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15 Controversies That Almost Tanked The Arrowverse

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15 Controversies That Almost Tanked The Arrowverse

If the MCU is the gold standard of shared cinematic universes, then it must be said that the Arrowverse is the same for superheroes on TV. Since 2012, DC fans have seen (most of) their favorite heroes find a home on The CW network and we’ve revelled in its pure awesomeness. Trust us, you can ignore the online naysayers, because the Arrowverse is living proof that comic book-themed TV shows can be much more than candy-flossed afterthoughts. It hasn’t always been easy to implement, but the showrunners have made this shared universe work – despite the odds. If you don’t believe us, do yourself a favor and watch the incredible “Crisis on Earth-X” four-part crossover as an example of what can be achieved.

RELATED: The Arrowverse Is Waging Its Own Infinity War

While the universe isn’t perfect and has suffered its ups and downs in terms of quality, there have been a handful of moments that could’ve derailed the entire project. Some of them were unfortunate behind-the-scenes happenings, while others were self-made due to curious on-air choices and storylines. Even as we look back at these specific controversies, we breathe a sigh of relief that things didn’t escalate to a point of no return. Can you imagine life without Stephen Amell‘s opening monologue every week?

15. THE ANDREW KREISBERG SCANDAL

Andrew-Kreisberg-Supergirl-Flash

The good thing about Weinstein-gate is that it’s opened up the floodgates for people to come forward and name the creeps in Hollywood. Too many of these bozos have gotten away with their disgusting actions for far too long, and now is the time for a cleansing of the bowels of Tinseltown. One of the big names brought up was Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow co-creator Andrew Kreisberg.

READ MORE: Behind-The-Scenes Cast Secrets That Threatened to End The Arrowverse

He was accused of touching people without permission, asking for massages from female staff members, and kissing women without consent. To corroborate these accusations, 15 women and four men who work in the Arrowverse came forward. As a result, Kreisberg was suspended and then later fired from all Warner Bros. Television projects after a thorough investigation.

14. THOSE PICS…

Emily Bett Rickards, Katie Cassidy and Melissa Benoist in the Arrowverse

The increase in leaked private photographs of celebrities has impacted many famous stars, and the Arrowverse hasn’t been excluded either. Katie Cassidy, Melissa Benoist, and Emily Bett Rickards were all victims of this privacy breach and left exposed – in both senses of the word. Rickards’ photos were of her in a state of undress, while Cassidy and Benoist’s pictures were more graphic and featured their partners at the time.

As a relatively family-friendly network, the execs couldn’t have been too happy about these leaks and the subsequent tarnishing effect it has on the shows. Nonetheless, you can’t blame the actresses for this, because they are the real victims of crime here. It was their photos that were stolen and distributed without their consent. It’s wrong.

13. KEVIN SMITH’S HEALTH SCARE

supergirl the cw kevin smith header

Filmmaker Kevin Smith is one of the loudest and proudest voices for the geek community. He also happens to be an ardent supporter of the Arrowverse, which has led to him directing several episodes of Supergirl and The Flash. The Mallrats director has had an overall positive impact on the universe by bringing his unabashed love for the comic book medium to the small screen, and it’s only bettered the product.

At the end of February, Smith suffered an almost-fatal heart attack. Thankfully, he survived and is currently on the mend. It’s difficult to imagine the Arrowverse without Smith’s regular social media commentary or his influence on the shows. Make no mistake about it, he’s as important to this universe’s success as everyone else involved in it.

12. MANU BENNETT VS. A FAN

Manu Bennett's Slade Wilson in Arrow Season Six

Forget Joe Manganiello. The only Slade Wilson/Deathstroke we want in our lives is Manu Bennett. He’s a legitimate tough guy on Arrow, and it appears like he’s the same in real life, too. In 2015, Bennett was arrested for assault after the Alamo City Comic Con in Texas. It’s reported that a man made some untoward remarks about Bennett’s wife, Karin Horen, and her battle with cancer. His words resulted in Bennett attacking him and then being charged with a misdemeanor.

