The Arrowverse recently treated us to an awesome four-part crossover event “Crisis on Earth-X” that had our heroes fighting their Nazi doppelgangers from Earth-X. While we’re recovering from the crossover event, we decided to dig a little deeper into our beloved Arrowverse. No, this time we’re not looking into easter eggs, cameos and obscure references. There’s much more to a show than what we see on the screen. In fact, one could say that the stuff that goes on behind the scenes is of far greater importance.
But what does happen behind the scenes in the Arrowverse and what secrets are we not aware of? Well, it’s time to take a closer look and find out what the cast and crew have been holding out on. You ever wonder who else wanted to play the Flash or Green Arrow? Did you ever look at a certain building on one of the shows and thought to yourself that you could swear you’ve seen it someplace before? Or perhaps you’re just anxious to know how all of these shows got into development? How far away the original idea is from what actually got made? You’ve come to the right place because we found 16 BTS Arrowverse secrets you never knew.
16. GRANT GUSTIN WAS ALMOST CAST IN ARROW
At this point Grant Gustin has completely won our hearts as the Scarlet Speedster and it’s nearly impossible to imagine anyone else portraying Barry Allen. Gustin brings such an incredible amount of relatability, goofiness and nerdiness to the character that he made it easy for us to fall in love with his Barry Allen.
However, Gustin almost became part of the Arrowverse a lot sooner. In fact, before there even was an Arrowverse, Gustin read for the part of Thea Queen’s boyfriend on the first season of Arrow. Given that Thea dated Roy Harper in season one, it is possible that Gustin knowingly or unknowingly auditioned for the part of Arsenal. Fortunately, the network decided to pass on Gustin and he got to play the Flash instead. Hell of a consolation prize.
15. THE ATOM SPIN-OFF
After the success of Arrow and its spin-off The Flash, the CW started drawing up plans for yet another spin-off. While they weren’t sure what they wanted to do exactly, they knew that they wanted this new series to be as different from the previous two the same way they were different from each other. When the network first started developing plans for the third Arrowverse show they eyed a spin-off for Ray Palmer’s Atom.
Considering that Atom is a major DC hero and quite different from both Arrow and Flash, this idea doesn’t sound all that crazy. However, once they started developing the show the idea evolved and the Atom became a member of a team-up show, Legends of Tomorrow, defined by its very unique approach, with aspects of both Justice League and Star Trek.
14. SUPERGIRL AS THEA QUEEN
Before Willa Holland became Oliver Queen’s little sister Thea, she was mostly known for portraying Marissa Cooper’s little sister Kaitlin on the CW’s The O.C. Casting Thea was no easy task because there was a certain degree of darkness and duality to her character. Prior to Willa Holland landing the part, another familiar Arrowverse face read for the part of Thea Queen.
The actress whom we now know and love as Kara Danvers, aka Supergirl, auditioned to be Thea Queen on Arrow. However, the network thought that Willa was a much better fit because she could encompass all aspects of the character. We have to say we’re glad it worked out the way it did because, while Melissa Benoist does not have what it takes for Thea, she makes a perfect Supergirl.
13. PIED PIPER AUDITIONED FOR BARRY ALLEN
Casting Barry Allen was reportedly a difficult and time-consuming process. Grant Gustin ended up landing the part, but he was not the first to audition for the role of Barry Allen. In fact, one of his colleagues on the show also read for the part of Barry. Andy Mientus, whom we now know as Hartley Rathaway, aka the Pied Piper, came to the CW wanting to portray the titular hero in their new superhero show.
However, Gustin charmed everyone with his take on Barry Allen and the part was his. But the network must have liked Mientus, because they ended up casting him as the season one villain Pied Piper. While Minetus certainly would not make a horrible Barry Allen, we just can’t imagine anyone else in Gustin’s place.
12. THE SMALLVILLE SPIN-OFF
Before the Arrowverse got off the ground, the CW had another popular series based on DC Comics. We are of course talking about Smallville. The Superman origin story starred Tom Welling as the young Man of Steel growing up as a farm boy in Smallville. A recurring character on the show, and later on a regular member of the cast, was Justin Hartley’s Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow.
