The CW Needs The Batman

by Chris Foti
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CW’s DC Universe, also known as the Arrowverse or Belantiverse, is a great way to watch some of your favorite DC characters during primetime television.  However, as great and successful as it has been in its 5 years, it is time to bring in the big gun.  It’s time for the Batman.  Whether it’s a cameo, name drop, or full fledged crossover/series, it is time for the Dark Knight to step out of the shadows in the Arrowverse.

The evolution of the Arrowverse, consisting of Arrow, Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl (after being acquired by CBS), and soon to be Black Lightning, has been quite the journey.

Starting with Arrow back in 2012, the show was very dark, gritty and realistic, having drawn huge inspirations from the highly successful The Dark Knight Trilogy.  One of the show’s approaches to being realistic for example, is that a guy shooting razor sharp arrows at people is probably going to kill a few.  A lesson Oliver is currently paying the price for in Season 5.

And that’s the thing, Oliver Queen might as well be Batman in this series.  In Batman Begins, Bruce also let one of his enemies die (or killed depending who you ask), which he paid the price for in The Dark Knight Rises.  In fact, without diving into spoilers, one of the characters looking to enact their revenge in both The Dark Knight Rises and Arrow Season 5 is one in the same, for the same exact reason.

I’m going to describe to you a character, and you tell me if it’s Bruce Wayne or Oliver Queen.  Billionaire playboy.  Spent years away from his city training to become…something else.  Dark and brooding.  Makes his voice scary and intimidating when in costume/dealing with criminals.  Starts his mission as a loner and slowly builds a “family” of allies, who he personally trains.  Works out of a high-tech, underground bunker.  Gained the respect of Ra’s al Ghul, whom he considered an equal and successor of his legacy.

The answer, it’s both.  This describes both Bruce Wayne and the Arrowverse’s Oliver Queen.  The CW obviously, so desperately, wants to tell a Batman story, so they are basically doing that with Green Arrow.  Not to knock them for it, for I have personally enjoyed the series for the most part (let’s not talk about Season 4), but we all know what they’re doing.

That is why I believe it is time for BW to finally make his appearance.  Whether it’s DC not allowing the CW to use him, or CW just not willing to pull the trigger, it should happen sooner than later.

When Supergirl was still on CBS, we knew that Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El existed through discussion and even messages back and forth with Kara.  When it was acquired by the CW for Season 2, they immediately put a face to the character in the first two episodes of the season.  Enough for us to get to know the CW Man of Steel and feel his presence, but not so much he intrudes.  It helped bring in new viewers who might’ve previously ignored the show, while setting up possible stories for the future.  And now when they mention him, like in this week’s Music Meister episode, we know exactly who they’re talking about.

With the ever growing Arrowverse with superpowered beings, alternate Earths, Flashpoint, alien invasions, and time travel, who says Oliver Queen can’t make a simple business trip to Gotham City that has him crossing paths with the Caped Crusader?

Along with being Gotham City’s protector and a founding member of the Justice League, one of Batman’s other claims to fame is being the founder of the Outsiders, a group of superheroes who don’t quite fit in with “mainstream” heroes.  In the various comic book continuities, Batman usually gathers this team when his relationship with the Justice League are strained, so he decides to do his own thing (very Batman thing to do).

Three common members of the Outsiders are Black Lightning, Katana, and Metamorpho.  As mentioned earlier, Black Lightning is getting his own series next year.  Katana has already been introduced on Arrow and has an established history with Oliver.  Metamorpho can easily be introduced in a Black Lightning episode as a misunderstood meta created by the Particle Accelerator.

Seeing as each show in the Arrowverse has a team helping the hero, Metamorpho and Katana can be the supporting characters that help Black Lightning, and Batman can be the one who brings them together.  Maybe he only appears in a couple episodes to establish them as a team, then only communicates with them in other means to keep his presence alive without needing him in every episode.  You don’t even need a whole show called “The Outsiders”, they can simply exist as is within Black Lightning.

There are countless ways they can introduce Batman to the CW.  Maybe he exists on the same Earth as Supergirl, and not on Earth-1 with Arrow and Flash.  Maybe Wayne Enterprises becomes a business rival with Palmer Tech and a business trip brings Bruce Wayne to Star City.  Or a mission brings him to Star City while tracking a villain.

The fact of the matter, is next year we will be entering our sixth year of DC TV on CW.  Not to say their ratings are bad, but knowing that a TV version of Batman is coming would certainly inject some new life to help keep people interested, as well as bring in new viewers.  Then, once the viewers are there, they have a wealth of shows to choose from to stick around with.

Maybe they want to watch them all.  Maybe they only want to stick with one or two, and only bother with the others during a crossover.  Maybe the Arrowverse isn’t their thing, and they were right to avoid it all these years.  But it’s worth the risk to bring in all the viewers who want to see Batman, who haven’t bothered to watch so far.

Gotham is telling its story of how a young Bruce Wayne deals with the murder of his parents, and slowly starts to turn into the Dark Knight we know.  The DCEU is telling the story of an older, veteran Batman who has been protecting Gotham for 20 years, and is about to unite the Justice League for the first time on film.  Let’s have the CW give us “in his prime” Batman.

Batman is the greatest fictional character in history.  He has so much depth and potential for storytelling, it would be a shame if he’s completely ignored in the live-action TV realm.  CW wants to tell a Batman story, that’s why they made Oliver Queen a TV version of Bruce Wayne.  So do what you have to do, and give us a Batman story.

What do you think?  Do you think it’s time that the CW brings in the Bat?  How would you like to see him introduced?  Or should he be kept strictly to big budget blockbuster movies?  Can there be an over saturation of Batman on film, tv, animation, and comics?  Let us know!

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