At this point in the year, every show in the Arrowverse has wrapped. Big bads have been defeated, explosions were glorious, and time has been broken and hastily duct-taped back together far too many times for anyone’s liking. However, the insane comic book plots always come second to the characters. We cheer them on and we stick with them even when the world around them gets a little bit wonky. Or at least we would if some of them were allowed to shine.
These are characters who have been introduced into the CW’s DC comic book adaptations, but for whatever, reason they haven’t been as awesome as fans might have hoped they would be. Maybe there’s even a way to fix that.
WARNING: This list includes spoilers for all CW Arrowverse shows.
15. LAUREL LANCE
Raise your hands if you’re still bitter about how Laurel Lance’s Black Canary was handled on Arrow. Okay, so everyone? Well done, because there was so much potential built into that character from go. Black Canary, whether she is romantically involved with Green Arrow or not, is a superhero in her own right. The problem was that she originated on a show where the story structure wouldn’t let her spend the time she needed to grow into that hero.
Arrow is a protagonist-driven show rather than an ensemble, so it can only afford time to show stories and characters who contribute to Oliver’s overall storyline. Since Arrow decided to split Lauriver, Laurel’s Black Canary needed to exist in a space separate from Green Arrow. Instead, fans watched as she was relegated to a sidekick role and then brutally axed off. Even though her doppelganger was given her full meta-human powers, that version of Laurel was still embarrassingly knocked out by an IT specialist.
14. HARRY WELLS
Bear in mind that this entry will mostly be centered on Harry Wells as he was used in this past season of The Flash. Harry was used sparingly this season, but Tom Cavanagh was not. For some reason, the writers decided to make Harry leave Earth-One altogether and chose his replacement from a multiverse of doppelgangers. The Wells Team Flash chose H.R., who turned out to be a fraud and unlikely hero. Nonetheless, H.R. was almost comically useless in the team’s exploits that one wonders what it would have been like to see grumpy Harry again.
H.R.’s purpose was to highlight Cisco’s growth as a character apart from the Season One and Two Wells (who were the secretly disguised Eobard Thawne and Harry, respectively). However, this plotline was stretched so thin over the course of a 23-episode season that it’s hard to pick up on from week to week. Having Harry back would fix those problems, because Cisco could inspire him too. It would also allow another Wells back into the picture, namely …
13. JESSE WELLS
The first female speedster would have been an amazing character to have on The Flash, especially in a year where female superheroes have risen to the spotlight thanks to films like Wonder Woman. However, despite a few episodes where she trains with the team and helps with the Gorilla Grodd arc, she is suspiciously M.I.A. Wouldn’t she want to help her boyfriend Wally save his sister, or her mentor Barry save the love of his life? There is no thematic or plot-driven reason to have Jesse decide to permanently stay on Earth-2. There is some mention of wanting to stay away from Savitar or else he’d use her too, but it’s too weak of a reason with two speedsters already committed to stopping him.
12. WINN SCHOTT
Believe it or not, Winn is probably one of the farthest along in his development of all the Supergirl regulars, and that’s a good thing. That doesn’t say anything positive about the state of Supergirl, but this list going to at least attempt to say something positive. Unfortunately, he has a lot in common as a later entry: he hasn’t been given the time to expand as much as he should have.
There was a step towards something better by having Winn start working for the DEO and being the resident tech for Guardian. However, he was relegated to a side plot which only occasionally and randomly showed up throughout the season. It is not at all cohesive in the way that Season One had been, and that lack of focus fractured the entirety of Season Two. Make Winn a central part of Kara’s DEO team and this problem goes away.
11. JULIAN ALBERT
Fans were ecstatic when it was announced last year that Draco Malfoy himself, Tom Felton, would be joining the cast of The Flash as CSI Julian Albert. Originally introduced as a minor antagonist for Barry in a world post-Flashpoint, Felton’s dry performance was a joy to watch. Over the course of several episodes, Albert was also revealed to be an unwitting assistant to Savitar, and eventually sought redemption by joining Team Flash by Christmas.
