The #Arrowverse has existed for almost five years, and in that time we've been introduced to heroes like The Flash, The Atom, Black Canary, Vibe, Hawkgirl, Vixen and many others. But two fan-favorites have yet to make an appearance in Earth-1: Batman and Superman.
We've even been introduced to #Supergirl and Superman. Unfortunately, the family of steel live in an alternate universe, more specifically, Earth-38, so... what's going on with Supes' and Bats' Earth-1 counterparts? Because, other than a few nods here and there, the existence of these two icons on Earth-1 has seemed to be highly unlikely.
Some have attributed this to the fact that the #DCEU is still trying to find its footing and therefore DC couldn't risk having a more successful version of the movie characters on television. But that's not the case. It turns out Batman and Superman's absence has to do with continuity and all the evidence has been sitting in the different shows set in the Arrowverse all along. I wanted to connect the dots and show how Supes and Bats' appearance is just a matter of time.
Do Batman And Superman Exist In Earth-1?
We need to establish this before we go on any further. Short answer: Yes. While not mentioned directly, numerous nods to both of them have been made throughout the different shows comprising the Arrowverse. Here are the biggest ones:
In the fourth season of #Arrow, episode "A.W.O.L.", Felicity Smoak finally gets a codename - "Overwatch" - courtesy of Oliver Queen. The billionaire archer stated he thought about "Oracle" but the name was taken. That's a clear reference to former Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, who, after being paralyzed by The Joker, essentially became tech-support and genius mastermind on steroids (like, Bane's venom-type steroids) for various superheroes, going by the codename "Oracle."
- Men of Steel and Dark Knights:
In the first episode of Legends of Tomorrow, Rip Hunter mentions to his crew how he's seen "Men of Steel die and Dark Knights fall." I think we can all guess who he was referring to.
- Metropolis and Gotham:
#LegendsofTomorrow scrolls through names of different places around the world when the team travels to different locations. I noticed that Metropolis and Gotham City are regularly scrolled through. These two cities are synonymous with Superman and Batman, and they simply wouldn't mean much without these two superheroes representing them.
- Arkham City:
A few months ago, I discovered that one of the locations scrolled through in LoT was Arkham City. And there's no other way around it when it comes to the controversial super prison: Arkham City is entirely a #Batman story, so this Easter Egg confirmed that the Dark-Knight-centric event is canon in the Arrowverse.
So, yes, Batman and Superman exist in Earth-1. The thing is, why haven't they shown up at all? Well, like I said before, because of continuity. Their absence is thanks to...
The Flash's Time Predicament
Barry Allen became #TheFlash in 2013 after being hit by the S.T.A.R. Labs' particle accelerator explosion. That came courtesy of Eobard Thawne (who was masquerading as Harrison Wells), who planned the "accident" for years in order to give Allen powers. That was because he had gone back in time, murdered Allen's mother and as a result of a ripple effect, he lost his powers. So the villainous speedster tasked himself with creating the Flash years before he was meant to happen in order to return to the future as quickly as he could.
Barry was originally meant to become The Flash in 2023, but Thawne moved that event up ten years, placing Flash's story before the DC Universe unfolded. Let's put it this way: If #Superman and Batman originally popped up, let's say around 2020, they were years into their crime-fighting careers when Flash appeared in 2023.
In most comic books and animated adaptations, Barry Allen is more fresh-faced and inexperienced in the superhero game than other fellow heroes. But the timeline shift turned the tables on that dynamic by making him the seasoned superhero by the time other costumed crime-fighters start to pop up.
A great example to illustrate this is #GreenLantern: We caught a glimpse of Hal Jordan during a flashback in Arrow. The event that turned him into a Green Lantern was even described by The Flash when Captain Cold stated Ferris Air was shut down:
"It did. One of their test pilots disappeared."
These nods point to everyone's favorite rebel pilot being already a part of the Green Lantern Corps. But he hasn't shown up because with a glowing green ring on the Arrowverse just yet. Well, in the #comics, after receiving his ring, Hal Jordan goes to Oa for some time to train. So The Flash most likely takes place during Jordan's training period.
Now, we've established what the time shift did, but how do we know Batman and Superman existed before that in Earth-1?
Flash's Original Ties To The Justice League
Believe it or not, the Arrowverse has subtly explored Earth-1's former status quo. Let's begin with Harrison Well's future newspaper, which famously featured a story titled "Wayne Tech/Queen Inc. Merger Complete":
It showed that Batman/Bruce Wayne was active at that point in time and obviously that a relationship between Green Arrow and him had been established. And that's not just a theory on my part.
When Season 1 of The Flash was airing, the show's official Facebook page used to post comic book teasers of scenes from upcoming episodes. One was made for the episode where Team Flash encounter Gideon and figure out that Dr. Wells is actually the Reverse Flash. And in one panel, Gideon tells Flash he's one of the founding members of the #JusticeLeague:
While in the TV show, Gideon doesn't say "Justice," these #comicbook teasers are canon. So in the original timeline, Barry Allen becomes a member of the Justice League. To summarize it, Batman and Superman have not appeared because Flash takes place years before they became superheroes, or in Batman's case, before he became more than an urban myth.
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Therefore, if there's anyone to blame for Batman and Superman's absence on Earth-1, it would be the evil version of Harrison Wells. Fortunately, we are already a few years into Earth-1's timeline, so don't be surprised if we see the Caped Crusader or the Big Blue Boy Scout pop up at any given moment.