With over a dozen seasons of television under its belt, The CW’s Arrowverse has yet slow its forward momentum. An abundance of stories have been told across Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow. Naturally, numerous characters fill each story out. These characters include heroes, villains, anti-heroes, and indifferent bystanders who fortuitously find themselves in the middle of the drama. Each character, regardless of the show they feature on, has a part to play, no matter how big or small. Some heroes, villains, and others serve their designated purpose and move on, exiting a narrative in what is, hopefully, considered a smooth transition. However, there are characters who overstay their welcome by continuing on long after they have accomplished whatever the story necessitated. The characters highlighted in this list, though, are those that departed the franchise far too quickly.
In the Arrowverse, there are a number of characters who make cameo appearances. They show up for a brief scene, or they may even feature in an entire episode. The trouble is that many characters who debut in a cameo-like fashion are primed for much more involved roles, as their stories suggest there’s a lot they could offer a show’s primary characters or overarching narrative. With that in mind, these heroes, villains, and everything in between warrant a larger role in the Arrowverse, even if it is just for one show. In this list, such characters will be given the spotlight. Here are 20 Arrowverse cameos that could have led to something greater but didn’t.
20 JONAH HEX
Jonah Hex has made one appearance per season of Legends of Tomorrow, thus far. However, his appearances are just that, cameos. Jonah helps the Legends out for an episode, then they’re quickly off to their next adventure. His not playing a larger part is understandable, though. The Legends can’t wander around the Old West indefinitely.
Still, Jonah Hex’s cameos could, and should, lead to more. How would the bounty hunter fare in a modern-day setting? We’ve seen glimpses of his reaction to technology when he boards the Waverrider, but it’s hardly enough. Furthermore, what kind of mischief does he get up to when the Legends don’t require his help? Perhaps Season 4 will deliver answers to our burning Jonah Hex-related questions.
19 SIMON STAGG
In the comics, Simon Stagg is responsible for Rex Mason’s transformation in to Metamorpho. The Flash version of Simon Stagg runs a tech company in Central City and bears some responsibility for Multiplex’s brief reign of terror. Just as Multiplex’s life is cut short, so too is that of Stagg. Within one episode, the Arrowverse loses what could’ve been one of its most compelling characters.
Stagg’s short-lived time on the series is especially disappointing, because it raises the question of whether Metamorpho will ever appear. The multiverse alleviates some of this worry; yet, the likelihood of his debuting seems rather low. Regardless, Simon Stagg could have been so much more than a tertiary character in a filler episode.
18 CONSTANTINE DRAKON
Despite being one of the DC Universe’s most formidable combatants and a top tier assassin, Arrow’s Constantine Drakon merely serves as body guard to the crooked businessman, Adam Hunt. During a fight with the Hood near the end of Arrow’s pilot, Drakon proves he’s a more than capable martial artist. His capability does not provide him with much luck, though. By the fight’s end, the Hood suffers a bullet wound and Drakon is offed.
Because the vigilante has faced numerous assassins throughout six seasons of television, Drakon's continued absence isn’t felt. However, since Drakon has proven such a threatening foe to Green Arrow in the comics, it’s shame he doesn’t receive a bigger role on the small screen.
17 HELEN OF TROY
Helen of Troy debuts in the Arrowverse during Legends of Tomorrow Season 3. She’s an aberration in need of fixing; of course, the Legends offer assistance. Upon hearing Helen lament being returned to Ancient Greece, where the Trojan War wages on, Zari decides to toy with loopholes. Helen’s still technically dropped in an Ancient Greece setting. Yet, instead of taking her to Troy, Zari introduces both Helen and the Arrowverse to Themyscira.
It’s a nice touch with an interesting pay off. In the Season 3 finale, Helen returns wearing Amazonian warrior garb. Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to discern whether or not Helen’s time with the Amazons will receive deeper exploration. We can hope, but the Arrowverse’s use of characters and more from the film universe remains nebulous.
16 MR. MXYZPTLK
For the entirety of his fleeting stay, Mr. Mxyzptlk serves as little more than a massive thorn in Supergirl’s side. The imp, who’s enamored with the Girl of Steel, believes wholeheartedly that the two of them are meant to fall in love. Being an imp, he, of course, gets up to his fair share of mischief. Clever trickery on Supergirl’s part eventually sees Mr. Mxyzptlk banished from National City, though.
Because of the character’s history in the comics, and his behavior in other Superman-centric media, it’s a wonder he didn’t return during Supergirl’s third season. Yes, he’s a nuisance, but one that’s often essential to demonstrating Superman’s oft forgotten intelligence. Surely, this version of the imp could benefit Supergirl in a similar manner.