However, once he and Barry started being friends, there wasn’t much of a reason for him to be a part of the team. Early in his arc he expresses distrust towards metahumans, but this is quickly resolved and not used as a major theme of the season. Eventually, Albert completely devolved into being yet another ill-fated love interest for Caitlin Snow, and we all saw how well that turned out.
10. JONAH HEX
CW’s Legends of Tomorrow has had a history of bringing characters back from the dead. Instead of dealing with reincarnation or Lazarus pits, it brought back a character killed dead by a terrible movie adaptation. Jonah Hex is the scarred, tortured gunslinger who made for delightfully violent comics. On the CW, he’s a bit tamer, but Hex still contributed to some of the best episodes Legends have made, and all of them in the Old West.
That being said, reminding the audience that remembers a terrible movie that Jonah Hex is cool is all he does. Hex acts as the Legends’ tour guide in the Old West, but isn’t really given a lot of time to flesh out his own character. Every other episode where the Legends interact with historical figures, the writers rely on the audience’s familiarity of that subject. However, this courtesy cannot be extended to Hex. As a result, the show is all the poorer for it.
9. M’GANN M’ORZZ
Another great addition to the “Supergirl” roster was Miss Martian herself, M’gann M’orzz. She’s a tragic survivor of Mars just like J’onn J’onzz, but with a bigger burden of guilt that makes her spend most of the season hiding from her friends. However, even after her true identity is revealed and she and J’onn reconnect – she up and disappears! Okay, not completely. She went back to recruit resistant White Martians and make Mars a better world. News that is great for Mars, but terrible for the show itself.
Miss Martian has more in common with Supergirl in terms of character construction than anyone else on the show. They are both female carbon copies of more popular male characters, but take that base and make something entirely new. They should be used as foils for each other, but they’ve barely been in the same room all season. It’s like the Supergirl writers don’t understand how to build and maintain these growing relationships between characters. You know, the reason people watch these shows in the first place.
8. LUCY LANE
Missed opportunity, thy name is Lucy Lane. Lucy was written off the show before the beginning of Season Two, so this entry will be focusing on her role in Season One. Most of the time she serves as a romantic rival for Kara over James’ affections; yet another thing Season Two basically erased from existence. However since Supergirl does female relationships really well, there was always the sense that if they weren’t both interested in James, they’d be really good friends. Lucy was a super-talented lawyer and principled soldier who served as a great acting-director of the DEO.
In any case, the way she was relegated to being the jealous (sometimes rightly) girlfriend of James was tragic misuse of the character. She could have been used as a foil for Kara since Lucy was also trying to step out of the shadow of a more famous family member, but no dice.
7. LINDA PARK
Linda Park was introduced to the Arrowverse as Iris’ coworker and Barry’s love interest back in Season One. She is tough, funny, and all-around super likeable. Like all of Barry’s love interests who aren’t Iris, her romantic relationship with him didn’t last particularly long. Luckily, she’s still Iris’ coworker at Picture News. Fans still got to see some sweet moments between Iris and Linda at work when Linda’s doppelganger showed up to bring trouble.
What audiences might not know from the show is just how important Linda’s comic book counterpart is. There, Linda is the soulmate of Wally West and brings him home out of the Speed Force as his lightning rod, whereas on the show Linda and Wally have never even met. Given how long a history Linda has in the comics, it seems strange that she barely has any presence in a show adaptation that takes so much from the comics.
6. JAMES OLSEN
Legend has it that James Olsen was a character on Supergirl. Some say he was even the male lead. For some unknown reason, Mehcad Brooks went from the second-billed, male-lead on a major television network to the still-second-billed actor who couldn’t even make it into all of Season Two’s episodes. This is insane because James’ Season Two arc was supposed to be his transformation into Guardian and a superhero in his own right. That’s a major undertaking, but again this was relegated into side plot territory in order to make room for Mon-El’s redemption story.
How does that make sense? The audience has spent an entire season with James, learning to care about him, and wanting to see him grow. Why spend all of the show’s very tight runtime making the audience like the newcomer who is deliberately unlikable? Brooks still shines with his limited material. It’s just disappointing to see Guardian’s wings clipped.
