The long-term prognosis for the Arrowverse appears even worse. After years of sturdy rankings and what appeared like an ever-growing checklist of spinoffs, this shared TV universe is beginning to shrink significantly. The CW just lately canceled Batwoman and Legends of Tomorrow. Even The Flash — now the longest-running Arrowverse sequence of all of them — is nearing the tip of its nine-season marathon. These cancellations additionally come as The CW itself is being offered to a brand new proprietor.
All indicators level to the Arrowverse taking its closing bow in 2023. However regardless of HBO Max’s extremely controversial cancellation of the Batgirl film, the shift has little to do with the latest Warner Bros. Discovery merger. Let’s break down what Arrowverse exhibits are left, why the CW abruptly reduce its superhero lineup, and whether or not there’s any hope for exhibits like Superman & Lois to proceed elsewhere.
All DC films and sequence affected by the Warner Bros. Discovery merger
Arrowverse Roll Name: What’s Nonetheless Left?
At its peak in 2019, the Arrowverse included six ongoing sequence — Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning and Batwoman. Relying on whether or not you select to rely Stargirl as an Arrowverse sequence (the present is ready on Earth-2 of the DC TV multiverse), that has grown to seven sequence.
Looking back, the universe appears to have reached peak dimension with the Disaster on Infinite Earths crossover in late 2019. Disaster marks the tip of Arrow and Oliver Queen’s superhero journey. Black Lightning and Supergirl ended subsequent after 4 and 6 seasons respectively. The CW additionally determined to not give sequence orders to Painkiller or Inexperienced Arrow and Black Canary. With Batwoman and Legends now on the chopping block, there are solely two Arrowverse sequence left to resume for the 2022-2023 season, The Flash, Superman & Lois, and Stargirl. The CW just lately canceled Naomi, though the sequence was not formally a part of the Arrowverse.
On the plus facet, she might probably substitute Batwoman in Gotham Knights. The upcoming present (to not be confused with the online game of the identical title) is ready within the aftermath of Batman’s assassination and options an unlikely alliance between Batman’s former sidekick, Bruce Wayne’s adopted son Terry Hayes (performed by Oscar Morgan) and the villains. Deula Dent (performed by Olivia Rose Keegan). Like Naomi, Gotham Knights does not have a confirmed Arrowverse connection, and at this level it could by no means connect with the Arrowverse.
Lastly, the CW was additionally creating a brand new sequence referred to as Justice U, which is able to reportedly concentrate on David Ramsay’s character John Diggle mentoring a brand new era of Arrowverse heroes. Nonetheless, with no latest updates on that sequence, it is arduous to say if Justice U continues to be in lively growth.
Why The CW Is Ending The Arrowverse
Many DC followers might marvel why the CW is abruptly so intent on trimming the Arrowverse lineup when these exhibits have been an integral a part of the community’s lineup for the previous decade. There isn’t any one motive for this modification, though declining rankings and the continued challenges of filming an epidemic are actually two components.
Though Arrows is the flagship of the road on this post-Arrow panorama, The Flash has seen a gradual decline in viewership over its eight seasons. The Season 8 premiere was the primary time to succeed in lower than a million viewers. However, Legends of Tomorrow really noticed greater rankings in Season 7 than it did in Season 6, so it isn’t like each Arrowverse present follows the identical sample.
There’s additionally the truth that some Arrows stars, like Supergirl’s Melissa Benoist, have expressed a need to maneuver on to different tasks or spend extra time with their households. It is no secret that starring in one in every of these exhibits and coping with the lengthy hours and months spent filming in Vancouver is demanding work — each bodily and mentally.
Former Batwoman star Ruby Rose has spoken out about what she felt have been unsafe working circumstances on set. Whereas the CW described her feedback as “revisionist historical past,” it isn’t the primary time the CW has come beneath hearth for what some view as lax safety requirements. Riverdale star KJ Apa was infamously concerned in a automotive accident in 2017.