So, when talks started about bringing the Green Arrow to the small screen in a TV show of his own, it wasn’t exactly a surprising move. Many were expecting the Smallville legacy to continue and Hartley to reprise his role. The initial plans for the show indeed started as a Smallville spin-off, however, the network shifted gears, opting for a more unique origin story for Oliver Queen and a new face to go with it.
11. LEGENDS OF TOMORROW’S CAST
If you’ve been following DC’s Legends of Tomorrow from season one you must have noticed that a number of cast members changed. After the first seasons Captain Cold and Hawkgirl made way for Vixen and Steel, while the third season introduced us to Zari. Although the show does work on establishing its characters and building relationships, the producers said from the very beginning that the show was designed for a rotating cast.
While scheduling and other behind-the-scenes matters certainly play a role, this was done in part to make the show feel more like a comic book. As we know, comic book team rosters are always changing. Characters come and go in order to allow new characters to come in and tell their own stories. So, don’t get too attached to a particular Legend or a particular relationship, they may be gone come next season.
10. AMELL JR. AS OLIVER QUEEN
A number of actors have been fan-cast as Oliver Queen in the CW’s Arrow. Including the man who previously held the title Justin Hartley as well as the Pacific Rim star Charlie Hunnam. As far as we’re concerned, Stephen Amell makes a great Green Arrow and we’re glad he ended up landing the part.
What you may not know is that Oliver Queen was almost played by the other Amell. Stephen’s younger cousin Robbie Amell appeared on The Flash as Ronnie Raymond and became part of The X-Files as Agent Miller, but prior to all that he wanted to be the Green Arrow. Reportedly, the younger Amell read for the part of Oliver Queen, but was ultimately taken out of consideration for being too young. In any case, it’s interesting to think about what the Arrowverse would be like had the Amell roles been switched.
9. IT’S A GIFT AND A CURSE
It took three seasons for Oliver to finally be called the Green Arrow. The Flash was called the Red Streak for quite some time during the first season. Yet, Supergirl became Supergirl in the very first episode. While this is often criticized by some fans, there is a reason behind this move.
Supergirl premiered only four years after Smallville ended its ten-year run. In the later seasons, the show even introduced a version of Supergirl, who served as a mentor to Clark Kent. Supergirl’s producers knew very well that they couldn’t just do a female version of Smallville. The pressure to live up to Smallville’s legacy without copying it, motivated the showrunners to develop Supergirl as a procedural and cut short the origin story. The move seems to have worked and Supergirl’s doing pretty well, especially now that it became part of the Arrowverse.
8. FLASH ON TEAM ARROW
Given The Flash’s success and immense popularity it is hard to imagine that at one point the CW feared that the show might fail miserably and even alienate Arrow’s existing audience. In contrast to the very gritty and realistic tone of Arrow, The Flash was conceived as a much campier show. This transition was very risky for the CW, but as we now know, it paid off.
The network introduced Barry Allen on one of Arrow’s episodes, hoping the Scarlet Speedster would find its audience. And in case their initial plan to spin off The Flash failed, the CW had a backup plan to simply bring the character back to Arrow in a recurring role. Luckily, The Flash turned out to be a huge success, currently even more popular than Arrow.
7. BOOKWORM COPS
All four of the Arrowverse shows are primarily filmed in Vancouver, Canada, however, much of the exterior shots are taken from all around the United States and the world. One of the most interesting little-known facts concerns the Star City Police Department building. With very common appearances, the city’s police headquarters has become somewhat of a hallmark of the show.
What you may not know, however, is that the Star City Police Department building is in fact the main branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. While the inside of the department is merely a set, the fortress-like building serving as the Department’s exterior is a library, but its impressive architecture helps sell it as a police department. The Star City cops must be incredibly well read.
6. PORTLAND CITY
One of the major differences between Marvel and DC Comics is that Marvel tends to use real-life locations with most of its heroes located in New York, while DC uses fictional cities such as Metropolis or Gotham City for its most prominent heroes. Over the years, the fans have debated long and hard about where these cities are located, mostly to no avail.
