Six years ago, we were all tossed headfirst into a brand new kind of melodrama. When I say “brand new” I mean they made a show about Batman without actually including Bruce Wayne or bats. Yes, I’m talking about 2012’s Arrow which gave birth to the divisive Arrowverse. As of the writing of this article, Arrow has had several spin off shows such as The Flash, Vixen, Legends of Tomorrow and Constantine. Before you all jump down my throat, yes, I realize that Supergirl might feel like an extension of the Arrowverse, but the creators have taken great measures to ensure us that they technically are not, with only a few crossovers due to Barry’s convenient universe jumping powers. Don’t worry, for the purpose of this article, I will be treating Supergirl as part of the family, since I think it’s one of the better shows in the canon.
When you run for the better part of a decade and have most of the television lineup bogged down with spin-offs, you are eventually going to start to stir up some controversy. It’s basically a law of probability that the more you exist, the more likely it is that something bad will occur. It may be hard to picture that shows involving a three-story human shark and a man that can shrink down to the size of a molecule could have any dark secrets, but isn’t that the whole purpose of a secret identity? Squeaky clean on the surface, only to have a terrible darkness welling up inside you? Darkness like…
26 Even Heroes Mess Up
While Oliver Queen is of course a flawed hero, he's still pretty stellar and avoids a lot of mistakes us normal folks tend to make regularly. Of course, you never actually see Oliver or Green Arrow have to maintain their own Twitter account, which is definitely something most people have to deal with. People like Green Arrow's real life counterpart, Stephen Amell. Old Stevie was doing what we all do, mindlessly running our mouths on the internet, when he happened to touch on a rather hot-button issue.
He decided to comment on the issue of Ahmed Mohamed, who had been suspended from school for bringing in a homemade clock that was mistaken as a bomb. Amell suggested that stereotyping Texas as bigots was as bad as stereotyping Ahmed. This ill-advised tweet caused a ton of backlash, which in turn caused Stephen to apologize, and make a hasty retreat. He made a brief retirement off of twitter, but has since returned.
25 Too Small To Fail
Who would have thought that Brandon Roth's superhero acting career would ever recover after the abysmal failure of Superman Returns? Well, anyone who saw Scott Pilgrim knew that he wasn't totally hobbled by the experience, so fans were actually pretty pleased when he popped up in Arrow as Ray Palmer. Not only were viewers excited to see Routh tooling around as a super once again, but eagle eyed fans recognized the name Ray Palmer as the alter ego of size altering hero The Atom.
In fact, the whole thing was supposed to spin out into Ray getting his own pint-sized show much like Barry did with The Flash. Sadly, somewhere higher up in the studio someone decided that it wasn't enough to carry a show on its' own, but they didn't want to just bury the character either. So they did what television studios do best and simply added elements of the script into an already existing show, which we now know as DC's Legends of Tomorrow.
24 Not So Secret Identities
We currently live in a society that relies on technology, even for some aspects of intimacy. We also live in a time when that technology is turned against us, and the private lives of celebrities are intruded by unscrupulous individuals who are short of grown up material. No fewer than three different women from the Arrowverse have been victims of these so called "leaks" which is a shocking number. Actually, you know what, any number greater than zero is shocking since nobody should have to violated as such.
Both Katie Cassidy and Willa Holland have had risqué pictures of them loosed on the public, and not intentionally. While I don't mean to diminish what those two women went through, what Melissa Benoist had leaked seems infinitely worse. Her and a paramour had photos of them in the middle of some intimate fun leaked to the public. Ever the stoic figure, Benoist only stated that intrusions of this sort should never be tolerated, and said nothing more on the subject.
23 True Blue
This is going to seem a little convoluted, so bear with me here. Ray Palmer/The Atom was added to Arrow with the intention of getting a spin-off, which never happened but instead became part of the character arc in Legends of Tomorrow. But the original-original plan was actually to have an arc featuring the Blue Beetle. It seems likely that this version of Blue Beetle would be Ted Kord rather than the later, and arguably, more popular, Jaime Reyes, since Kord tends to be a genius that built the Scarab that gives him powers. It's easy to see the parallel between that and a Ray Palmer who builds himself a mechanical suit that helps him fight crime. So when DC said that Arrow couldn't have the rights to the character since they had grander plans for him, which might confuse audiences. So the Arrow writers worked with what they were given and simply added a rebranding, replacing Ted Kord with Ray Palmer.
