It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost six years since the first episode of Arrow aired. That moment gave us our first glimpse at a DC universe that was working and that had the opportunity and time to expand and include characters we’d never seen before. Marvel gave us a cinematic universe, but Arrow delivered a universe on the small screen, exploring themes and plots in a way that a movie simply can’t. Though it began with humble roots, the Arrowverse, affectionately named after the show that started it all, has expanded to four regular primetime television series. It includes enough characters to rival, if not surpass, the MCU, and successfully intertwines the activities of each show, much to the glee of the audience.
Night after night, our favorite heroes do battle on the CW, facing off against seemingly insurmountable odds again and again. And who can forget the romance and betrayals on-screen? The histories between the characters are so rich and developed, the drama often feels so authentic that it grounds the over-the-top action. The drama isn’t always on-screen, though. Some of the biggest shockers happen off-camera. Between actors leaving shows, characters suddenly removed from the roster, and rumors galore, here’s 15 Dark Confessions from the Arrowverse.
15 NO JUSTICE LEAGUE HEROES IN THE ARROWVERSE
The decree came down from on high: not a single member of the Justice League would make an appearance on the Arrowverse’s shows. Of course, this comes with some obvious exceptions, and Warner Brothers has bent the rules on a number of occasions. You couldn’t have The Flash without the Flash, for example, and both Martian Manhunter and Superman have shown up on Supergirl. However, there have been several notable absences from the Arrowverse with characters whose involvement Warner Brothers simply refuses to allow.
Batman is the character whose absence is the most apparent, and also one of the most awkward. Though he and his allies have been referenced a number of times in the various shows, the Dark Knight will not ever appear. Wonder Woman is another hero whose presence is missed, especially after the incredible 2017 film.
14 DEATHSTROKE DOUBLE DRAMA
Ask any Arrow fan and they will almost all agree that Deathstroke was one of the best villains we’ve gotten in any superhero show today. His relationship with Oliver ranged from guide to mentor to friend, which is why watching the two characters fight was so powerful. Unfortunately, with the advent of the DCEU, Warner Brothers once again pulled the plug on a character.
No longer was the CW allowed to use the master assassin in their universe.
Like that, one of the best characters on the show slunk to the shadows, never to be heard from again. Until he was. Not too long after the original announcement, the success of the DCEU was in question, and fans got another glimpse of Deathstroke. The glory was short lived before Warner Brothers removed Slade from the CW’s consideration once again.
13 SAYONARA, SUICIDE SQUAD
The same thing happened to a bunch of DC’s villains that happened to Deathstroke. When Suicide Squad was announced, Warner Brothers reeled those characters back in and away from the CW’s creative teams. The worst part of this was that, once again, several of these characters had already been used or teased for upcoming appearances. In fact, the Suicide Squad itself was already on Arrow.
Amanda Waller, Deadshot, and Captain Boomerang had appeared in the series, and fans were so receptive of the team that they were clamoring for a spin-off series focused on the legendary Task Force X. Harley Quinn, another popular character, had also been teased. Unfortunately, at least for a time, Warner Brothers had put their foot down, and as a result, almost every founding member of the Suicide Squad got killed off, Amanda Waller, Deadshot, and Captain Boomerang included.
12 ARSENAL'S EXIT FROM ARROW
Hats off to Colton Haynes, the actor who portrayed so well the character known as Arsenal aka Roy Harper. His time on Arrow carried us through several challenging moments in the life of both Roy Harper and Oliver Queen, from drug addiction and betrayal to deep secrets and hidden romances. It was always a blast to watch Green Arrow and Arsenal fighting side by side.
Unfortunately, Colton Haynes departed the show, due to personal issues regarding mental health, and at the time, this was about all the information that people had.
Truth be told, a human being taking care of themselves is no dark scandal, but people wondered what exactly was going on. In the years since, Colton has returned to the show on several occasions, but fans still long to see Arrow and Arsenal team up for a more long-term assignment once more.
