SPOILER ALERT! Spoilers ahead for numerous stories produced by the CW.
There’s no escaping death. When your time is up, your time IS up. With major deaths closing out the current seasons of both Arrow and The Flash, it seemed appropriate to take a hard look at those who survived this year’s earth-shattering finales of the CW’s burgeoning superhero line-up. But how to decide who lives and who dies? We’re sure it wasn’t an easy decision for producers to let the axe fall on the scheming Malcolm Merlyn and the indefatigable H.R. Wells. How then do we bear the weight of the executioner? We’re all too pretty here to be wearing hoods, after all.
With that said, there’s still a job that needs doing. Our method here wasn’t scientific and many of you might argue it isn’t even remotely justifiable. Then again, very little about life and death are fair. We chose our entries based on the state of their current story arcs, the scope of their character development and whether or not they ever belonged in the Arrowverse, in the first place. So cue the death march and avert your eyes if you’re the squeamish type, because love ‘em or hate ‘em, here are 15 Arrowverse characters who we believe NEED to die.
15 QUENTIN LANCE
Few characters in the Arrowverse have had as rough a go at it as Quentin Lance. A disgraced cop and recovering alcoholic, Star City’s current deputy mayor watched his marriage unravel and lived through the deaths of both of his daughters (one of them twice!). You might think after surviving all of that, nothing could take Quentin down, not even a bum ticker.
But that’s why we feel Quentin’s time is up in the Arrowverse. After surmounting all of these personal obstacles and coming to terms with his most recent tragedy, we believe it’s time for Quentin to take his final bow. With his character arc coming full circle in the last few episodes of the season, it’s time for Quentin to “go gently into that good night.”
14 CITIZEN STEEL
There’s always been something a bit awkward about Nate Heywood. True, it was through his investigation into the missing Justice Society of America that the Legends of Tomorrow got to meet Commander Steel, Stargirl and the Golden Age Vixen, but what has he done for us lately? His historical expertise likely means Citizen Steel won’t be going anywhere any time soon but it’s just as likely his lack of experience should’ve gotten his ass killed long ago.
Even his jury-rigged superpowers, as reminiscent as they are of his comic book predecessor, have been used inconsistently throughout the series. He seems to spend an awful lot of time recovering from life-threatening injuries for a guy whose main power is invulnerability. How this guy remains a Legend is anyone’s guess.
13 NYSSA AL GHUL
The Arrowverse seems to have a thing for repetition. Whether it’s the horde of speedsters in The Flash or the battalion of archers in Arrow, it sometimes feels like Arrowverse producers don’t know when to stop beating a dead horse. The trend even extends to tertiary characters like Nyssa al Ghul. In Season 5 of Arrow, we were introduced to Nyssa’s half-sister Talia, who broke away from her father’s League of Shadows to strike out on her own.
A backstory linking her to Oliver’s past was hastily cobbled together and it was eventually revealed that she was responsible for unleashing Adrian Chase. The thing is, she ultimately proved far more interesting and relevant to the current season than Nyssa could hope to be. This begs the question: If there were plans to bring Talia into the Arrow fold, why in hell did we ever need Nyssa in the first place?
12 HANK HENSHAW
Suffering from an unnecessarily confusing backstory and an inconsistent depiction of his powers (especially his enhanced strength and durability), Hank Henshaw was underwhelming in his new cybernetically-enhanced form. Lacking his comic book counterpart’s vast knowledge of Kryptonian culture and history, the small-screen version of Cyborg Superman that appears semi-regularly in Supergirl feels like a pale shadow of the potent villain who recently returned in the pages of Action Comics.
In the Arrowverse, Henshaw is little more than an enforcer, whose strength at times seems to have Supergirl on the ropes and at others seems far below her Kryptonian levels. Without the depth of knowledge and experience of the comic book original, the live-action incarnation of Cyborg Superman is nothing more than a cardboard cut-out that desperately needs to be recycled.
