It's been a great day to be a fan of the DC TV Universe. Various producers and networks associated with the hottest DC properties on television (as well as some of the more anticipated ones slated to appear soon) addressed the media at the Television Critics Association Semi-Annual Winter Press Tour. And to say there was a massive news dump of DC TVU information is an understatement.
I have been a huge fan of the DC TV Universe since the first season of Arrow aired on The CW but I completely fell in love with it when things really started to heat up in season two. Warner Bros. and DC Comics have also been working on a cinematic universe to rival that of Marvel Studios, which kicked off in 2013 with the Superman reboot, Man of Steel... but I believe the best non-comics DC Universe is already on television.
Arrow started off as a self contained series in vain of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy with the occasional third and fourth tier Batman villain making an appearance. It was a captivating enough show with great performances (especially from series lead, Stephen Amell) and the updated versions of some DC Comics' lesser villains (like turning the Royal Flush Gang into a family of bank robbers in card themed hockey masks) made for some great geek out moments. However, when Deathstroke, Brother Blood, Barry Allen (aka The Flash) and the Suicide Squad started to expand the universe things got really exciting.
And now the news coming out of the Press Tour just goes to show how much bigger the DC TVU is going to get. Let's take a look at how that is happening show-by-show.
[SPOILER ALERT] Everything from this point on contains spoilers for the current seasons of The CW's Arrow and The Flash as well as speculation towards CBS' Supergirl and TNT's, Titans. You've been warned. You've been...SPOILER WARNED!
The mid-season finale had a lot of big reveals and shocking twists. Oliver found out that Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) had mind-controlled his sister Thea (Willa Holland) to kill Sara (Caity Lotz), which has been the big mystery for the first half of the season. Using the danger that Thea is now in as leverage, Malcolm makes Oliver confess to the murder of Sara and challenge Ra's al Ghul (Matt Nable) to a fight to the death as a means to clear everyone's name and get the League of Assassins to stop hunting Malcolm.
It doesn't go well. In fact, Oliver is left for dead on the side of a mountain after having been run through with Ra's al Ghul's sword.
Therein lies the future of Starling City and the first steps towards the bigger, newer DC TV Universe. With Oliver gone, more masked heroes are going to need to step up and make their presence known. Diggle (David Ramsey) and Roy "Arsenal" Harper (Colton Haynes) are going to have to take over Team Arrow and [series star] Stephen Amell is quite excited about that.
"I personally ... love when there is adversity for the protagonist and when we give other characters on the show [the chance] to acquit themselves and come more into leading roles," said Amell. "We are 50-plus episodes in the show. If we don't give other characters the opportunity to shoulder the load, then we give viewers nothing to attach them to."
We're also going to finally see Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) make her grand appearance as the Black Canary – a move which has been a long time coming.
"I've been waiting for this to happen and am obviously very excited and thrilled about it," Cassidy said. "She goes from avenging her sister, to honoring her sister, to becoming her sister.”
Also coming out of the mid-season finale was Ray Palmer's (Brandon Routh) revelation to Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) that he is using Queen Consolidated resources to build his A.T.O.M. exosuit following a fatal attack by the Mirakuru soldiers a year prior. So Ray will be suiting up in the back half of the season and will be taking those first steps when the show returns on January 21.
And speaking of Ray Palmer, that brings us to the next big (albeit unofficial) news of the press tour...
Arrow producer Greg Berlanti was asked about the possibility of another spin-off featuring Brandon Routh's fan favorite character and his response was just as promising as it was teasing:
“We’re in very early talks in a very general idea that we haven’t gone deeper on yet,” he replied.
Although not appearing on screen for very long at a time, Brandon Routh has been one of the most enjoyable parts of Arrow's third season. The former Superman Returns star brings so much enthusiasm and excitement to what has been a rather bleak and intense series. If the back half of the series pays off and we actually get a successful adaptation of The Atom on screen then I would love to see that pan out into a new series.
Arrow's original spin-off also dropped a bomb on its fans. In the mid-season finale, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) finally came face-to-face with "the man in the yellow suit" (known to comic book fans as The Reverse Flash), the man who killed his mother. The episode had two big reveals at the end. One was that Cisco (Carlos Valdes) believes that there were two speedsters in the room the night of Nora Allen's murder and not just the one that Barry says he saw. This would obviously make sense as young Barry had mysteriously ended up a couple blocks away right before his mother died. Does Barry learn how to time travel and attempt to save his mom? That's a likely scenario and he ends up saving his young self instead. Or perhaps the second speedster isn't Barry. The Flash lore is full of time traveling speedsters that could be popping in to help out, such as Max Mercury and Bart Allen. We'll just have to see how that plays out.
The other big reveal, which was the true shocker of the episode, was that Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) actually is The Reverse Flash.
DUN DUN DUUUUNNNNN!
Dr. Wells goes into his hidden future room at S.T.A.R. labs and reveals that he has the yellow suit and talks in the Reverse Flash's evil vibrating voice. Personally, I did not buy this when I saw the episode. It seemed like a way too obvious mid-season misdirect. I was choosing to believe that he's not really the Reverse Flash and has a different explanation for the yellow suit. The other reason I couldn't get on board with this is that in the comics The Reverse Flash's identity is Eobard Thawne, which has an obvious connection to series co-star Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett). However, at the press tour, the man himself spoke out.
