The arrowverse spans multiple shows, numerous cameos and guest appearances, animated tie ins and what has become annual crossovers; but after eight years is it time that this incarnation of the arrowverse was rebranded and perhaps brought to a close?
On the 28th of January 2020 The flagship title for the Arrowverse was brought to a close after a respectable eight season run. In the world of comics it’s not unheard of for mantles to be passed on or characters to come back from the grave, so it is entirely possible that the series could return in some capacity. One such possibility is Green arrow and the canaries which was set up in the final season of Arrow, with Oliver Queen’s daughter ready to take up the mantle. This series is still on the cards though not currently in production.
Are there other cracks showing in the arrowverse?
There is a growing concern that many of the shows are reaching a point of franchise fatigue. The Flash has been going for six seasons and with Supernatural coming to an end it will become the CW’s longest running genre series. Those are some pretty big boots to fill. Legends of tomorrow has five seasons under its belt and has also been renewed but with the series lead actress Caity Lotz expected to have a scaled down role when the show returns. Series regulars Brandon Routh and Maisie Richardson-Sellers have also both left though it should be noted that Legends of Tomorrow is known for a rotating roster of heroes. Batwoman is recasting its lead after just one season. Ruby Rose departed, citing mutual irreconcilable differences. Lastly we have Supergirl, which has seen ratings in decline and has been rumored to be next in line on the chopping block.
Crisis on Infinite Earths was huge, could that help save things?
For those not in the know, Crisis on Infinite Earths spun the entire franchise with call backs to numerous past shows and several cameos. The purpose of this event was to strip down the arrow multiverse into one with fewer different realities. It will be difficult to top an event of this scale any time soon. There’s also the danger that many will have viewed this as the perfect jumping off point.
If the Arrowverse ends, what would replace it?
One option would be to shift the arrowverse towards DC’s A-listers with a focus on Batman, Superman and Wonder woman taking up the lead. A new Superman series titled Superman and Lois has already been green lit. So this idea might not be as far fetched as it would have seemed ten years ago. With television now entering an age in which cinematic looking productions are achievable it might finally be time for DC to go all out on the small screen.
Given the short comings of DC’s cinematic run or late, it makes sense to rebuild the reputations of their biggest heroes on the small screen. DC has shown a capacity to dominate Marvel when it comes to animated films and TV so it seems pretty self evident that there is wisdom in playing to their strengths.
How would that impact on DC’s cinema output?
Shazam and Joker both showed that a different approach is needed there too. Joker illustrated how a tight character study with strong acting can suprise audiences and critics alike. Shazam on the other hand illustrates how a relatively known character can find an audience very quickly. It might be time that they stepped back and placed the focus on lesser known characters and tales set outside the traditional canon often referred to Elseworld stories.
What else could change in a rebooted TV universe?
One option would be to keep the crossover events outside of the individual titles. This means a Batman fan could watch the complete run of his show years later without needing to commit to a handful of other programs. This drastically improves rewatchability for future generations. A similar approach worked incredibly well with DC’s Batman the animated series which to this day is considered by many to be the definitive version of the Dark Knight. There were a number of other animated shows set within the same continuity but crossovers rarely took place. The advantage of this model is that fans can pick and choose which shows appeal to them and skip any that they dislike.
How would a reboot like this be implemented?
If such a reboot occurs, it makes sense to use one final crossover event. There are a few options on the table, but our favourite would be to have Flash use the speedforce to drastically alter time aka Flashpoint. This would enable CW to retain any specific Arrowverse actors that they want for the new timeline whilst adding new people.
Alternatively they set these storylines on the existing Earth Prime, and have a Batman series focus either on a returning grizzled Batman or show his adventures in the past leading to why he disappeared from Gotham. They could use another Earth in the multiverse as the setting or they could have another infinity crisis event to restructure the whole of the DC TV universe.
Whilst it’s impossible to know exactly what the future holds for the Arrowverse. One thing remains a certainty, at some point CW will need to reassess and restructure the franchise. Even the most successful brands such as Star Wars and Star Trek have undergone drastic overhauls. The franchise may go on but it’s not uncommon for soft reboots to happen. Reboots are a great way to create a jumping on point for new fans. All that said time only time will tell where the Arrowverse goes next, but whatever happens we look forward to seeing where it goes. If you liked this article be sure to check out my article on if Star Trek is a dying franchise.