11 WILD DOG
Okay Hoss, truth be told, we kind of dig Wild Dog. In comics, this DIY vigilante was slightly ahead of his time -- like, by a couple of decades -- predating the farce that is Kick-Ass by just over 20 years. A violent, relevant take on the comic book vigilante, we were pleasantly surprised with his addition to the cast of Arrow. Having said that, we can’t help but notice that Rene has become Team Arrow’s resident punching bag.
Even Curtis has managed to find his niche, serving up bad guys a whupping with his ultra-cool T-Spheres. Armed with little more than a pair of machine pistols and a goalie mask, Wild Dog sometimes feels like cannon fodder, a role that doesn’t do the Max Alan Collins and Terry Beatty’s creation justice. When viewed in this light, we’d rather see this dog finally put down for good.
10 THEA QUEEN
Is it just us or was Thea Queen way more interesting when she was dead? Her storyline played out long ago and if it wasn't for her brother Ollie’s rather selfish decision to bring her back to life using the Lazarus Pit, she’d hardly be missed. She may have earned herself a reprieve acting as the newly-elected Mayor Queen’s ruthless right hand, but she abdicated her role as deputy mayor and then went off to pout about how tough her life has been. At least when she was murdering her friends she wasn’t so damn whiny.
Thea represents a missed opportunity to showcase a strong female hero who overcame a boatload of tragedy and adversity to become even more empowered. This past season, her character development felt stalled and then shifted into reverse, becoming one of the weakest members of Ollie’s support system, the gift of resurrection obviously a huge waste.
9 MARTIN STEIN
The stakes don’t get any higher than those faced by the heroes of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. The show thrives on its eclectic assemblage of strong personalities, often pitting members of the team against one another as they struggled to build the trust necessary for completing their missions. Martin Stein used to be a part of that unique dynamic. Recently, Stein can’t seem to avoid coming off as a bit of an annoying old man constantly nagging his teammates and flaunting his admittedly formidable intellect.
As his Firestorm partner Jax has taken on more responsibility as White Canary’s de facto second-in-command, Stein’s development has taken a backseat, perhaps indicating it’s time for a new incarnation of Firestorm to take flight. We’d love to see his daughter Lily fused with Jax, a development that would inject new life into the character, as they each struggle to come to terms with their mentor’s death.
8 BLACK SIREN
It’s bad enough that nobody stays dead in comics but to have the same frustrating convention bleed over into the Arrowverse just feels cruel. True, Black Siren isn’t really Black Canary reborn but as long as we’re being honest, let’s not pull our punches. Black Siren’s introduction into the Arrowverse was an obtuse, misguided attempt to tug at our heartstrings, yet never seemed to carry the emotional weight such an event would seem to require. Hell, even old man Lance got over Black Siren’s existence in only a few minutes of screen time.
At the end of the day, Laurel Lance’s death was robbed of any meaning for fans of the character by the appearance of her Earth-Two counterpart. The only way to remedy this grave disservice to fans is to send this new evil Laurel packing, preferably into a grave of her own.
7 THE ATOM
The introduction of Ray Palmer to the Arrowverse was one of the most exciting developments of CW’s superhero line. Although different from his comic book counterpart, Ray brought a refreshing positivity to the brooding ranks of Team Arrow. And when he finally became the Atom? Well, consider our minds blown. His inclusion in the ranks of the Legends felt a little bittersweet, though. After all, the entire team was essentially chosen by Rip Hunter because if they died, their deaths would cause the least damage to the timestream.
For a character of the Atom’s pedigree, this just didn’t seem right. Ever since, Ray has made it his personal mission to become the hero nobody thought he could be. We think the best way to prove Rip and the timestream wrong is let him exit the show as the hero he deserves to be.
6 KILLER FROST
One of the most disappointing developments of the past season of The Flash was Caitlyn Snow’s heel turn as Killer Frost. Not only did the story arc feel overwrought (did everybody in Central City get metahuman powers from the particle accelerator accident?!), it also rang false. Who among viewers didn’t call her betrayal of Savitar in the season finale? Killer Frost’s return to the side of the angels was so telegraphed it felt like a WWE finishing move.