15 GREEN ARROW (EARTH-2)
On Earth-2 the Arrow isn’t Oliver Queen. Rather, Starling City’s vigilante is Oliver’s father, Robert Queen. The character receives a brief tease during The Flash Season 2 on an Earth-2 news broadcast. This Arrow’s journey as a vigilante mirrors that of Oliver’s on Earth-1. According to the news anchor, Robert’s boat went down at sea, leaving him stranded. His son perished but Robert lived, returned home, and took up work as a vigilante.
Because this alternate Earth’s depiction of Robert Queen/Arrow closely resembles the story of Thomas Wayne/Flashpoint Batman, hopes were high the character would at least receive another reference. Unfortunately, nothing more is heard of Earth-2’s Arrow, not even when Cisco and Barry visit the alternate Earth later in the season.
14 JOE WILSON
Throughout Arrow’s first five seasons, Slade Wilson’s son, Joe, garnered mention a handful of times. However, Season 6 marks the first time Joe Wilson appears on-screen. During a two-episode arc, “Deathstroke Returns” and “Promises Kept,” Slade and Oliver Queen work side by side with Joe. It’s a compelling story that, unfortunately, does not end well for the father-son duo. When Joe’s attempt on Slade’s life fails, due to Oliver intervening, Joe essentially disowns Slade as his father.
Because Deathstroke’s future on the show is unknown, as the film universe has once again barred Arrow from using him, Joe’s future remains similarly questionable. He’s a character that would certainly be worth returning to, even if his more famous father can’t be involved.
13 THE RIVAL
Prior to The Flash Season 3, set photos and videos surfaced that suggested The Rival would play a large role. Since Rival is primarily a Jay Garrick rogue, hopes were high that he would come flush with an intriguing backstory. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. This villainous Speedster acts as little more than a pawn in Alchemy’s game, a game in which Savitar bears full control.
For two episodes at the start of Season 3, Rival takes the role of a villain-of-the-week foe. His time is cut short when Alchemy ends his life in Iron Heights Prison. Could another Speedster have added more value to the show? It’s debatable, but disappointing that he’s relegated to a throwaway villain.
12 T.O. MORROW
T.O. Morrow’s time in the Arrowverse is incredibly short-lived. He both debuts and leaves in Supergirl Season 1’s “Red Faced,” the episode that also introduces Red Tornado. T.O. Morrow designs a military grade android that the United States Army tests against Supergirl. Over the course of the episode, the Kryptonian and android face off several times, before Red Tornado is ultimately defeated for good.
Red Tornado returns during one of the “Crisis on Earth-X” episodes, yet his appearance there is even more fleeting. Because we’ve only seen Earth-38 and Earth-X versions of the character, it’s possible he will eventually return. Hopefully, if and when he does, it’ll be in a much more significant capacity.
For most of The Flash’s Season 2 premiere, Atom-Smasher makes for quite the enigmatic villain. He pops up to wreak havoc and then quickly makes himself scarce. By the end of the episode, he perishes. Prior to his demise, though, Atom-Smasher reveals that Zoom sent him from Earth-2. While Atom-Smasher wasn’t actively trying to terminate The Flash, he was busy dropping his Earth-1 doppelgänger. With this in mind, it’s unlikely he will make a return anytime soon.
The villain-of-the-week characters are always given the short end of the stick. Atom-Smasher is no exception. Many of them at the very least deserve recurring roles, in a fashion that mimics Captain Cold’s Season 1 appearances.
10 MUSIC MEISTER
Music Meister cameos at the tail end of a Supergirl episode in Season 2, then travels to The Flash to feature on the “Duet” musical episode. “Duet” remains one of the Arrowverse’s most ambitious achievements. Its brilliance is punctuated by Music Meister’s inciting the event and Glee’s Darren Criss playing the role eloquently. Thus, it’s unfortunate to think the character may never return to the franchise.
Music Meister’s potentially returning has neither been confirmed nor denied. However, unless another musical episode is on the cards, what purpose would he serve? Perhaps he could take on the role of a nuisance akin to Mxyzptlk; the two do share many similarities, after all.
The final few moments of Legends of Tomorrow’s pilot season packs a whirlwind of a reveal. Hourman arrives and warns the Legends of a coming threat. His debut in the Arrowverse brings the Justice Society of America into the fold. While most members of the JSA make a few appearances throughout Legends of Tomorrow’s second season, Hourman features solely in the second season’s premiere.
What’s most disappointing about Hourman’s limited involvement is that his abilities are never seen in action. In fact, the powers for this version of the Golden Age hero are rather nebulous. Besides his role as JSA’s leader, what does the Arrowverse’s Hourman do exactly? It seems we will never know.
8 HARLEY QUINN
There’s no bigger cameo let down than Harley Quinn briefly appearing and speaking during Arrow’s second run. Not only is this a cameo that could have turned into more; it’s a cameo that was meant to turn into more. The creative team behind the series had big plans for Harley. Suicide Squad’s live-action film ensured these plans never came to fruition.
