In the last days of 2020, The CW released the trailer for Superman & Lois, the latest series to join the network's so-called Arrowverse of interconnected television series inspired by DC Comics. The Superman-centric series is one that fans have been excited about since it was first announced in October 2019, but it comes at an interesting time. The Arrowverse landscape is one that's changing -- and not simply because of "Crisis on Infinite Earths". Arrow has already ended its run and it was announced last year that both Supergirl and Black Lightning are ending as well. At the same time, new shows are in development as well, both on The CW and for the other "home" for DC television, HBO Max. With so much shifting and changing, what was once the Arrowverse is starting to feel like a very different place and it may just be time to let that concept go.
In a sense, the Arrowverse has already set itself up for a post-Arrowverse reality. The epic crossover event not only brought Black Lightning into things -- the series had previously been considered outside of the Arrowverse -- and established that other DC series such as Doom Patrol, Titans, DC's Stargirl, and Swamp Thing were all in the same multiverse, albeit on different earths. Even the movies got roped in, with a clever nod to the 1989 Batman movie in the crossover opening and a surprise appearance of Ezra Miller's Flash in the event's penultimate hour. At the time, fans read these appearances as those other shows and films being brought into the Arrowverse, but the reverse is actually just as likely. By revealing that all of these other DC properties exist in a larger Multiverse, it also means that the Arrowverse is just one small pocket of a much, much larger whole especially with "Crisis" ending with those other worlds being essentially "lost" to the Arrowverse whose heroes think that they are the only world that survived.
It's the idea of Arrowverse simply being a much smaller part of a large world that fits in with the changes we've seen since then. Arrow ended last year following "Crisis", but even with the announcement of Superman & Lois it hasn't exactly been forward motion since then. DC's Stargirl, originally set to be a DC Universe release ended up being broadcast on The CW in addition to the streaming platform and, for its second season, is making the leap to The CW fully. With that series' focus being so set on its own world and, specifically, the town of Blue Valley, Nebraska, it's hard to imagine at the moment a scenario that would justify a team up between Courtney Whitmore and the Arrowverse heroes. Both Titans and Doom Patrol seem out as well. Both shows have much more adult themes than what we're used to in the Arrowverse, something likely to continue with both series now exclusively on HBO Max.
As for shows on The CW itself, that's been changing as well. In September it was announced that Supergirl would end with its upcoming sixth season and then, in November, it was announced that Black Lightning's upcoming fourth season would also be its last. At the same time, the network is developing additional new series as well, including Naomi from Ava DuVernay, the Black Lightning spinoff Painkiller, and Wonder Girl series that will focus not on Donna Troy but instead on Yara Flor, daughter of an Amazonian warrior and a Brazilian river god. Of those three series, while Painkiller certainly fits into the Arrowverse as we know it, both Naomi and Wonder Girl seem poised to be outside of it, perhaps suggesting that the network is looking to move on from the world Arrow built.
The idea that the Arrowverse a central "destination", if you will, kind of loses something as DC Films explores the Multiverse as well. The upcoming The Flash movie will see Miller's speedster encounter not just the DCEU Batman (Ben Affleck) but the Batman from another world (Michael Keaton) while a completely different Batman in Robert Pattinson exists somewhere else entirely. By extension, Batwoman's Batman -- who has been missing since that show's debut -- is arguably separate as well.
With all of these shifts and changes it's easy to see that the Arrowverse isn't exactly what it once was. The days of the Arrowverse being the central point of the DC Universe in a broad sense are over. As new series are developed and debut across multiple platforms and the film world also begins to explore the idea of a Multiverse, the house that Arrow built is starting to become more of a corner of a larger world rather than the larger world itself. As shows end, it feels like the time to let go of the idea of the Arrowverse is here.
What do you think? Is it time to move on from the idea of the Arrowverse and instead embrace a larger DC Multiverse or will it always be the Arrowverse for you? Let us know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @lifeinpolaroid to talk all things DC!