During their presentation to the Television Critics Association today, representatives for The CW announced the renewal of all four of their DC Comics adaptations.
They also surprised fans with the announcement of a forthcoming animated series, to join Vixen and Freedom Fighters: The Ray on CW Wees, where Matt Ryan will again reprise his role as John Constantine.
Without producer input or a sense for the esecond half of the seasons on the currently-ongoing series, it's difficult to know just what might be coming up next year, obviously...but there are some things we can speculate about, especially as it pertains to shows like Constantine and Supergirl, where they are a little more tenuously related to the rest of the series so the possibilities for their worlds are wide open.
So here's some speculation, educated guesses, and probably a little bit of wishful thinking as to what we might see on the upcoming seasons of Supergirl, The Flash, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Arrow, and Constantine.
Supergirl can breathe a sigh of relief.
Last season, the show started out strong but its viewership dwindled and for most of the second half of season 1, there was some question as to whether it would come back at all. Rumors that it would move to The CW seemed like wishful thinking, and when CBS seemed reluctant to pull the trigger on a second season fans were left in suspense for months until a deal was finally struck to keep it alive.
This season, it's one of The CW's most popular shows, with stronger reviews than last year and -- most importantly to the cast and crew -- a renewal announced in January.
What can we expect from Supergirl next year, that's different from this year?
First of all, don't be surprised if they try to tie into the other Arrowverse shows a bit more next year, since the "Invasion!" crossover was massive for all involved and Supergirl got the least bump since its midseason finale was barely a tie-in.
Second, they will likely have to decide on a long-term solution for the Cat Grant problem. The character, played by TV icon Calista Flockhart, was a major player in the show's first season but appeared only in the first couple of episodes this year. The door has been left wide open for her return, but Flockhart did not move to Vancouver with the production so her character has been on a "hiatus" for a while. It might be a thing where they need to make a decision -- even if that decision is to get rid of her in some way -- if they're going to have a long-term life at The CW in Vancouver.prevnext
The Flash is probably the hardest to predict.
First of all, each season on The Flash has been a completely different animal to the ones before it. The first season, it was all about the singularity, and it was fairly self-contained and episodic. The next season, that became Earth-2. The multiverse was introduced, even if they didn't do a ton with it.
This year, of course, it's been time travel.
The logical thing would be to assume that next season the mythology of the Speed Force will continue to deepend. Now that he's established relationships with Jesse Quick (Earth-2) and Jay Garrick (Earth-3), there could be more potential for crossovers there, and the possibility of expanding the multiverse further.
The Flash has quickly become The CW's flagship show, even if reviewers have generally agreed that the first season was its best. What they might do well to do is to focus on creating a single, coherent narrative for season 4 and see where it takes them. One of the challenges they're facing in season 3 is a perceived lack of focus, since "Flashpoint" was the focus of all the pre-season speculation and excitement and now that we're in the second half of the season, that's pretty much gone altogether.prevnext
DC'S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW
The crew of the Waverider were, like Riverdale, not yet on the air at this time last year.
That means that they were waiting longer to get renewed by a long stretch than they have been this season, and that should give some relief, not unlike what we described for Team Supergirl.
The big thing that knowing this far in advance earns the Legends of Tomorrow team is the ability to make changes in advance, rather than on the fly. The series didn't entirely find its identity until the last few episodes of the first season, and while this year has been a huge step forward in that regard, it's got to be helpful to have 9 months to plan your next move.
Episode counts aren't known, of course, so the plan at this point might be to find either a villain or villain team that they really want...or a story they could adapt. There are a handful of great DC time travel stories, and latching onto one of those as the series' high concept could give season 3 a sense of direction that Vandal Savage and the Legion of Doom haven't exactly, with the central focus of the show's high concept being centered on its villains rather than the heroes and their story.prevnext
We did a whole thing on this, so we'll keep it short.
Arrow will likely be the show most affected (other than Constantine) by the renewal.
The flashback device, something that has been a part of the show since the pilot, will be not entirely going away next year, but pretty much gone as a weekly thing. And of course we still don't know how the events of this season will impact the makeup of Team Arrow going forward.prevnext
Constantine is a question mark. Without the involvement of original showrunner Daniel Cerone and with NBC no longer a part of the equation, some of the more tantalizing ideas for a "season two" may not be available.
Until it does or doesn't play in, it's hard to guess whether the rising darkness, the look and feel of Chas and Zed, or other elements from the TV show are available to the writers. Could we see an animated season that ties up some dangling plot threads from the cancelled NBC show?
Even more tantalizing for fans of the comics, might we see one or more of the scripts that were commissioned but never produced -- which included characters like Doctor 13 and other DC heroes and villains who would have been making their live-action debut -- come to some kind of life?
Again, these are great options, if Warner Bros. can make them happen without the involvement of some of the original players. It's equally likely, though, that with Constantine's magical powers, they might try to tie him into existing Arrowverse players like Damien Darhk and Vixen.
Come to think of it, he did suggest some knowledge of Darhk when he visited Oliver in Star City...!prevnext
Let's face it: a big part of the reason they can renew all these shows before the midseason premieres even air is the phenomenal success of the "Invasion!" crossover.
The three-night, four-show crossover brought The CW a week of the best ratings they've had in nearly a decade.0comments
The question, of course, is how you expand from there. Now that the network has proven that it's capable of handling a crossover with four shows and a dozen or so heroes, the next obvious step is to add some exciting guest stars.
It's certainly no guarantee that just because there's an animated Constantine happening that Matt Ryan's character will show up in a live action crossover...but it's hard to ignore huge fan demand -- that's why there's more Constantine at all -- and there's certainly plenty of demand to see characters like Superman and Constantine interacting with the heroes of the CW DC Universe.prev