Arrowverse creators, stars, and even fans are right to have an affinity for the universe’s name. After all, the CW hit a significant home run back in 2012 when it cast Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen on Arrow. The show did well with critics and established a core audience on the channel with more than three million average viewers over the first four seasons. And the network took that goodwill as a springboard to launch a number of other shows around the same universe, which was of course then called the Arrowverse. So I think you can forgive Amell when he gets a little testy over the network wanting to change the name away from the character.
The CW is trying to rebrand the Arrowverse as the CWverse.
Stephen Amell didn’t mince words when he said the pivot away from the Arrowverse into the CWverse “Fucking pissed me off.” It’s hard to blame him. Not only does the latter name just sound pretty awful, but the groundwork Amell laid as Queen on Arrow assuredly led to bigger things on the CW. It allowed them to produce a whole stable of shows which stemmed from the original. Changing the name now, after almost a decade to a decidedly worse handle, does seem like folly.
After Arrow launched the Arrowverse, a number of other shows quickly followed with series creator Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim at the helm. They brought on Grant Gustin as Barry Allen on The Flash, Melissa Benoist on Supergirl, and then rounded things out with Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning, and Batwoman. Next on tap is Superman & Lois which is set to premiere in 2021.
It’s a stacked lineup with, coincidentally, only Arrow no longer in the Arrowverse. It is likely that this has the CW wanting to rebrand the universe under a new name so onboarding fans doesn’t lend itself to some confusion. In that respect, there’s probably something to be said about the decision. Though, rebranding as the CWverse just isn’t cutting it.
And even though Amell and Green Arrow aren’t part of the current broadcasting lineup, that doesn’t mean it’s the end for the character. Guggenheim has recently said he’d be open to an Arrow movie even though the show buttoned things up rather definitively at the end. But there is just still so much positivity and momentum around the current lineup that it does feel weird to let the tentpole show leave and never come back.
In all, the Arrowverse continues to push forward new looks and diverse casting with Javicia Leslie becoming the first African American to don the cowl in Batwoman. And though Melissa Benoist has left Supergirl, there’s speculation we will get a new casting in that role as well.
After more than eight years, seven shows, numerous crossovers, tons of fan goodwill, a flagship character who started it all, and a growing base of support around the world, changing the name from Arrowverse to CWverse does feel like the wrong move. On that much, I can agree with Amell. And though I don’t necessarily share the same relative hostility toward such a move, it’s tough to disagree with him. Arrow started it all, and the universe should remain under that same umbrella.