Crisis on Infinite Earths reset the Arrowverse Earths and significantly shook up all of the shows in ways they are still dealing with. That was nothing compared to what 2020 did to them.
While all of Hollywood is experiencing major setbacks this year in response to the global pandemic, it seems like a week hasn’t gone by lately where we don’t get some news about changes to the Arrowverse.
To help you keep track of what to expect when
Arrow, The Flash, and the rest of the league suit up again this fall next January, here is the current state of the CW Arrowverse:
COVID-19 Scheduling Changes
Like the rest of television, The CW was forced to shut down production earlier this year when COVID-19 hit. Legends of Tomorrow and Black Lightning finished filming their seasons, but Batwoman, Supergirl, and The Flash were all a week or two away from their planned production wrap. Those shows instead worked with existing footage to cut together season finales that gave us some heavy cliffhangers.
With production on next season expected to be delayed, the CW announced their Arrowverse shows wouldn’t premiere until January 2021. Batwoman, The Flash, Black Lightning, and Superman & Lois will all premiere during this time. Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl are expected to premiere later in the year, possibly Summer 2021.
New Batwoman Planned After Ruby Rose’s Exit
Following Batwoman Season One, The CW announced Ruby Rose would be exiting the role of Kate Kane. It sounds like the decision was mutual. Rumors are that Rose wasn’t enjoying the shooting schedule which caused friction with the crew.
Instead of recasting Kate Kane, Batwoman showrunner Caroline Dries has decided to create a new character to take up the mantle. A recent casting call names the character “Ryan Wilder,” describing her as:
“She’s likable, messy, a little goofy and untamed. She’s also nothing like Kate Kane, the woman who wore the batsuit before her. With no one in her life to keep her on track, Ryan spent years as a drug-runner, dodging the GCPD and masking her pain with bad habits. A girl who would steal milk for an alley cat could also kill you with her bare hands, Ryan is the most dangerous type of fighter: highly skilled and wildly undisciplined. An out lesbian. Athletic. Raw. Passionate. Fallible. And very much not your stereotypical All-American hero.”
This seems like a good way to move the series forward without erasing the past season or forcing the audience to ignore a completely different actor in the role. It will be interesting to see how the writers address this change though, particularly as most of the supporting cast is closely tied to Kate.
Legends of Tomorrow Team Shake-up
If you aren’t watching Legends of Tomorrow, you’re really missing out. The wacky show has always been a bit of a halfway house for wayward superheroes and misfits so there is always some team turnover season to season. This past season, however, saw three prominent cast members depart the Waverider.
Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) and Nora Darhk (Courtney Ford) exited the show midway through the season as the real-life and onscreen couple left the Waverider to start a new life together. Based on Routh’s farewell, it sounds like the decision wasn’t up to them. Since Ray has been with the show since the beginning, it’s possible the writers felt this was a good time to finish his story. The decision also could have been made for budget reasons. As one of only three original cast members remaining, and as arguably the most established name at the time, Routh probably had one of the largest salaries on the show. The Atom was also the most special effects heavy hero on the team.
Maise Richardson-Sellers, who played two very different characters on the show, also left during the Season 5 Finale. She was around since Season 2 as the totem warrior Amaya before her story wrapped up and the shapechanging Fate, Charlie, assumed her appearance. Charlie is now leaving the team as Richardson-Sellers moves on to other projects.
Legends of Tomorrow also picked up some new teammates this year and usually likes to add a supporting cast member or two every season. Season Five saw Behrad (Shayan Sobhian) and Astra (Olivia Swann) join the team.
With Arrow wrapping up its 8 season run, this could be a perfect time to bring some members of Team Arrow onto the waverider. Personally I think Mister Terrific would bring a great dynamic to the team.
The Flash Fires Hartley Sawyer
After some offensive tweets came to light, The CW fired Ralph Dibney actor Hartley Sawyer. The Elongated Man joined the cast in Season 4 and has since become an integral part of Team Flash. The most recent season devoted much of the later half to the mystery surrounding his wife, Sue Dearbon.
While The Flash cast does have a solid roster, it may make sense to recast Ralph. The show already has a built in explanation as they have established Ralph’s powers allow him to change his appearance and imitate other people.
Either way, the need to rewrite the first few episodes of the new season could present some good opportunities. The show originally planned to write Caitlin Snow out of the early part of the season due to Danielle Panabaker’s pregnancy. With the delays due to Coronavirus, it looks like Panabaker could be ready to return to work by the time they resume filming.
Supergirl Premieres in Summer 2021
Let’s end on some good news. While most of the Arrowverse will return in January 2021, Supergirl will premiere in Summer 2021 because star Melissa Benoist is pregnant!
The delay will also allow Superman & Lois to stand on its own in January and avoid airing too many Arrowverse shows at once (is that even possible?).
Hopefully, these are all the changes you need to know about as we prepare for an Arrowverse-less Fall. However, I’ll continue to update this as new changes arise.
While some of this is bad news, I’m excited to see where the writers and showrunners take there shows with some new creative constraints and plenty of time to figure out how to overcome them.