It’s a sad situation all around. For reasons that remain unclear, given Superman’s and The Flash’s featuring in both universes, creativity was stifled. Fans were led to believe something was in the works that would eventually fail to see the light of day. The hurt of the Arrowverse’s Task Force X falling apart won’t soon disappear.
Cisco’s villainous doppelgänger from Earth-2, Reverb, debuts during The Flash’s second season. In his incredibly short time on the show, Reverb shows and tells Cisco of all the powers he’ll amass as Vibe. As one of the Arrowverse’s more joyful heroes, Cisco with a dark side and an intent to cause harm constitutes a suprising, yet compelling, concept. It’s too bad, then, that Reverb is offed so soon.
Most of the disappointment rests in the realization that Reverb could have taught Earth-1 Cisco more about his Vibe abilities. Additionally, it would have been interesting to witness a Earth-2 Killer Frost and Caitlin-like relationship between Reverb and Cisco.
Draaga’s debut in Supergirl’s sophomore season features him fighting in Roulette’s underground fight club. During his brief time on the show, Draaga takes on the Girl of Steel twice. In their first match, he bests her. Supergirl comes out on top the second time around.
Interestingly, Draaga has a fascinating history. Mon-El recognizes him as a warrior from War World. Later in Season 2, Superman tells Supergirl that he and Draaga are enemies, since Superman once spared the warrior’s life during a match to the death. Some may recall that this resembles the history between the two characters in the Justice League animated series. Should Draaga ever return in a more significant role, there’s plenty worth exploring where his character is concerned.
“Welcome to Earth-2” remains one of The Flash’s best episodes. In an effort to save Jesse from Zoom, Barry and Cisco travel to Earth-2 with Harry. While there, they run into several familiar faces, one of which is Earth-2’s Ronnie Raymond. However, instead of being a noble hero, this version of the character is villainous. Earth-2 Ronnie goes by Deathstorm and works alongside his lover, Earth-2 Caitlin Snow, aka Killer Frost.
Similar to his doppelgänger, Deathstorm is gone prematurely. Since Earth-2 Killer Frost makes another appearance before Zoom offs her, we’re left to wonder what would have become of Deathstorm had he survived.
4 CYRUS GOLD
Could Season 2 Arrow have pulled off a storyline wherein Cyrus Gold turns into Solomon Grundy? With the advent of The Flash, Supergirl, and actual zombies, it would certainly work out now. Contrarily, a pre-Flash Arrowverse may not have been able to sell the story that well. It’s a shame, then, that Cyrus Gold did not debut later in the franchise.
Thankfully, the multiverse exists. Thus, there are plenty of opportunities to bring the character back into the fold, especially since both The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow have introduced zombies or zombie-like creatures. Perhaps Cyrus Gold counts as one cameo that may still turn into something more down the line.
3 THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS
The Freedom Fighters’ appearing in “Crisis on Earth-X” constitutes one of the crossover event’s biggest surprises. This team of heroes acts as Earth-X’s last line of defense against the Dark Arrow’s Regime. Leading the Freedom Fighters is Winn Schott, who works closely alongside Leo Snart and Ray Terrill.
This version of the Freedom Fighters is explored a bit more in the Freedom Fighters: The Ray animated series on CW Seed. However, there is still so much more about the squad of resistance fighters that's worth delving into, especially in live-action. With the Earth-X Regime brought to its knees by the Arrowverse heroes, we’re unlikely to see anymore of the Winn Schott-led crew.
2 GENERAL ZOD
General Zod never actually appears on Supergirl, but under the thrall of Silver Kryptonite, Superman believes the General is attacking Earth. What he truly sees, however, is Supergirl trying to offer him help. For a few brief moments, we are shown Superman hallucinating an angry General Zod that threatens to destroy the world.
During Supergirl Season 3’s “For Good” episode, Winn explains to the Legion of Super-Heroes that Superman ended General Zod. Because this marks the first time the character’s demise is mentioned, many questions are raised. Sadly, none have received an answer. It’s unfortunate that this particular chapter in the Man of Steel’s career is already closed, as it means Zod is unlikely to feature in the Arrowverse the way fans hope.
Gorilla Grodd may be DC’s best known super-intelligent ape, but Solovar gets his fair share of limelight. During The Flash’s fourth season, Solovar makes himself known to the Arrowverse in two episodes, “Attack on Gorilla City” and “Attack on Central City.” In both, Solovar works to maintain his rule over Gorilla City. Ultimately, Solovar’s victorious in this regard and returns to Earth-2’s Gorilla City with his reign in tact.
Since Solovar civilly departs Earth-1 and Grodd returns to ARGUS custody, there’s reason to believe Team Flash won’t have a villainous ape threat on its hands for a while. Therefore, Solovar is seemingly a one-and-done kind of character. It’s unfortunate, as Gorilla City has yet to be explored in its full glory.