All things considered, The CW’s much-praised Arrowverse show lineup, consisting of Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and, coming in 2018, Black Lightning, is the best live-action adaptation of DC comics since The Dark Knight. Even Fox’s Gotham struggles from a poor handling of intellectual properties. The Arrowverse features actors who breath life and levity into superhero soap operas, understands that the interesting element of superheroes isn’t the mythic quality they give their character ideals but the ideals themselves, and, most importantly, has found a perfect balance between character drama and comic book lore to appeal to mainstream audiences and hardcore comic fans respectively.
However, this is a mixed blessing that has defined the Arrowverse, in that it provides the stories and features the characters that it can, but is limited by licensing issues and budgetary restraints. The closest The CW comes to turning their shows into a fully-realized adaptation is during the crossover events they feature where various properties appear on other shows. Sometimes this goes well, like that Avengers-style “Invasion!” arc, and sometimes it doesn’t, i.e. The Flash/Supergirl musical crossover. But even in these events, there’s only so much The CW can authorize and there are some tales that just won’t happen.
There are several reasons why The CW won’t be putting any form of the Injustice comics onto screens. Apart from not having full access to key characters from the storyline like Batman and Wonder Woman, the major reason why is that the only intrinsic way to tie Injustice into the Arrowverse is to kill off Green Arrow the same way the comics do, with a valiant sacrifice in the face of a corrupted Superman.
Even if multiple shows have outright stated that Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen isn’t going away any time soon, there’s absolutely no way that The CW would be comfortable killing off the character and the actor that more-or-less put them on the map and alienate most of their audience — both casual and die-hard fans alike.
14. GREEN ARROW/BLACK CANARY: WEDDING ALBUM
Unfortunately, as of the shocking end of season five and including some mild spoilers from season six, it doesn’t appear that viewers will get to see the fabled comic book couple of Green Arrow and Black Canary wed onscreen. Fans know that Oliver chose to pursue Emily Rickards’s Felicity Smoak instead of Katie Cassidy’s Laurel Lance, the first Black Canary, but their back and forth relationship and the establishment of Juliana Harkavy’s Dinah Drake as the new Black Canary introduced the idea that she and Oliver may get together in the future.
That won’t be enough though, mostly because even in the unlikely event that The CW will go in that direction, the “Wedding Album” story would still require an army of Amazons and DC probably want the one good aspect of their cinematic universe contained to said universe (and the big screen).
13. UNDER LOCK AND KEY
Consisting of JLA #8-9, the “Under Lock and Key” storyline was the young Green Arrows’s proving moment to the Justice League. While all the higher profile and marquis heroes were trapped on the Watchtower and under the control of the villainous Key, Green Arrow infiltrated their base, freed them from the Key’s oppression, and proved himself a worthy member of the Justice League.
So why couldn’t this work in an Arrowverse crossover? Well first off The CW can’t show most of the Justice League. Second off, the Green Arrow in “Under Lock and Key” isn’t Oliver Queen but rather Connor Hawke, his son and the second Green Arrow. If The CW wants to use this story, it’s got a lot of road to cover before it gets there.
12. THE SECRET OF BARRY ALLEN
“The Secret of Barry Allen” storyline was one of Geoff John’s near-legendary stories helming the Flash title. Wally West, having taken over the mantle of The Flash, experiences his own storyline during Identity Crisis where it is revealed that not only did his revered predecessor Barry Allen aid in mind-wiping Dr. Light, but also altered the memories of Batman when he discovered what they were doing, and got the League’s resident magician Zatanna to alter the mind of Barry’s villain, The Top.
The crushing weight of perceived heroes not being as moral as initially believed is a common theme among the Arrowverse shows, but Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen has already gone through a storyline where he’s pressed the limit of his powers to negative results in “Flashpoint.” At this point, repeating the trope won’t even help Keiynan Lonsdale’s Wally West.