22 Always A Place On The Team
Remember back when The Flash had its' series premier? Do you remember all the hype leading up to it? Remember how we all criticized how stupid Grant Gustin looked in the uniform? Yeah, I wasn't completely sold on a Flash TV show either back then, especially since I always kind of thought The Flash was a tool. Admittedly, that's because I was used to Wally West as The Flash, and Wally in the comics is kind of a useless doofus. Anyways, all the apprehensions we had were not exclusive to the fans, with CW not entirely sold on the concept either, even up to the premier. That's why they were fully prepared to cancel the show if it got bad ratings, but keep The Flash as a character on Team Arrow, which might have been interesting to see. The episodes where they team up are always entertaining, so maybe in an alternate timeline, we have a show where Barry is Oliver's sidekick. Wait, if they are willing to bring back failed characters, why don't we have Constantine kicking around Star City?
21 Our Favorite Tomboy
Sara Lance on Arrow has had one heck of a run of it. She's been presumed dead, only to pop up as a butt kicking martial artist, hardened by Nanda Parbat. She took up the mantle of "The Canary" then she died for real, then she came back a little crazier due to The Lazarus Pit. Now she's White Canary and part of a time traveling team of B-Listers that end up saving the universe on multiple occasions. Suffice to say, she's one of the better characters in the Arrowverse, not only because she's complex and beautiful, but because she could probably end you with her pinky.
The actress who plays her, Caity Lotz, is also a fairly impressive lady. If you check out any pictures of her, she is always dressed to the nines and in terrific shape. Which apparently is enough of a reason to bully her. Yes, growing up, Caity was actually tormented by girls her own age for being too muscular. Jokes on them, though, since now she's paid to be buff and nobody is paying those burnouts to be catty.
20 You're Killing Me
I’m going to be honest; I hated the decision to kill off Laurel Lance/Black Canary. I genuinely think that the showrunners were trying to tap into the shock and grit of shows like Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead by suddenly killing off characters. The problem is, George R. R. Martin doesn’t kill off characters to keep people hooked, he kills off characters because the situation would naturally result in their death. And TWD kills off characters because they desperately want viewers to come back, and don’t know how to properly write a show.
Turns out, Katie Cassidy, the talented and beautiful actress who played Laurel on Arrow hated the decision, has not been quiet about it. While at first, she claimed it was for the best, she has never said she outright loved the decision, and she had to be sold on it. Luckily we still get to see more of her as Black Siren.
19 Failing Into Greatness
After watching Grant Gustin completely own the role of Barry Allen in The Flash it's hard to imagine anyone else in the role. He's awkward but helpful in his civilian life, and always on the go, thinking on his feet and unafraid of anything in his role as the scarlet speedster. Heck, even as Savitar, the evil time remnant version of Barry, he was still compelling. It's like he was simply meant to play The Flash, end of story.
Obviously, that's not the end of the story. We all know that The Flash was actually first introduced on Arrow, but things actually go a little deeper than that. Grant Gustin actually auditioned for the role of Thea Queen's boyfriend, a role he would not be picked for. Luckily, his audition was so good, that he was at the top of the list when the creators were thinking of someone to fill the red boots. I guess things always work out in the end (unless you create a flashpoint paradox, then all bets are off.)
18 Blind Justice
It seems today that everyone and their brother deserves their own subreddit. Obviously a major show like Arrow is going to merit one, since comic book fans have always been the kind to spew forth either glowing adoration or hateful bile about their favorite intellectual properties. Lovingly maintained by fans, the Arrow subreddit was a place for people to gush over their new favorite romances, guess about the identity of whichever villain was pester Oliver this week, and just generally do comic book nerd stuff, but for a television show, so it’s cool.
Except after the end of the disastrous Season 3. I kind of like Arrow but even I can admit that whole arc was a complete mess. It didn’t even try to hide being a Batman rip-off that season, the main villain was Ra’s Al-Ghul. Anyways, fans hated the season so much that they literally shut down the subreddit, and retooled it to be about Daredevil on Netflix. Not only did another superhero claim it, but it was a serious victory in the Marvel vs. DC argument. Since then, the subreddit has been converted back, and you can check it out here.