Gypsy is a metahuman from another Earth with the same powers as Cisco. She was initially introduced as a cross-universe bounty hunter looking for H.R. Her brusque demeanor made her a perfect secondary antagonist, but at her core, she is a strong-willed and kind person who seemed to have a hard time accepting help from anyone. Cisco was the perfect person to get past that hard shell, and Gypsy has helped Team Flash on more than one occasion.
Unfortunately, Cisco’s love interests have a tendency to disappear and Gypsy seems to have followed suit. She’s a cool character worth exploring, but since actress Jessica Camacho isn’t a series regular, Gypsy ended up running out of time. Since Barry will probably be M.I.A. for a good part of Season Four, maybe it’s time for a promotion. Then the audience can see how her relationship with the team and Cisco progresses.
4. JOHN CONSTANTINE
John Constantine is the one character that barely qualifies as an Arrowverse character, since he’s only showed up in one episode of Arrow. Nonetheless, Constantine is a leftover of the ill-fated NBC show of the same name. He was brought back into the larger Arrowverse of the CW in Season Four, when his skills in magic were required to bring Sara Lance from the dead, or her soul at least. Constantine also served as an unlikely ally during Oliver’s past on Nanda Parbat.
Constantine was the first real introduction of magic into the Arrowverse, and that element has remained both on Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow. So why has John Constantine been nowhere to be found? Casting issues aside, it seems like such a waste of a powerful character to only be used for one episode. Maybe Constantine couldn’t carry his own show on a network that was trying to replace another long-running supernatural show in Grimm, but he’d be a great asset on Legends.
3. CARTER HALL
What is there to say about Carter Hall? The man is a Justice League staple, but he barely ruffled any feathers when Carter was introduced into the Arrowverse. Carter first debuted on The Flash as the long-lost love of Kendra Saunders, a barista at Jitters. Oh, and they’re also reincarnated bird warriors from Ancient Egypt and the immortal Vandal Savage is trying kill them both. No pressure.
Carter clearly loves Kendra even when this love confuses her, because he remembers their past lives together. But after they join the Legends of Tomorrow, he’s killed off during the second half of the two-hour pilot. The audience only sees him in flashbacks that do nothing to add to his character or the audience’s sympathy for Hawkman and Hawkgirl’s plight. Season One of Legends seemed like a perfect time to allow Carter and Kendra learn about each other and fall in love, but instead they only hear about how the soulmate bond works from Kendra’s end. Nothing showed why Carter is a hero on his own.
2. SNAPPER CARR
We all have bosses we don’t like. The Supergirl writers apparently disliked this one so much that he became an antagonist for Kara, even when he was 100% right about all of her mistakes. He’s gruff, but not unkind, and values the truth above all things. He is a good reporter who earned his spot at CatCo, and it’s understandable that he’s initially miffed that Kara flies in wanting to be a reporter with no training.
Then when Kara’s career takes a setback when she violates the journalistic code of ethics and she is subsequently fired, Carr is framed as the antagonist. Instead, the narrative needs to stop framing Kara as the Girl of Steel Who Does No Wrong, and rather frame her as a young person with a lot to learn. Even Cat was allowed to criticize Kara in some ways, so why can’t Carr? She needs to make mistakes, and Carr is the perfect person to snap her back to reality.
1. NYSSA AL-GHUL
This Heir to the Demon was first introduced on Arrow, and has been both enemy and friend to Team Arrow over the course of five seasons. She began as the mentor and lover of Sara Lance, slowly becoming an ally of the team on Nanda Parbat and within the League of Assassins. Then she became a close friend to Laurel Lance as the latter became Black Canary, married Oliver despite being a lesbian, and disbanded the League after she became the Demon’s Head herself.
Nyssa is the kind of character who just kind of shows up when the plot needs her, and that could be fine. Malcolm Merlyn is the same way. But her marriage to Oliver (which comes to absolutely nothing) and her close friendship with Laurel seem to give Nyssa deep emotional roots that should keep her around longer than she ever is. Now that the League is gone, Nyssa can and should move to Star City permanently.
Which characters in the Arrowverse do you feel aren’t being used to the full potential? Let us know who in the comments!
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