Tom Cavangh revealed that he is indeed The Reverse Flash. But [executive producer] Andrew Kreisberg did touch on the Eddie dilemma:
"Eddie's connection to the Reverse-Flash lore is going to pay off big time in the back half of the year," Kreisberg said, referring to the character's comic book history.
Maybe Eddie is a younger version of Harrison Wells? Or perhaps he's the other Reverse Flash, as there have been more than one. Needless to say it's going to be an exciting back half to The Flash's freshman season.
Also coming out of the press tour was the first real look at Robbie Amell's Firestorm costume:
Greg Berlanti's next foray into the DC TV Universe is happening not on The CW but on the network's sister station, CBS. The CW had passed on it pitch siting that it didn't fit with their lineup of programming but CBS jumped at the opportunity to finally join in the ever popular superhero genre.
It was revealed that, with Supergirl airing on CBS, we can expect it to be a superhero crime procedural. CBS entertainment chairman, Nina Tassler, had this to say:
“There will be [crime] cases, but what [executive producers] Ali Adler and Greg Berlanti pitched was a real series arc for her,” she said. “The beauty of it is now with shows like Good Wife and Madam Secretary, you can have serialized story elements woven into a case of the week. She’s a crime solver, so she’s going to have to solve a crime. She’s going to get a bad guy.”
Personally, I like the idea of a superhero crime procedural. What helps set The Flash apart from Arrow is the difference in atmosphere between the two shows. Arrow is a darker, more serious show that's just as much about the consequences the actions have on its characters as it is the positives. The Flash, on the other hand, is a much more lighthearted show that explores the pure satisfaction of someone using the gifts he's been given to help those in need. So Supergirl can be just as much a superhero show as all of the others while still exploring more of the procedural crime solving side. It helps it stand on its own and subsequently builds a wider audience.
There's still no casting announced for the series but a lot of actresses' names have been getting tossed around including British actress Gemma Atkinson (Devil's Pass) and Claire Holt (The Originals). However, the lack of a star isn't stopping pre-production from getting a costume produced.
“We have seen the costume,” Tassler said. “Awesome costume.” Oscar winning designer, Colleen Atwood (whom has also designed the costumes for Arrow and The Flash) is designing the costumes for Supergirl.
I love the costumes on Arrow and The Flash. Colleen Atwood did a fantastic job adapting the look from comics to match the more grounded and practical approach by the shows. I can't wait to see what she comes up with for Supergirl.
The CW's Mark Pedowitz also noted that he's not going to rule out a possible crossover between CBS' Supergirl and his network's Arrow and The Flash (seeing as how they have the same creative teams and all). This has been a question on everyone's mind ever since the series was announced. Obviously, it would be great to have them crossover because that would mean a larger and more cohesive DC Universe on TV. Plus, since part of the premise of the series is Supergirl coming out of the shadow of her famous cousin, it opens up the possibility of Superman existing in the Arrow and Flash universe as well. And THAT is something to be excited about.
Even if there's a conflict between networks to actually have Supergirl crossover to The CW and/or Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin crossing over to CBS, there are ways to connect the shows together. Something as simple as a reference to Starling City could work or having a third tier character (like Robert Knepper's Clock King) make an appearance on the CBS series. Regardless, there's a lot of potential for the next series in the DC TVU lineup.
Lastly, we come to a bit of speculation and hearsay regarding...
It was announced that Warner Bros. cable network, TNT, was developing a series based on the Teen Titans. Simply titled Titans, the series would likely follow the more mature versions of the characters as depicted in the later comics. Little is known about this series except that it's NOT being developed by Berlanti, Kreisberg and crew (at least not to my knowledge). However, it is still rumored to have some possible crossovers with the other shows as it is still a Warner Bros. property.
See what happens when the same company holds the rights to all of the characters in a comic company's library? The possibilities are endless.
I would love to see Colton Haynes make some appearances on the show as Arsenal and it would be amazing to have them go up against Manu Bennett's Deathstroke from time to time (though he sadly wouldn't be a regular as he has just been cast in MTV's Shannara series).
The main news coming out of Titans right now is the speculation that The Vampire Diaries co-star, Steven R. McQueen, is departing the popular vampire drama with his sights set on playing Nightwing in the new superhero series. McQueen has been trying to get the role (both on Arrow and more recently on Titans) for a while now by reaching out to various folks on Twitter.
This was also teased a little bit by The Vampire Diaries' executive producer, Julie Plec, when she spoke to THR:
"He’ll always be welcome to join us for important events — unless [McQueen] finally gets his wish to play a superhero and he’s unavailable."
I like the idea of McQueen tackling the role of Nightwing and, again, would love to see him mix it up with the Arrow/Flash (and Supergirl) verse. But for right now that's wishful thinking and speculation.
Well, that's it for now everyone. Sorry if this one ran a bit long. There was a lot to cover. I'm really excited to see the DC TVU taking off so well and can't wait to see all of the aforementioned stuff come to fruition. It's a great time to be fan.