17 A City That Has Everything
Have you ever watched an episode of Arrow and thought to yourself "that place looks familiar?" Well, if you are one of the millions of people who live in a major metropolitan area, you may be right. You see, in order to get the night-time shots they want for the city, they actually use an amalgamation of different parts of different cities to convey the eclectic neighborhoods of the troubled city. As of right now, some of the best noticed locations for the outdoor night-time shots are from cities like Frankfurt, Germany, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Boston, Massachusetts, Tokyo, Kanto, and Singapore. All of these shots are then given the once over in the editing room to remove many foreign symbols, or even to digitally add in corporate symbols that would tie into the Arrowverse. After all that work, you'd start to think it might just save them time to just build their own fictional city to film all the shows in at once.
16 Not Speedy, But Faster Than A Speeding Bullet
Melissa Benoist kind of came out of nowhere for me. I noticed her as the cast aside love interest in the amazing movie Whiplash. Sources tell me she was kind of great on the musical show Glee which is not exactly something on my radar, but good for her for being a well rounded actress. So when I saw her in Supergirl I was blown away. She's an infinitely more compelling and endearing character than Clark Kent ever was, having actually lost a whole planet, only to adopt a new one to save it.
Originally, that wasn't even the role that Benoist wanted. No, she had her eye on the role of The Queen, who is a tough lady in her own right, but is almost always second fiddle. I'm glad Melissa ended up in the spotlight and not just another hooded member on Team Arrow. Capes are always cooler anyways.
15 Small Beginnings
Some may not know that our beloved Stephen Amell was not the first person to depict the Green Arrow on the small screen. No, that dubious honour belongs to Justin Hartley who you may remember played the Star City Saviour on Smallville. If you remember, that show, which started way back in 2001 if you can believe it, was about the fledgling adventures of Clark Kent before he ever donned a cape.
What you may not realize is that Hartley’s appearance was meant to be the springboard for a spin-off, showing the beginning adventures of GA. Eventually, studios decided it was a bad idea, and decided to reboot the whole story, and do more to make it something dark and melodramatic. I think that decision was probably for the best, considering the last few seasons of Smallville were horrendously awful, even by superhero television show standards, and that’s saying something. I’m willing to forgive Flash, a show with a character named Weather Wizard, but I still can’t forgive that awful depiction of General Zod that came out of Smallville.
14 A Cold Feeling
Wentworth Miller seems like he has had everything go right for him. He went from one massively popular show like Prison Break into being one of the chief antagonists of The Flash, Captain Cold. He should be one of the happiest men in the world. Unfortunately, that isn't exactly how depression works. Everything in your life can be coming up roses, and something in your brain and heart will tell you that you need to be sad.
Wentworth has struggled with that exact weight many times in his life, and has even opened up about being past of the point of wanting to live. Despite his success, he has felt empty and like a failure at different points, which caused him to have thoughts of taking his own life. Luckily for us, but most of all fortunately for him, he has proven to be an intelligent and strong individual who has pushed back against that awful mental disorder, giving hope to any who suffer from it.
13 No Reason To Feel Shame
When in some of his darkest moments, right after he finished filming the final season of Prison Break and becoming semi-retired from acting, Wentworth Miller was burdened with many thoughts of ending himself. As many do when overcome with such feelings, he tried to turn to solace wherever he could, which is fully understandable. In his case, the vice was food, and after keeping himself in such good shape for the long run of his previous show, he began to put on some weight.
Popular website The LAD Bible saw fit to turn this into a meme, claiming that after he escaped from prison, he headed straight to McDonalds. Upon seeing the meme, Miller was at first devastated, but went on the explain the situation, with his struggle with depression and eating, which earned him an apology from the website. He has since gone on the become a champion for mental health issues, hoping to remove the stigma surrounding these tendencies.
12 At Least He Kept His Eye
It's no secret that I think Manu Bennett is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I've spoken more about that elsewhere in the article. He's just an interesting dude to me, and he's always brought a vulnerability to characters that otherwise call for simple brawn and gruffness. Maybe that vulnerability actually stems from some real life experience. It's not like Manu has been short on actual sadness in his life.
At a young age, Manu was in a serious car collision where a driver hit him and his mother while under the influence. His mother tragically passed away from the incident, and Manu was put into a two week coma. To further the tragedy, his brother, who had an unrelated brain stem injury, passed away only a little while later. Bennett channeled this loss into both a sports and dancing career, all of which would culminate in him become Slade Wilson in Arrow.
