shown in Batman Beyond.
It’s a nice dream, but it’s very unlikely.
With a future Bruce Wayne, that means there was a past Bruce Wayne. The Batwoman show will acknowledge that there was a Batman, and that there isn’t a Batman right at the time of the show. But there has been a Batman. And if there’s one show on this list that people want more than any other, it’s a live-action Batman television show that does the character justice. Gotham was divisive and doesn’t count as a Batman show too many, and while we enjoy Pennyworth, that’s even further out. A real Batman show could be incredible.
But it’s not going to happen.
For one, it would undercut Batwoman. To which many will say “cool.” But even more than that, a Batman show would be incredibly difficult to get perfect on a budget like that available to CW shows. There would be a huge amount of pressure on the show to be perfect, and no casting decision would be good enough to keep the internet from rioting.
To get Batman right in 2019, we’d need to see it pop up on HBO. (Which isn’t impossible. WarnerMedia and HBO are part of the same organization. Let’s cross our fingers for that, because it could be awesome.) It also seems like something that Warner Media would want to keep “movie sized” because Batman is a billion-dollar name. While DC and Warner have loosened restrictions in recent years, some names are too profitable to “risk.”
Batman on the CW is virtually impossible.
Like Arrow 2040, there’s groundwork laid for this. While Supergirl called him “Clark,” or “my cousin” and only showed him in shadows at first, a proper live-action Superman was cast for Supergirl season 2 in Tyler Hoechlin. He’s since appeared on the show a few times and in the most recent crossover. Hoechlin has been well-received as both Clark Kent and Superman. The special effects on Supergirl have gotten better and better, and we know that the network can handle making a Kryptonian look good flying, punching, and shooting eye lasers.
This seems unlikely, though, too. Like Bats, Superman is a movie-sized character, and DC doesn’t have enough of those as it is. Further, a Superman show, like a Batman show, could undercut the success of Supergirl. And then the reason I personally wouldn’t want to see it is that Superman is a really tough character to get right. We’ve had more bad Superman movies than good, though I’ll let you decide which is which. CW’s sparing use of the Man of Steel has made his appearance an event worth tuning in for rather than something that can get familiar, and it keeps him fresh and exciting whenever he appears.
It’s possible, but I would say it’s not likely.
Black Canary/Birds of Prey
We’re getting down in the more credible range of shows now. A Black Canary spin-off of Arrow is plausible. Black Canary is a known quantity for the network and for fans. Notably, the show is giving her a new costume for season 8, and it’s her first costume that looks more “superhero” than “super domme,” which makes me think they might want to get a bit more use out of it. Have a look:
— Marc Guggenheim (@mguggenheim) July 20, 2019
A ton of pieces are already in place for a Birds of Prey show. We have two active Canaries in Katie Cassidy and Juliana Harkavy. The Arrowverse has a Huntress that could easily be picked back up or re-cast. We have Gotham City and a Batman that’s been around long enough to be missed in Gotham, which could mean we have a Barbara Gordon who has donned and hung up the Batgirl hood to become Oracle without any fictional stretching needed. Arrow’s 2040 storyline also established that the Canary identity becomes a sort of gang of vigilantes that extends beyond Dinah Drake and Laurel Lance. It’s also a show that wouldn’t be tough to make – it would likely slot well into the production rhythm of Arrow with the number of fights and special effects, and the number of scenes set in computer labs and wet, night-time streets.
Pushing back against a Birds of Prey show happening is that there’s a Birds of Prey movie already on the way featuring one of the DCEU’s few unarguable success stories, Margot Robie as Harley Quinn. They might not want to endanger that. And there’s also the fact that the WB already tried to make Birds of Prey a thing back in 2002.
We’ll call this one possible bordering on likely, with caveats.
Booster Gold or Blue Beetle
This might be my favorite on this list. Neither of these characters have any precedent on the network in terms of in-fiction connections, though Booster Gold appeared on Smallville at one point. But we do have some tonal precedent in Brandon Routh’s portrayal of Atom on Legends of Tomorrow. If there were only two adjects to apply to Booster Gold, “silly” and “high-tech” would be the two. Booster Gold could easily move between Arrow 2040, Legends of Tomorrow, and his own show set in a present-day city, making him a flexible character. I think most of this could apply to Blue Beetle, too.
The lack of presence isn’t the worst thing – Legends of Tomorrow struggled through that and some truly bad characters in its first season to become arguably my favorite DC show. And while Nathan Fillion won’t be playing Booster Gold in a movie anytime soon, hey, the CW might have a spot open next year.
This is very possible, but totally groundless.
While Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner are probably the best-known lanterns, the Justice League animated series did a great job of familiarizing us with another Lantern, John Stewart. For years, Arrowverse fans have been suggesting that John Diggle, played by actor David Ramsey, would make a great Arrowverse Lantern, and last year’s crossover even poked the hornet’s nest when Earth-90’s Flash took a look at John and asked him “where’s your ring?”
But if Batman would be hard to do on a TV budget, then Green Lantern would be all but impossible. When your power is to shape solid light into anything you can imagine, suddenly everything is a special effect. Give me a Green Lantern animated series. Right now. Please. But live-action? I don’t think I want to see that train wreck.
Let’s call this “Please Don’t.”
Green Hornet seems like an unlikely character, but there’s still fun to be had here. Like Arrow, Green Hornet is a character that is heavily martial-arts based and could be run by stuntmen and creative camera work. Few effects shots would be needed. Also, it would be poetic to exchange one Green character for another. Further, Green Arrow wasn’t exactly what we would’ve guessed back in 2012 when we were thinking about what comic-book characters to turn into TV shows. So anything’s possible.
Unlikely and groundless, but still fun.
So that’s our list. But there are approximately 8,000,000 DC characters spread across 52 Earths, and the crossover this fall will collapse those. The only limit is a special effects budget. Who did we miss? Who would you like to see get their own show?