Above all, the CW’s personal dim future might result in the tip of the Arrowverse as we all know it. The community was initially shaped as a partnership between CBS and WarnerMedia, which merged UPN and The WB networks into one channel. Nonetheless, it seems that regardless of the recognition of the Arrowverse and long-running exhibits like Riverdale and Supernatural, The CW hasn’t really made a direct revenue to its mum or dad firms. As an alternative, many of the community’s income comes from licensing the CW catalog to streamers like Netflix (which at the moment performs host to all of the Arrowverse exhibits aside from Batwoman and Superman & Lois ).
Now, the 2 firms are direct rivals within the streaming market because of Paramount+ and HBO Max, and don’t have any vested curiosity in creating new content material that does not maintain full streaming rights. That is why each firms offered a majority stake in The CW to Nextstar. With the brand new proprietor revealing plans to chop prices and make the CW worthwhile by 2025, it is uncertain the community will nonetheless commit the identical stage of sources to primetime superhero exhibits. If something, let’s hope the revamped CW pivots fully away from unique content material in favor of extra syndicated reruns.
None of this even contains the potential influence of the latest Warner Bros. Discovery merger on the Arrowverse. That merger has already resulted within the cancellation of the Batgirl film, and a number of other different DC tasks are at risk of being reduce. However as we established, the Arrowverse was ending earlier than the merger.
Will The Arrowverse Keep On HBO Max?
There’s little motive to be optimistic in regards to the Arrowverse’s long-term future. It is already been shortened to a handful of exhibits, and the finale of The Flash in 2023 mainly marks the tip of the Arrowverse as we all know it. With the entire lack of latest information surrounding Justice League, that individual spinoff appears useless within the water.
That being mentioned, there are nonetheless the dual query marks of Superman & Lois and Gotham Knights. The CW has not but revealed whether or not both present might be renewed, however neither has been canceled. Superman and Lois has all the time been a unusual oddity that not often ties into the bigger Arrowverse. In truth, showrunner Todd Helbing just lately confirmed that the sequence isn’t set in the identical universe as The Flash, Supergirl and others. That is regardless of Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch reprising their Supergirl roles and visitor appearances by different Arrowverse veterans Jenna Dewan’s Lucy Lane and David Ramsay’s John Diggle.
It would really be excellent news that Superman and Lois has severed its Arrowverse connections. This could possibly be an indication that Warner Bros. sees a long-term future for the Discovery sequence past the tip of The Flash and CW gross sales. Superman & Lois already streams on HBO Max, so it isn’t unimaginable that the sequence could possibly be rebranded as an HBO Max unique and stay a very standalone DC present. As is at the moment the case with Stargirl , we might even see HBO Max license new seasons to air on the CW.
The way forward for Gotham Knights is bleak if solely as a result of HBO Max already has plenty of Batman content material. The streamer could also be much less concerned about persevering with a sequence in a post-Batman Gotham Metropolis whereas it is busy discovering the world of Matt Reeves’ The Batman. They could see Gotham Knights as too just like Titans (a sequence whose personal future is now in query).
The long-term way forward for each exhibits will finally rely upon Warner Bros. Discovery’s evolving DC technique. If Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav intends to observe the Marvel Studios mannequin and concentrate on a shared universe of interconnected films and TV exhibits, the studio might not wish to proceed with Superman & Lois, Gotham Knights or HBO’s present crop. Max exhibits. However alternatively, the latest determination to greenlight Joker: Folie à Deux exhibits that Zaslav sees some worth in DC tasks.
The Arrowverse is fading, and now there’s little hope of that altering. However 13 years is a reasonably good run for a shared TV universe. Solely time will inform if WBD can recreate that magic on HBO Max.
Jesse is a mild-mannered employees author for IGN. Let him offer you a machete to your mental wooden Following @jschedeen on Twitter.