11 An All Too Common Story
I'm going to be careful with my wording here, because we are wandering into a lot of shady territory here. Andrew Kreisberg has been, in the past, a huge contributor to the Arrowverse. He helped get Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow off the ground, and helped create some of the most memorable character arcs in the franchise's history. Until extremely recently, he was one of the driving forces that helped steer all these shows, for better or worse, in the directions they were going.
Around the beginning up November of this year, fifteen women and four men came forward, accusing Andrew of all forms of harassment. This resulted in him being suspended, and then eventually just flat out fired from anything to do with Warner Bros. It's sad to see such a great universe tainted by the deeds of one foul individual, but obviously, the saddest part is what the victims had to go through at the hands of someone like this.
10 You've Been Here Before
In true billionaire form, Oliver Queen usually resides in Queen Mansion Anyone who isn't one of the one percent will tell you at first glance that it is in no way a mansion, but in fact a full-fledged castle. After griping about why we don't get a castle, we might actually narrow our eyes and think we've seen this castle before. Well, I'm here to tell you that you definitely have, probably multiple times. I can't go over all the movies and shows in which this little bungalow pops up, so I'll just go over when it acts as a base in superhero media.
Anyone who watched Smallville may actually recognize this as the esteemed Luthor estate, where much family squabbling took place behind the walls (as well as horrific experiments and backstabbing plans.) On a lighter note, this has also served as the outside shot for Xavier's School For Gifted Youngsters in the X-Men franchise. Here's hoping the back yard actually opens up to reveal a stealth jet.
9 Back On The Map
People (see: nerds) have been arguing about the locations of where major DC cities are located all the time. Gotham is clearly on the water, but where? Metropolis is also a coastal town, but they never experience winter. Is Central City landlocked or not? I'm sure there is a definitive answer out there for someone with more patience than me, but the point is, these terms have been and always will be vague, since these cities would have to exist over-top of existing cities if landmarks are to be believed.
Point in case: in an episode of The Flash, the gang looks over a map of what is supposed to be Central City, but most people would call that Portland. Yes, that beginning shot in the show Flash with the beautiful river and the multiple bridges, that's the Willamette River.
What's doubly weird is that most of the filming for both shows seems to happen in Vancouver. Oh well, just chalk this up to an alternate earth.
8 Time To Explain Yourself
Who else remembers when William Tockman A.K.A. The Clock King kicked down the doors to the Arrowverse and blew us all away?
Yeah, that isn't exactly how it went down, this sort of dumb bad guy popped up in a single episode of Arrow and a solitary episode of The Flash and both TIMES were pretty forgettable. The dude's whole shtick is that he knows how to manage his time well, and he somehow parlayed that into a life of crime. Why you thought having an accurate Rolex would translate into the ability to go up against a guy who runs the speed of light is beyond me.
Turns out, the actor who plays him, Robert Knepper, may be the real villain here. Since his brief stint playing Clock King, Knepper has been accused of harassment by no less than five women. Of course, in true bad guy fashion, he denies any allegations, so who knows how that whole affair will play out. Whatever the case may be, let's hope that truth and justice prevail.
7 Think About What You Did Wrong
The addition of The Thinker to The Flash is a huge and exciting development, since most of Barry's big foes have also been speedsters. It's nice to see a change of pace (get it) for the show, which can give Barry to show off that he is also something of a genius, as well as the fastest man alive. South African actor Neil Sandilands seems like the perfect casting choice for the role, channeling a look reminiscent of Peter Weller's Robocop.
For someone named The Thinker, he kind of pulled a bonehead move, though. Apparently, sources say that after making an uninvited comment towards a female flight attendant, Neil was actually kicked off the flight. Even sillier, Sandilands defense was that he was actually quoting a line from Eddie Murphy's Coming To America. What that quote could be, and why it would upset someone enough to merit getting kicked off a flight, is anyone's guess.
6 The Cameo That Never Was
The Suicide Squad makes a few appearances in the Arrowverse, with Squad regulars like Deadshot and Bronze Tiger rounding out the B-list villains. It makes sense since this is pretty much the best way to weave the best parts of Batman into a show like Arrow without flat out using The Joker. It doesn’t hurt that there was a huge spike in interest in The Squad with the announcement of the 2016 movie of the same name. So what do most people think of when they think of Task Force X?
