Early Days[edit source]
The Arrowverse, as the name of the shared universe implied, began with Arrow, based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow. Andrew Kreisberg, Greg Berlanti, and Marc Guggenheim developed the series and subsequently its spin-offs. The series focused on Oliver Queen's (Stephen Amell) crusade to fulfil his father's wishes after he passed away to ensure Queen's survival in the Queen's Gambit's sinking. Arrow premiered October 10, 2012, and concluded on January 28, 2020, concluding with 170 episodes in total.
Arrow and The Flash[edit source]
In July 2013, Berlanti, Kreisberg and Guggenheim began working on a series based on the DC Comics character The Flash, with the series serving as a spin-off to Arrow and set in the same shared universe. In the second season of Arrow, Grant Gustin, Danielle Panabaker and Carlos Valdes made guest appearances as Barry Allen, Caitlin Snow and Cisco Ramon, with "The Scientist" leading to The Flash. The series eventually premiered on October 7, 2014, lasting over eight seasons and being the longest running series in the Arrowverse.
In the first season of The Flash, the character of Oliver Queen made multiple appearances, including a two-part crossover titled Flash vs. Arrow. This set a precedent for subsequent annual crossovers, with Queen and Allen being major characters up to Crisis on Infinite Earths.
In November 2014, Berlanti hoped in making his CBS series, Supergirl, a part of the Arrowverse. However, this ended up not being the case as the series aired on a different network and taking place in a parallel universe. However, Barry Allen guest starred in "Worlds Finest" and established the series as another universe in the Multiverse. Later, Supergirl moved from CBS to The CW as well as the production venue from Los Angeles to Vancouver.
Vixen is based on the DC Comics character Vixen and the first animated webseries in the Arrowverse. The series aired on CW Seed between August 25, 2015, and November 18, 2016. Multiple characters including The Arrow and The Flash made appearances, with their initial actors voicing and reprising their roles. Megalyn Echikunwoke, who portrayed the titular character, later reprised her role in live action on Arrow.
In the 2015-2016 midseason lineup, DC's Legends of Tomorrow premiered with recurring characters from Arrow and The Flash. Like Vixen, Legends of Tomorrow featured guest appearances from other series. Prior to the premiere, Heroes Join Forces, a crossover event between Arrow and The Flash, aired as a prelude to the series. Additionally, John Constantine made his re-debut in the third season after his guest appearance in Arrow's "Haunted", which established Constantine as a part of the shared universe.
The series premiered on January 21, 2016, and was cancelled on April 29, 2022, concluding the series with 110 episodes on March 2, 2022, as the second series to be cancelled without an intended final season.
Since Heroes Join Forces, Arrow and The Flash continued to have annual crossovers, with Supergirl and DC's Legends of Tomorrow joining the lineup. All crossovers heavily emphasized the relationship between characters of different series, and set up future storylines while some featured characters of other franchises (The Flash of the 1990 The Flash series).
Following Crisis on Earth-X, an animated miniseries focused on The Ray and the Freedom Fighters premiered on December 8, 2017. The series took place on Earth-X, with a minority of the story taking place on The Ray's home universe of Earth-1. Albeit the series originally intended to tie-in with the crossover, there were multiple continuity errors including the membership of the Freedom Fighters and first interactions between characters being different.
Like Freedom Fighters: The Ray, Batwoman premiered as a follow-up to a crossover event, Elseworlds. The series is based on the DC Comics character Batwoman, with Ruby Rose portraying the eponymous character of Kate Kane, who was later replaced by Javicia Leslie as Ryan Wilder in the second season. Batwoman premiered on October 6, 2019, and was cancelled on April 29, 2022, concluding the series with 51 episodes on March 2, 2022, as the first series to be cancelled without an intended final season.
In the epilogue of Elseworlds, it was announced that Crisis on Infinite Earths would be the following crossover. The crossover featured characters from Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, DC's Legends of Tomorrow and Batwoman, and cameos of characters from other DC franchises, including Batman: Classic TV Series, Superman: The Motion Picture Anthology, Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology, Smallville, Birds of Prey, the DC Extended Universe, Lucifer, and Black Lightning. Black Lightning was also later established as a part of the new shared universe created at the end of the crossover event, with the original Arrowverse series remaining connected in the same shared universe.
While the actors of certain series were not featured in the crossover, archive footage from Titans, Doom Patrol, Swamp Thing and the then upcoming series Stargirl were shown in a montage. Wonder Woman, Gotham, Powerless, Krypton and Naomi were also confirmed to be connected through a shared multiverse in tie-in comics and interviews.
In October 2019, before the Elseworlds crossover event, Todd Helbing, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schecter and Geoff Johns was announced to produce a spin-off based on Superman and Lois Lane. The series premiered on February 23, 2021, with David Ramsey directing "Man of Steel" and reprising his role as John Diggle in "Through the Valley of Death".
Cancelled Projects[edit source]
While many shows were ordered to series and lasting nearly a decade, many ideas were proposed and was eventually cancelled. This includes Green Arrow and the Canaries and Painkiller, who were spin-offs of Arrow and Black Lightning, respectively.
Released Media[edit source]
Television Series[edit source]
- For the diverged shared universe of novels, see Barryverse.