Stretching over five shows -- six, if you count Black Lightning as the hero is will appear in the coming "Crisis on Infinite Earths" -- and nearly eight years by the time Arrow closes out its run in January, The CW's Arrowverse is undeniably a force for DCTV and, in some ways, popular culture itself as the heroes of not just Arrow but Supergirl, The Flash, Batwoman, and DC's Legends of Tomorrow have become household names off the comic book page. However, it turns out that the world of the Arrowverse was never really planned. Back in 2012 when Arrow first hit television screens there weren't any plans for more shows with superheroes, according to series creators Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, both Berlanti and Guggenheim explained that while it would be easy to think there was a grand plan with how it's all worked out, it's something that just happened over time.
"A lot of people like to think we did," Berlanti said. "Each step was a surprise."
Guggenheim went a bit further, noting that the whole existence and evolution of the Arrowverse is something he'd describe as unbelievable.
"If I had to pick one word, I'd say 'unbelievable,'" he said. "The truth is [the unexpected expansion]really speaks to my whole philosophy about building a universe. The best way to do that is to do one good show. That one is really hard. Then if you succeed, do a second really good show."
That philosophy clearly is one that replicate even beyond that second "really good show". Two years after Arrow debuted, The Flash hit The CW in 2014. It was followed the next year by Supergirl -- which, despite debuting on CBS was part of the multiverse established by The Flash -- and DC's Legends of Tomorrow. Black Lightning, though not initially part of the Arrowverse, debuted on the network in 2018 and this fall, Batwoman made her series debut. And there's more in the works. Green Arrow and the Canaries, a female-led Arrow spinoff, and Superman & Lois, which will focus on Supergirl's Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane, are both in development.
Here is the current Arrowverse lineup: Batwoman on Sundays at 8/7c followed by Supergirl at 9/8c. Black Lightning on Mondays at 9/8c. The Flash on Tuesdays at 8/7c followed by Arrow at 9/8c. DC's Legends of Tomorrow will return in January. The next Arrowverse crossover, "Crisis on Infinite Earths," kicks of Sunday, December 8 at 8/7c.