Bennett wasn’t proud of his actions, later stating, “I’m humiliated for myself, for my family, and as a representative of Maori culture. I’m not going to hide about something that happened last week in Texas. I’m a human being – I was out at night, drunk.”

11. DOMINIC PURCELL NEARLY DYING

Dominic Purcell as Heat Wave on Legends of Tomorrow

When Prison Break received a special fifth season, Dominic Purcell (Mick Rory/Heat Wave) and co-star Wentworth Miller (Leonard Snart/Captain Cold) were called back to reprise their famous roles as Lincoln Burrows and Michael Scofield respectively. To accommodate their Legends of Tomorrow schedule, filming took place during a break. A freak accident on the Prison Break set, however, nearly cost Purcell his life.

On June 1, 2016, Purcell shot a scene in Morocco. During the sequence, an iron bar collapsed onto his head, breaking his nose and causing a serious head injury. He was airlifted from Marrakesh to Casablanca, where he received treatment for his injuries. Fortunately for everyone, he made a full recovery and was able to return for the next season of Legends of Tomorrow.

10. STEPHEN AMELL’S TWITTER INCIDENT

In the age of social media, it’s sometimes best to keep quiet about certain things, unless you want to invite the hate brigade to your spot. Stephen Amell, though, put his foot firmly in the manure with his controversial tweets about 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed. If you don’t know the story, Mohamed was arrested in Irving, Texas in 2015 after bringing a clock to school, because his teacher thought it was a bomb.

As expected, many people made comments about it only happening in Texas. Amell fired back and tweeted, “Stereotyping Texas isn’t better than stereotyping Ahmed. Just so we’re clear.” The online community took him to task over his comparison, and he eventually stepped away from the social media platform for a while to lick his wounds.

9. THE ARROW SUBREDDIT

Arrow Oliver and Felicity

Season four of Arrow was a tough time for fans, with even the cast members saying it was the weakest entry to date. The show made some mindboggling choices as it ventured more into Gossip Girl territory than an actual superhero series. Still, many believed it would come right before the end of the season. Oh, how wrong we all were…

The biggest reaction came from Arrow‘s subreddit. After the disappointing finale, “Schism”, and the vitriol in the comments section, the moderators decided enough was enough. They changed the sub to Marvel’s Daredevil – and refused to change it back. Further down the line, they even used it to promote The Punisher series. It might seem funny now, but to anger a large (and vocal) portion of the fanbase in such a way is nothing to be proud of.

8. THE DEATH OF BLACK CANARY

Arrow Black Canary Laurel

Look, let’s be completely frank here: the Laurel Lance character was terribly written. How could Arrow treat Black Canary, one of the greatest DC heroes and fighters, so poorly? At times it was embarrassing to see Canary throw fists and we’re surprised she didn’t die earlier due to her shocking fighting prowess.

Nonetheless, she was an important part of Oliver Queen’s life and we often turned a blind eye to her characterization – but then boom! She’s dead. Naturally, the showrunners copped out by introducing Dinah Drake as the new Black Canary and then reintroducing Laurel as Earth-Two’s Black Siren. Even so, this death proved to be a step too far for many fans. Why didn’t they kill off Felicity instead? Laurel deserved much more than what she got here.

7. ARROW’S GUN CONTROL EPISODE

Arrow-Gun-Control-Candle-Memorial

Gun control is a touchy topic around the world. There are many people for it, and those vehemently against it. Naturally, when any show attempts to tackle the issue, it often achieves in sounding off a strong message (for or against) or it backfires spectacularly. In the case of the episode “Spectre of the Gun,” Arrow failed horribly to address anything at all.

The problem was, it tried to tiptoe throughout the debate without adding anything valuable or conversation-worthy to the discussion. It’s obvious that the showrunners got scared of picking a side, so they tried to dance around the subject while attempting to stay socially relevant by talking about it. Instead, this action (or inaction) showed the program to be gutless – something that annoyed its fanbase.

6. SUPER-BOOTY

Tyler Hoechlin as Superman in Supergirl

The casting of Tyler Hoechlin as Clark Kent/Superman in Supergirl didn’t go down as well as expected. You see, as much as fans love to complain about Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel, they quickly loved him when they realized there was another actor set to play the iconic superhero on The CW show. Comic book fans are weird like that, but we digress.