11. IDENTITY CRISIS
The announcement that season four of Flash will introduce Ralph Dibny aka the Elongated Man leaves open the possibility that The CW will do its own variant on the Identity Crisis event, but seeing as how they’re a cable network, it’s doubtful they’ll be comfortable putting the story of Sue Dibny’s violent murder, the reveal of her sexual assault, and the ensuing manhunt throughout the DC Universe on screen.
Even if they have access to most of the major players of this story and could easily introduce the few still missing, there are just a few too many polarizing topics and themes for a universe where the most controversial aspect thus far has been casual references to homosexuality and a few vaguely brutal onscreen deaths. Regardless, Identity Crisis is story better suited to an HBO gore series, not a series of grounded cable shows.
10. ARCHER’S QUEST
On the surface, there really doesn’t appear to be anything preventing The CW from making a live-action “Archer’s Quest”. The story of Ollie and Roy Harper traveling the country to collect various bits of paraphernalia with sentimental value to Ollie would actually make for an interesting replacement for the flashbacks that Arrow ran out of in season five.
Unfortunately, the reason The CW won’t use the story is the same reason why the story exists: because it follows the resurrection of Oliver Queen after an extended comic book death. Even when it appeared Ollie died halfway through season three, he was revealed to still be alive within two episodes, quickly abating fan anxiety. They simply don’t have the gall to remove Stephen Amell from screens for long enough to give “Archer’s Quest” the necessary weight.
9. ZERO HOUR
In a strange way, Zero Hour would be perfect for the Arrowverse. When Hal Jordan becomes corrupted by the evil entity Parallax, he begins collapsing time in on itself, folding the various DC timelines into one established continuity and forcing the DC heroes to fight one of their own. The battle ends in emotional fashion when Green Arrow kills a restrained Jordan to end both their suffering.
If The CW switched out Green Lantern’s role with an evil form of Barry desperate enough to use his time-traveling, universe-rewriting powers and forced Ollie to shot an arrow into his chest, it would make for compelling television to say the least. But most of Flash season three was spent reinforcing the idea that unmitigated time travel equals bad, so showing him mess with time yet again would quickly become stale.
8. SUPERGIRL: GIRL POWER
One of the first Supergirl stories following her retconned origins in Superman/Batman, “Girl Power” mostly dealt with Supergirl introducing herself to the larger DC Universe one hero at a time before an encounter with Lex Luthor and Black Kryptonite split her into two individual identities, including an evil one who attacks the Justice League. Individually, none of these ideas are bad for the shows.
Having exclusive crossovers with Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow, encountering Lex Luthor, and using Black Kryptonite could all potentially happen. But The CW has backed itself into a corner in all cases. It made it very clear that Supergirl exists on a different Earth than the rest of the Arrowverse, introducing Lex Luthor would just add him to the list of human geniuses Melissa Benoist has to fight, and the show already showed an evil Supergirl in the episode “Bizarro.”
7. BRAVE AND THE BOLD: THE SENATOR’S BEEN SHOT!
This story from 1969 is primarily a Batman story, but Green Arrow was largely based on Batman’s existing mythos so it would not be too much of a stretch for The CW to put the same story, which involves an assassination attempt giving Bruce Wayne the temporary responsibilities of a US Senator, on TV. But what’s significant about this story in the comics is that it debuted Green Arrow’s most iconic look, complete with a lace-up vest, Robin Hood-inspired feathered cap, and a jaunty blonde goatee.
Neal Adams’s design has remained the most prominent in comic book lore and it wouldn’t feel appropriate for The CW to tell this story and not include a homage to the outfit. Unfortunately, the costume is probably too silly for the serious, humanized Oliver Queen that the shows present.
6. KINGDOM COME
One of Alex Ross and Mark Waid’s most beloved and seminal works, it would be near impossible to adapt Kingdom Come to the Arrowverse due to it’s sheer epic size. The CW doesn’t have access to the large cast and the futuristic setting, which might work for DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, can’t logically include the other shows. Which is a real shame since it does contain arguably one of Green Arrow’s most badass moments.