However, The Flash may have given us a hint about Barry Allen’s hometown Central City. In the second episode of the first season of Flash, a large map of Central City is shown on the screen. If you look closely, you’ll notice that it’s a map of Portland, Oregon with Central City landmarks written on it. This doesn’t necessarily make Oregon the set of the show. However, its influence is notable, especially considering that there are many Portland landmarks seen on the show.
5. THAT SKYLINE LOOKS FAMILIAR
The beautiful night shots of Star City are truly mesmerizing and many fans have started wondering which city is used to represent Green Arrow’s home. If you happen to be a skyline connoisseur you might have even spotted a couple of familiar looking buildings. Arrow’s unique skyline, is indeed quite unique as it combines and blends several major cities.
In order to create the Star City skyline, the CW uses footage of various cities from all around the United States, but also the world. Frankfurt, Germany; Center City Philadelphia, PA; Back Bay Boston, MA; Tokyo, Japan and Singapore are all among the cities used to create Arrow’s skyline. Wow, we never knew Star City was such a melting pot. New York may have some competition, albeit a fictional one.
4. QUEEN CONSOLIDATED, BRUSSELS BRANCH
Queen Consolidated went through a number of changes. In the beginning the company was primarily run by the Queen family with Robert Queen as the CEO. Upon his death, Walter Steele took over as CEO until he was kidnapped, at which point Moira Queen became the CEO. Isabel Rochev was also the CEO of Queen Consolidated with backing from Slade. And after she almost ran the company to the ground, Ray Palmer was voted CEO and renamed the company Palmer Technologies.
However, despite the changes in leadership and name, the Queen Consolidated building has maintained the same exterior. The towers used to represent the company’s headquarters truly exist. The network uses stock footage of Belgacom Towers located in Brussels, Belgium and adds the logo in post-production.
3. WELLS AND THE GHOST IN THE MACHINE
In the first season episode of The Flash titled “The Sound and the Fury” Dr. Wells’ former protégé Hartley Rathaway, known as the Pied Piper, pays a visit to Harrison Wells at his home. The beautiful 12,340 square foot mansion left quite the impression on Team Flash. However, the size is not the only impressive thing this house.
If you’re a fan of the classic 1990s’ sci-fi series The X-Files you might have noticed that Wells’ house is quite similar to a house that appeared on an episode of The X-Files. In the season one Halloween episode titled “Ghost in the Machine”, agents Mulder and Scully get stuck in a house that is being controlled by a murdering computer. The very same house was used on The Flash as the home of Harrison Wells.
2. JEREMY JORDAN WANTED TO BE FLASH
Despite their many differences, Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow have more in common than you’d think. All four shows are absolutely packed with quirky, nerdy characters such as Barry, Kara, Winn, Felicity, Ray and so on. Not surprisingly some of the actors ended up reading for the same part.
Before Jeremy Jordan joined Supergirl as Kara’s nerdy friend, love interest and superhero support, Winn Schott, he was one of the many actors the network considered for the role of Barry Allen in The Flash. Obviously, Jordan did not get the part, even though he possesses much of Gustin’s goofiness the creators were looking for when casing Barry Allen. But Jeremy Jordan was not one to give up easy and soon got a part in another DC Comics show, which made him a fan favorite.
1. LUTHOR AND QUEEN’S SCHOOL FOR GIFTED YOUNGSTERS
Looking at the exterior of the Queen Mansion and getting an extreme case of déjà vu is something pretty much all of us have gone through. And here’s why. The Hatley Castle located in Colwood, British Columbia, which was used as the Queen Mansion, was also used in two other prominent superhero franchises. Prior to becoming the home of Oliver Queen, the Hatley Castle served as Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters in the X-Men movies and as the home of the Luthor family on Smallville.
The Hatley Castle has become a symbol of superheroes, hosting Lex Luthor, Charles Xavier and the X-Men and the Green Arrow. If you visit the Hatley Castle’s official website you can check out a list of movies and TV series which featured this iconic national historic site.
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