What really got the internet shaking was when photos of Hoechlin in costume were leaked, and boy, did he have a booty on him. While some parts of the fanbase went wild in delight, others wondered if Supes had padded his rear in an attempt to get a guest appearance on Keeping Up with the Kardashians. At the end of the day, Hoechlin was fine in the role, and the internet was shown to have overreacted (like always).

5. CANDICE PATTON’S CASTING

Candice Patton's Iris West on The Flash

There’s a nasty part of the fandom that gets really emotional about characters’ skin color. For them, the biggest cardinal sin is a fictional character’s racial identity being changed, because, you know, hunger and poverty are minuscule issues in the grand scheme of things. As expected, Candice Patton’s casting as Iris West in The Flash drew the ire of racist fans.

READ MORE: Arrowverse Performances That Ruined Great DC Characters

Speaking to The Washington Post about the outrage, Patton said, “I think I was too naïve, to prepare for what was coming. I think it was shocking when I got the role and understood that a lot of people weren’t happy with it. Not a lot, but there was this subset of people that didn’t want to see that. But change is difficult for people, as we’re noticing in our political climate. But I think I’ve kind of solidified the role, and it doesn’t bother me anymore.”

4. THE DCEU’S FLASH

Ezra Miller's Flash in Justice League

It was bizarre how the DCEU introduced its own version of the Flash – especially after Grant Gustin had been so warmly received on The Flash TV series. Surely, you’d want to keep with continuity and goodwill? Well, even Stephen Amell thought so. When asked by The Wall Street Journal if he should portray the Green Arrow in a DC movie, he said, “Yeah. Of course. And I feel like it should be Grant [Gustin] doing the movie.”

Zack Snyder elaborated that the reason for not casting the Arrowverse actors in the DCEU was because of the difference in tone, which is pretty laughable now after what Joss Whedon did to Justice League. In spite of everything, Gustin took it like a champ and even showed his support for Ezra Miller on social media.

3. SUPERGIRL VS. LGBT COMMUNITY

Fans of Supergirl were excited about the potential of a relationship between Kara Danvers and Lena Luthor. The teases had been there for a while, and The CW had previously shown its commitment to promoting same-sex relationships in its programming. However, at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2017, Jeremy Jordan (who plays Winn on the show) went out of his way to proclaim that Kara and Lena are “only friends, they’re not gonna get together, they’re only friends.”

The rest of the cast jumped in as well, almost laughing off the thought of it. This act angered the show’s LGBT fans who saw it as a sign of disrespect. After all, what’s so wrong about a relationship between Kara and Lena? Is it really so outrageous to even fathom it?

2. ROY HARPER’S DEPARTURE

Roy Harper Arsenal

While you might think we’re being dramatic about this, Colton Haynes’ departure from Arrow was a big thing. First off, Roy Harper/Arsenal is an important part of Green Arrow folklore, and to see him not be a part of Team Arrow is heartbreaking. Second, we never got to see Harper break bad on the series and go down the same dark path as his character did in the comic book series.

Ultimately, Haynes’ departure from the show was a blow for fans, but there was a good reason for him stepping back. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the actor revealed, “I asked to step away because I cared more about my mental and physical health than my career at the time. I’ve had terminal anxiety my entire life. Physically ill, fainting. I’m 27 years old, and I have an ulcer. I had to step back.”

1. OLICITY

If you want to trace the exact moment where Arrow went off the rails, look no further than Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak’s romance. Their flirtatious relationship was cute and quirky, and it took a while for the showrunners to pull the trigger and ship Olicity. At first, it was great and fans were happy to see the two lovebirds celebrating something special. Then, it all turned to fish paste.

Suddenly, Oliver lost the ferocity and drive he’d had in the first couple of seasons, and wanted to retire his hood for a life on the porch with Felicity. At the same time, Felicity was now written as Oliver’s partner instead of as a strong female character who’s capable of standing on her own two feet. Fortunately, while Olicity remains, the writers reined back on the lovey-dovey rubbish… for now.

NEXT: Arrowverse Logic Holes We Choose To Ignore

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