Superman himself offers a nightclub full of young heroes a position at his side in the new, totalitarian Justice League. When he leaves, most of the heroes are so starstruck that they’re jumping at the chance. But Ollie appears to casually offer them a confident “Democratic response,” a counter-offer to join Batman’s shadowy Outsiders. It’s too bad that there would be too much build-up required to make this moment come to life.
5. HOW MANY TIMES CAN A MAN TURN HIS HEAD?
This comic under The Brave and the Bold title could actually work in the Arrowverse. The story revolves around Oliver and Green Lantern Hal Jordan being arrested for a minor infraction and freed by Barry Allen, sparking a heated debate between Ollie and Barry about the limits of police force and the control state.
This leads to them uncovering a corruption scandal and saving the Rogues from forced lobotomies. It feels like this could actually work in the Arrowerse where their two flagship superheroes have butted heads before and seeing Allen’s loyalty to the CCPD tested would add a new element to his character, but the feel-good moment of the story is reuniting Barry Allen with long-time friend Hal Jordan. Without Jordan there to bring the story full circle, it won’t feel worth it.
4. THREE OF A KIND
This three-part short story under the Flash, Green Lantern, and Green Arrow titles could potentially work for the Arrowverse. The central gist of the story is that of a day off gone wrong, with Flash, Green Lantern, and Green Arrow trying to stop villains on a cruise ship. Forgetting for a moment that the characters are actually Wally West, Kyle Rayner, and Connor Hawke and not The CW lineup, the story would still be impossible to pull off simply because of how the story ends.
The villains are taken to trial where the heroes stand witness. Just when it seems the criminals are about to get off scott free, Flash uses his superspeed to read lawbooks and find a specific loophole that causes the villains to be sentenced. Even for these shows, that’s just a little too silly.
Given Kevin Smith’s partnership with The CW as a writer and director of some Flash episodes, you’d think the channel would want to return the favor by adapting one of his popular comic stories. In “Quiver”, a dead Oliver Queen is resurrected by Spectre but can’t remember the events leading up to his death. The following 10 issues follows Ollie as he tries to restore his old life and figure out how to fully restore his soul.
As if that weren’t enough, the story also introduced the fan-favorite Mia Dearden and featured the return of Stanley and his Monster. The reason The CW won’t adapt this story, however, isn’t because it would mean killing off Ollie or laying new groundwork to the universe, but because they’ve already done it. Ollie trying to restore his world and catch up on what he’s missed is basically Arrow season one.
2. JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA: OMEGA
Not only does “Omega” feature almost the entire DC lineup, not only does it show the return of the Crime Syndicate of America, not only does it introduce the villain Omega Man, but it’s about the Justice League reluctantly partnering with the Crime Syndicate to defeat the extra-dimensional evil. Obviously The CW can’t include characters they don’t have access to, but they’re furthermore restricted by budgetary concerns.
Even with The CW allocating more money to the Arrowverse shows than most of their other programs, they simply don’t have the effects budget to pull off a massive-scale space epic that spans dimensions in the footnotes. Even if they did, figuring out how to work around all the intellectual property and legal loopholes simply wouldn’t be worth the trouble.
1. HARD TRAVELING HEROES
In 2017, perhaps the best story that The CW could tell in the Arrowverse would be “Hard Traveling Heroes”. The famous story of Green Arrow and Green Lantern traveling America in a truck to fight crime and social injustice on an intimate street level would not only be a good way to examine an increasingly divisive country in a unique way, but could return Arrow to its gritty, no-holds-barred roots which endeared it to fans in the first place.
In particular, recreating the lauded Green Lantern #76 would be especially pertinent in today’s society. However, the series worked because it combined a blue-collar conservative in Hal Jordan with a wealthy socialist in Oliver Queen. It was their dynamic that made the stories work, but without an established Republican to be a foil against, Oliver’s diatribes would come off more as self-righteous rants, and nobody wants to see that.
Do you want to see these stories in the Arrowverse some day? Let us know in the comments!
- Ad Free Browsing
- Over 10,000 Videos!
- All in 1 Access
- Join For Free!