Harley Quinn. Unfortunately, by admitting the presence of someone like Quinn, that skirts around the idea of the existence of The Joker, which would be hard to acknowledge without bringing up the aforementioned Joker. Still, Quinn makes a small audio appearance, through a closed door in an A.R.G.U.S. prison, voiced by long time Harley Quinn voice actress, Tara Strong. A fun nod for fans of the Gotham City Siren, without out actually directly admitting she’s there.
5 Never Started As A Role Model
Alex Danvers on Supergirl is really someone to admire. She took up the cause of fighting intergalactic crime way before Supergirl did, and she does it all without powers. Not to mention, her struggle with coming out as a lesbian in the show was a deeply moving and realistic experience. which many fans have said emboldened them to make the same move in their own lives.
Chyler Leigh, the actress who plays her, has had her own struggles to deal with and idolize, too. In her late teens, after a few sad events in her life, such as being estranged to her father, led her down a path of hard substance abuse. Apparently becoming addicted to the devil's dandruff alongside her then boyfriend and now husband, they both decided that it stopped being fun and decided to get clean together. They now have a wonderful family and immensely successful careers, makes her someone to be looked up to both on and off the screen.
4 Under Pressure
Chronic anxiety is a very serious thing that can debilitate people from doing even the simplest of tasks. It makes your every endeavor seem like a life or death decision, to the point where you are unable to function for fear of judgment, reprisal or failure. Many people suffer this condition in silence, with the stigma against talking about it only becoming less in recent years.
Colton Haynes, who plays the roguish Roy Harper on Arrow has suffered from chronic anxiety for years. When he was written out of the show for a brief time, many thought it was due to disagreements with the writers, or even just a natural conclusion to his character arc. The truth is, Colton's anxiety became so bad for a period that he requested time off to try and recover, seek help and sort through what was causing him anguish. Luckily, the show held a spot for him to return, and we may even see him return as Arsenal in some later episodes.
3 A Happy Ending
The paparazzi can be an unmerciful creature, choosing what to expose of celebrities personal lives, whether the subject matter wishes it or not. Not confined to the morals of actual journalism, they only want to create something that will sell issues, not alert people to the truth. Sadly, this kind of misguided meddling worked its' way into Colton Haynes' life.
When rumors began circulating that Haynes was gay, various "news" outlets pounced on the tidbit, claiming various images as declarative proof. Not wanting to be publicly outed, Haynes collapsed under the stress and needed to take a leave of absence. Despite all this, he bounced back, openly admitted to being gay, and later married the love of his life, Jeff Leatham. This brave act led to him making Out Magazine's "out100" for his bravery and excellence in his career. We hope this shows people out there struggling with these kinds of issues in their lives that the bullies don't always win.
2 A Ray Of Bravery
Ray Terrill, also know as The Ray, hasn't had the easiest life. Gaining powers from a dying doppelganger, he eventually traveled to Earth-X. Yes, that Earth-X, the dimension so foul nobody willingly visits. If you are wondering, that's the Earth in which the Nazis won and everything really sucks. After openly falling in love with another man in this dimension, Ray is put into a concentration camp. The Nazis aren't known for their open-mindedness.
Russell Tovey, the actor who plays him, hasn't had it much easier as an openly gay man. Of course, being rejected by one's own parents will always be something heartbreaking. When Russell came out at the age of eighteen, his parents flat out didn't accept the notion. Luckily, Tovey reports that his family eventually softened to the idea and now accept him as the wonderful person he is.
1 Not Sure Who's More Wrong
I have always loved Manu Bennet, from when I was first introduced to him in Spartacus all the way to him being the best villain in the Arrowverse, Deathstroke. He always seems so powerfully charming, bullheaded but thoughtful, he's just kind of my dude. So when I found out he was arrested for assaulting someone at a comic convention, I was pretty brought down.
The details of the whole altercation make the assault seem kind of muddy. Manu Bennett's wife, Karin Horen, had been battling cancer at the time of the assault. As Bennett was leaving the convention, apparently asked to leave for drinking a bit too much, the victim of the assault said an off color remark about Manu's wife. Obviously fragile about seeing someone he loves being consumed by a disease, as well as in an off state of mind, Manu did what a lot of us would do and punched the guy square in the face, dislocating his nose. While I'm never one to advocate violence as a solution to your problems, I am also not one to easily forgive abuse of this kind, especially against a family dealing with a struggle against cancer.