Death is coming to The CW's Arrowverse in a big way with next season's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover event, and the latest addition to Arrow's cast may provide a strong hint at which superhero will meet their untimely end.
Last week, Joseph David-Jones was announced to be joining the cast of the inaugural Arrowverse series in a recurring role as Connor Hawke. The adopted son of longtime Team Arrow ally John Diggle, the archer appears in flash-forwards set decades into the future of the Arrowverse along with Oliver Queen's adult son William and an aged Roy Harper. The presence of Connor in the future combined with previous hints from CW President Mark Pedowitz that it's highly likely that "Crisis on Infinite Earths" would kill off a major superhero further supports the theory that Green Arrow may be the hero headed for the grave.
Following Pedowitz's remarks of the networking killing off a superhero during the crossover, speculation arose that Oliver would be the Arrowverse hero to die. Given the character's ominous deal with the Monitor during this season's crossover event, "Elseworlds," and previous comments by Pedowitz acknowledging the advancing age of Arrow following its renewal for an eighth season and the need for the network to freshen up its DCTV lineup, Ollie's demise seems the most likely. Even with repeated hints that Barry Allen will disappear during the coming Crisis, Connor's return in the future may be the final nail in Oliver's imminent coffin.
This current season of Arrow introduced Ollie's long-lost half-sister Emiko Queen as a new vigilante archer while Queen was imprisoned after being outed for his own vigilante activities. And with Connor operating in the future alongside William, the series has now set up two potential replacements for the original Green Arrow to be trained by Emiko and the team should Ollie actually meet his demise during next season's crossover.
In the comics, Connor Hawke has been established as the biological son of Oliver Queen who was raised in a faraway monastery where he was trained to become a formidable archer and martial artist in his own right. Created by Kelley Puckett and Jim Aparo in 1994's Green Arrow #0 as a tie-in to the comic book crossover event Zero Hour: A Crisis in Time, Connor would follow in his father's footsteps, even taking on the mantle of Green Arrow for a time following Ollie's heroic sacrifice to save Metropolis, though he would later relinquish the title upon Ollie's eventual resurrection.
While it is unlikely that the Arrowverse's incarnation of Connor will be revealed to be a second secret, illegitimate son of Oliver's, the character's team-up with William along with his name certainly furthers the concept of the descendants of Team Arrow picking up where the original Green Arrow and his team left off. And with Emiko Queen still active, the future of the Arrowverse has actually set up three different heroes to step into the role originated by Oliver in the relative present, with Emiko potentially serving as a mentor to the two younger characters.
While The CW isn't looking to reduce its DCTV programming lineup in the near future, it is aware that eight seasons of television is a long time for a series to keep audiences invested. What's more, when you look behind-the-scenes, they can become even more costly due to rising contractual negotiations to constantly re-sign its main cast. The return of Connor Hawke, along with this season's introduction of Emiko Queen and an adult William, gives the long-running series an opportunity to rebrand itself with a largely new principal cast led by the trio of vigilante archers while remaining firmly within the Arrowverse and honoring the previous incarnation of the series. And any rebranding would likely not be a radical one; a simple retitling of the series from Arrow to Arrows to reflect the added amount of archers would not only be effective, but would likely be embraced by much of its existing fanbase.
The inevitability of death hovers over the Arrowverse as it moves ever closer to next season's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover, with more and more evidence surfacing that Oliver Queen may be the one to pay the ultimate price to save his friends and all of reality. While the return of Connor Hawke is certainly a welcome one, his appearance also serves a potential harbinger for Ollie's death and the need for a replacement with knack for archery to defend Star City.
Airing Mondays at 8 pm ET/PT on The CW, Arrow stars Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, David Ramsey as John Diggle, Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak, Rick Gonzalez as Wild Dog, Juliana Harkavy as Black Canary, Colton Haynes as Arsenal, Kirk Acevedo as Diaz and Katie Cassidy as Black Siren.