11 GABRIELLE STANTON AND AARON HELBING SAY GOODBYE
Aaron Helbing had been one of the producers on The Flash from the very beginning. He’d also written over a dozen episodes of the series, which many consider to be the best show in the Arrowverse. Gabrielle Stanton was another producer and writer. Gabrielle and Aaron's sudden departure came as quite the surprise for fans.
No formal announcement seemed to be made for Aaron. The only reason his departure became known was because his name was absent from the list of season four’s showrunners. This was revealed the night before season three’s finale. Gabrielle, meanwhile, had already left in the middle of the season. To this day, there hasn’t been much word on the subject, but given how secretive it was, people’s imaginations went wild. However, there was some news that came out later in 2017 that could very well be the reason for these mysterious exits...
10 STEPHEN AMELL'S SOCIAL MEDIA BLUES
In early September of 2015, student Ahmed Mohamed was arrested in Texas when a clock he had built for a science project was assumed by his teacher to be part of a bomb. The story got picked up by social media and went viral. Even President Obama got involved, inviting Ahmed to the White House.
Stephen Amell’s involvement was a little different.
In a rare move for the star, he decided to comment on the incident, but took an unexpected perspective, choosing to defend Texas against social media users who were profiling the state and its residents as racists. What may have been good intentions were not taken well by his Twitter following, and the actor took a hiatus from social media for some time after.
9 CONSTANTINE'S CANCELLATION (AND RESURRECTION)
NBC’s Constantine was based on the Hellblazer comics and starred Matt Ryan as John Constantine, demon hunter. Although Matt Ryan’s portrayal was strong and earned a passionate fanbase, the series only lasted 13 episodes before being canceled. There were many reasons for this, from the Friday night time slot in which it aired to the relatively unknown source material.
Perhaps, as some believe, it was simply put on the wrong network. It was definitely different from the typical NBC brand of television. Fans of the show were not without some hope, however. Eventually, the Arrowverse absorbed the character, and while they haven’t launched a new Constantine show, they have brought him into several episodes of Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow. Plus, the CW is launching an animated webseries!
8 SUPERGIRL'S FLIGHT ACROSS CHANNELS
When Supergirl was announced, girls around the world rejoiced in their newfound hero. Melissa Benoist took up the cape, went on tour around America, and inspired hope in everyone she met. It really was quite magical. That’s why everyone was so shocked when CBS announced that it would not be renewing Supergirl. There must be some kind of curse on DC shows that don’t air on the CW.
How else could such a revolutionary and high-quality show be canceled after one season?
Fortunately, the CW picked up where CBS left off and kept the show going. Even better, they began to crossover Supergirl into the rest of the shows. The Arrowverse grew larger than ever before, gaining Supergirl, Jimmy Olsen, Martian Manhunter, and so much more.
7 ARROWVERSE'S DCEU SEPARATION
This may be a case of journalists taking words out of context to mean more than was intended, but Stephen Amell once again found his words at the center of some drama after DC announced the casting of Ezra Miller in the role of the DCEU’s Flash. The news came shortly after the second episode of The Flash starring Grant Gustin.
News sources jumped on quotes about "bad timing” and assumed that Stephen Amell was upset about the whole thing. Other sources also reported Amell stating he wished the Arrowverse actors would reprise their roles in the DCEU, but understood the opportunity for various universes to exist and explore different stories and characters. Ultimately, the misinterpretation amounted to very little; Amell contacted several sources to add context to his words and explain that he wasn’t angry as their headlines stated, and the world moved on.
6 STEPHEN AMELL ATTACKED
The tale of what can only be described as a strange encounter was recounted on Stephen Amell’s social media accounts. A photo showed a bruised Amell, with a caption telling the story. Moments before the photo, the Arrow star was headbutted by a stranger who said he wanted to fight the Arrow. Amell took the high road and refused the fight.
