The Arrow-verse has always loved to drop references to iconic DC heroes. From Arrow's reference to Nightwing's home turf in Bludhaven to the more recent name drop of Bruce Wayne in Season 6, it often sounds to some like the folks behind the show have teased a more prominent Justice League presence. Does this mean that we should expect heavy hitters like Batman actually to show up? According to Arrow-verse executive producer Marc Guggenheim, these moments are more like fun Easter eggs, rather than real promises of any significant hero debuts. Guggenheim explained:
No, I love a good Easter egg, and I love doing the occasional name drop. You know, we name dropped Hal Jordan at the beginning of Season 3, but it's really just fun for us. I think in the Arrow-verse we have our own Justice League and the Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Batman ... these are all characters that are either spoken for on the movie side and/or other shows. There's a Bruce Wayne on Gotham.
If you have seen the recent Crisis on Earth-X crossover between the Arrow-verse shows, then you likely already know that there's no shortage of heroes in The CW's DC universe. Other properties like Gotham and the DCEU have Batman, so while Marc Guggenheim and the folks behind Arrow can use the name, actual access to the character is somewhat limited. This conundrum means seeing big names like Green Lantern (who has been teased several times) or Batman in any capacity other than a subtle nod isn't something that you should get your hopes up for anytime soon.
That said, this still doesn't explain why we can see duplicates of certain other characters while other heroes or villains don't have that opportunity. Only recently we learned that Manu Bennett's Slade Wilson was off of the table for Arrow to use now that Joe Manganiello's version of the super soldier has debuted in Justice League, but that doesn't explain why we can have two versions of Superman or even two versions of The Flash.
Over here on the CW, we're sort of a mischievous lot, and we enjoy the occasional Easter egg. And our partners at DC are very tolerant of our mischief. But that's really all it is. Just good nature, good fanboy mischief.
Arrow will return to The CW from its midseason hiatus on Thursday, January 18 at 9 p.m. ET. Looking beyond The Emerald Archer's solo series, you can also check out our midseason premiere guide to see what other shows are going to debut over the next few months and listen to the most recent episode of The Cord Cutter Podcast to hear what we're currently discussing in the world of streaming content.