The women of the Arrowverse deserve so much more

Green Arrow and the Canaries has officially been scrapped, and it begs the question – why can’t the women of the Arrowverse be allowed to thrive?

Well, frack. After months of speculation, it’s official: The CW will not be expanding the Arrowverse with Green Arrow and the Canaries.

The spin-off series was set up with a backdoor pilot in the final season of Arrow, showing what Star City looked like in 2040 after Oliver Queen’s sacrifice during Crisis on Infinite Earths.

In this reality, Star City has been virtually crime-free for years, and Oliver and Felicity’s daughter Mia has been thriving as a young socialite until her true memories are restored by Laurel Lance and Dinah Drake. Now, it’s Mia’s turn to once again pick up the bow.

The episode was a season-high in ratings after Crisis, becoming the second-most-watched episode of Arrow‘s farewell season. And yet, it wasn’t enough.

It’s unclear why the series was axed. It’s possible that it was merely part of the collateral damage of COVID-19. It’s possible that in the months since the backdoor pilot aired, the actresses leading the series moved onto other projects. (Though that feels particularly unlikely, as Katherine McNamara, who played Mia Smoak, had consistently been expressing her hope that Mia and the Canaries would live on). We may never know for sure.

What we do know is that the decision cuts off another potential branch of the Arrowverse led by women — and it’s getting hard to ignore that.

Last year at this time, the future of the Arrowverse was looking very female. Stargirl was on the horizon, Black Lightning was thriving after having the Pierce daughters really come into their power, Batwoman was finding its footing on the network and Supergirl was leading the way in its 5th season.

Marc Guggenheim, the showrunner for Crisis, even went so far as to say “I think in the years to come, we will see that the relationship between Kate [Kane] and Kara is the replacement for the relationship between Barry and Oliver.”

And then, 2020 struck.

This year, Black Lightning and Supergirl are both heading into their final seasons, and Batwoman has lost its Kate Kane.

Now, in the case of Batwoman, we aren’t worried. Javicia Leslie is taking over the cowl and, having screened the first two episodes of the season, I can tell you she’s more than equipped for the job and will be a joy to watch going forward.

But in the case of Supergirl and Black Lightning, things are different.

Supergirl, the Arrowverse’s flagship show led by a female, will be replaced by Superman & Lois, a series focused on the Man of Steel a character who we’ve met time and time again. Black Lightning will be survived by a spin-off focused on Painkiller.

Though both series have plenty of women capable of anchoring a spin-off of their own, we’ll lose them when we lose the shows we met them on.

After eight years of progress, we’re left with just two Arrowverse shows truly led by women. (Though it’s worth noting that Stargirl is becoming exclusive to The CW this year, after its freshman season aired first on DC Universe, with episodes streaming on The CW the next day. She has not yet officially been inducted into the Arrowverse via crossover as is tradition).

Granted, Sara Lance is the captain of the Waverider over on Legends of Tomorrow. Still, it’s hard to count Legends as female-led, given its massive ensemble of characters. Heading into its sixth season, the series will have had 20 series regulars.

So where does that leave us going forward? Where do women fit into this super world The CW has created?

It’s hard to have confidence that they can, given how they’ve been treated thus far. Lest we forget, Iris spent most of The Flash‘s last season stranded in the Mirrorverse, just hoping someone would finally realize she’s there.

Supergirl‘s fifth season largely sidelined its women in favor of building up Lex Luthor as the season’s villain.

Lois may be half of the title in Superman & Lois, but will she really be allowed to thrive next to her paramour? Or will she be relegated to being his beautiful sidekick, focusing on motherhood and supporting the men in her life?

To their credit, The CW has written the women in their world brilliantly. They’re dynamic characters that fans have come to love and admire. They’re funny, smart, driven, and truly heroic. Their friendships are cornerstones of their series. And that’s why it hurts so much to see them wasted.

Their potential is dangled in front of us – Kelly Olsen as Guardian in “It’s A Super Life” anyone? – and then just left to our imaginations. Time and again we’re left with little more than breadcrumbs, followed by the decision not to follow these women further, with no explanation as to why.

Green Arrow and the Canaries made for the perfect opportunity to turn the tide. Instead, we’ll pour one out for another missed moment.

The women of the Arrowverse can handle more. They deserve more. It just has to be given to them.

How do you feel about the state of women in the Arrowverse? Sound off in the comments.