It’s interesting to hear this kind of story because it’s a story that’s rarely reported -- one rarely considers the risks of being a well-known action star.
This is one story that could have definitely been a lot more scandalous than it turned out. It’s a good thing that Amell kept his cool. The real question is what exactly the headbutting stranger was thinking. We’ve all seen Amell training on Arrow -- he’s clearly not anyone to mess with.
5 GRANT GUSTIN'S FAKE SMACK TALK
The internet has a mind of its own sometimes. This time around, it created a scandal where one didn’t exist. They spread rumors that Grant Gustin, who plays the Flash on the CW’s The Flash, was bashing Ezra Miller, whose casting had been announced as the Flash for the DCEU films. While Stephen Amell had made some comments, Grant Gustin had been completely silent.
It turned out that the source for the entire rumor was that he had “liked” some tweets from fans who had voiced their desires to see him play the character in a movie. Anything beyond that was speculation. Grant wrote a note and published it on Twitter to set the record straight. It just proves that the fans can cause as much drama as the people who actually work on the shows!
4 CALISTA FLOCKHART LEAVES SUPERGIRL BEHIND
This behind-the-scenes cast shake-up was the result of Supergirl's massive shift from CBS to The CW. When the show switched networks, it also switched studios. Suddenly, Supergirl was being filmed in Vancouver, a change that didn’t work with the schedule of Calista Flockhart, who portrays Cat, Kara’s boss on the show.
Fans of the show were devastated because Cat’s dynamics with every other character are incredibly interesting to watch, particularly Supergirl herself.
On the bright side, Calista would continue her role on the show, but with a greatly diminished presence. She would be a recurring guest star, and not a series regular. Fans are hopeful for a full-time return but are still holding their breaths. Here’s hoping the boss we love to hate (or hate to love) returns to form permanently!
3 LEGENDS OF TOMORROW LOSES TWO KEY CAST MEMBERS
It’s safe to say that Legends of Tomorrow is the “black sheep” of the Arrowverse. As a team-oriented show, there are a lot of characters at play, but the tone of the show is often mixed, leaving a very hit-or-miss feeling to each season. Audience reviews are generally mediocre, but the characters are some that fans have been watching for years on Arrow and The Flash.
Unfortunately, two of the major actors left the show, which dramatically shifted the overall feeling. The fan-favorite Wentworth Miller (Leonard Snart/Captain Cold) is the most recent to announce his departure, but Victor Garber’s character, Martin Stein, was killed off earlier than that. Both left for other opportunities, which one can understand, but they certainly left a gap in their wake that Legends has struggled to fill.
2 STEPHEN AMELL'S SOCIAL MEDIA BLUES PART TWO
“Some time” in this instance is a couple of days. At that point, Stephen Amell returned to Twitter to voice some sarcasm at the “fake cyber rage” he’d been receiving. It was clear that he was displeased with the attention his tweets had received and the way the story was promoted online. However, this tweet only continued the controversy.
This eventually led to an open letter to Stephen Amell by Arrow fan Jennifer Wattley, who dissected the nature of systemic racism for Amell in an 11-minute video.
The video got a lot of attention and even a response from Stephen, who wrote a lengthy apology to Jennifer and the rest of his fans for his tweets. Fortunately, Stephen hasn’t taken to Twitter about many other issues, and his fanbase has moved on.
1 THE ANDREW KREISBERG SCANDAL
Andrew Kreisberg was fired from all DC productions at the end of 2017 as a result of allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment. Nineteen employees and colleagues of his came forward, describing behavior that was inappropriate, juvenile, and misogynistic. From miming certain acts to making lewd comments, it seemed that no one was free from his advances.
Those who came forward corroborated each others’ stories, telling of the efforts they would make to avoid him while at work, to dress undesirably, and, when all else failed, to try to laugh it off and push through. In an age where this kind of behavior is finally facing consequences, this is a darker chapter for the Arrowverse. That said, hopefully the action taken by WB will prevent this from reoccurring.