CW’s Arrowverse will no longer have the show that started it all after the announcement that Arrow will end after a 10-episode eighth season later this year.
The show is completing its seventh season and one would presume that the 10 episodes that will air in the fall will include one episode that will be part of the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover — and thus be Arrow’s final episode.
Arrow premiered in the fall of 2012, its premise inspired in part by The Dark Knight trilogy of Batman films. It focused on Oliver Queen, who returned home to his family after having been thought to have died at sea. The first five seasons followed the tale of how Oliver transformed into the hero known as the Green Arrow, with flashbacks that detailed his years away from his family — much of it where he was stranded on the island Lian Yu.
Who could have guessed that the series, when it premiered, would lead to a larger universe of shows focused on comic book superheroes? Arrow’s early success allowed the creative team to bring Barry Allen into the fold and, from there, roll out The Flash series. Arrow also put lesser-known comic characters such as Felicity Smoak into the spotlight and brought an original creation, John Diggle, who became one of the series’ anchors.
From there emerged what came to be known as the Arrowverse, in which multiple characters who appeared on Arrow and Flash came together for Legends of Tomorrow — a series that thrust another original creation for Arrow, Sara Lance, into a bigger spotlight.
The success of the shows prompted CBS to pick up the pilot for Supergirl, which aired on the network for one season, before moving to CW. An appearance by Barry Allen in the first season of Supergirl paved the way for that show to become part of the Arrowverse.
In other words, regardless of one’s opinion about Arrow, it was the show that paved the way for a number of other superhero shows to hit the airwaves. It also demonstrated that it was possible to produce a serialized TV series based on a superhero, keep it realistic to a degree but stay within a modest budget.
The announcement that Arrow will end after the 10-episode eighth season would suggest that Oliver Queen will sacrifice himself during Crisis on Infinite Earths — a possibility that was teased during the Elseworlds crossover last December.
But even if the creative team goes a different direction and has Oliver retire or fade from the spotlight otherwise, one could guess he’ll leave a lasting impact to some degree on the rest of the heroes. Does his sacrifice, whatever it may be, lead to others believing it’s time to come together for a greater purpose — such as the forming of the Justice League?
That could be a possibility given the reports that some cast members on Flash are thinking abut moving on. Given that Flash is the highest-rated show in the Arrowverse at this time, it would make sense to introduce a new concept for Team Flash. It could also be a new concept for Supergirl’s team of superheroes, given that she’s no longer working on behalf of the DEO.
Whatever the creative team has planned for Crisis on Infinite Earths, it’s clear that Berlanti Productions believes the Arrowverse can keep going without the show that started it all. With the success that other shows have had, plus plans to roll out new shows (Batwoman would be the notable one), CW will likely have plenty of superhero shows to roll out for years to come.
But give credit to Arrow for getting the ball rolling. Not every season was up to par, but the show’s creators proved that superhero TV shows could work, which set the table for every other show that has followed in its footsteps.
(Note: Last week I said I would talk about Heroes in Crisis, but I wanted to address the Arrow announcement first. I will write about Heroes in Crisis next week instead.)