No doubt next season will see the return of Caitlyn to Team Flash as the status quo is reinstated in time to face the looming threat of whatever big bad threatens Central City next. In a perfect world, Killer Frost would be killed off. If that seems a little cold-hearted, we point to the character’s lack of development over the past couple of seasons. Truth be told, she was put on ice long ago.
5 MAGGIE SAWYER
One of the highlights of the past season of Supergirl had to be Alex Danvers coming out to Maggie Sawyer. And yet... somehow Maggie just doesn’t seem to fit in with rest of the Girl of Steel’s supporting cast. We get the feeling the show’s writers and producers would seem to agree considering Maggie’s been relegated to the status of recurring character for next season. No matter how much Alex’s story arc resonated with fans of the show, her hasty marriage proposal during the season finale feels ill-advised and destined for heartbreak.
Still, Maggie isn’t without her merits. She’s tough and down-to-earth, and without her, Alex might be living a lie. Rather than let her fade into the background, let’s give her the send-off she deserves: a heroic death that would provide writers a new avenue to explore Alex’s character.
4 J’ONN J’ONZZ
The Martian Manhunter is one of the coolest characters in the history of comics. Bridging the hero gap that exists between Batman and Superman, J’onn J’onzz’s pulpy roots evoke the shadowy world of the Caped Crusader, while his vast powers and alien origins recall the Man of Steel. Somehow though, the character has never seemed to get the respect it deserves, especially on the small screen.
Don’t get us wrong, this isn’t a condemnation of David Harewood’s acting ability, but rather a criticism of how writers have failed to adapt the Martian Manhunter to a live action medium. On Supergirl, J’onn lacks the dynamism and sheer power of his comic book predecessor, facts which only further diminish a character already struggling to remain in the spotlight. Rather than continue to misrepresent a hero of such rich history, we feel it’s time for J’onn to be finally reunited with his dead family.
3 JOHN DIGGLE
John Diggle has been by Oliver Queen’s side since the beginning of his quest to “become something else” and fulfill his promise to clean up Star City. His relationship with Oliver supersedes nearly every other in both of their lives. When we’re sufficiently lubricated, their bromance is enough to make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but if we hear either of them utter the words “you’re my brother” one more time, we might just toss our cookies.
Seriously, we get it Joliver, you’re brothers. But just because they’re family, doesn’t mean Dig should be off limits for a tragic death. Ollie’s been no stranger to familial tragedy but we think offing Diggle would hurt him more than even the deaths of his parents. We can’t think of a crueler, better way to put the screws to Ollie... unless of course we kill off our number one entry…
2 JOE WEST
He’s got the voice of an angel and the heart of a poet, and there’s no one in the Arrowverse who loves his kids or his city more. But it might just be time for Joe West to take his final bow. To be honest, we love Joe. It’s just that, of late, he’s been portrayed as more of a liability than an asset. There’s no way a cop of his competence should be relegated to the one guy in the room who needs stuff explained to him more than once. He may lack the science background of Cisco or Draco Malfoy, but he also shouldn’t be the class dunce, just so the writers can explain their BS rubber science to the viewer. Rather than this terrible fate, let Joe have his day in sun, then put him out to pasture permanently, preferably by sacrificing his life for his family.
1 FELICITY SMOAK
Dating Oliver Queen might as well be a death sentence in and of itself. So how does Felicity Smoak continue to get a pass? With the addition of the equally brilliant Curtis Holt -- a.k.a. Mr. Terrific -- to Team Arrow, the time might just be right for Felicity to follow the rest of Ollie’s lady friends to the grave. It’s not that we don’t like Felicity. Her Whedonesque monologues lend a much-needed feeling of levity to Arrow and without her technical expertise, Ollie would be up the creek without a paddle.
That being the case, Felicity should be target number one for any villain looking to take Green Arrow down. Such a crippling blow would not only break Ollie’s heart but deny him the most valuable weapon in his arsenal. Plus, we don’t think he’s been tortured enough. Killing Diggle would hurt, but killing Felicity might just be the thing that breaks him.
Who do you think should be on the chopping block? Let us know in the Comments!