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Arrow’s series finale aired back in January, and there are still more revelations coming to light about how its co-creator had wanted the superhero series to end. There was more left off of the table than the amount of Felicity that ended up making it in. Arrow’s co-creator, Mark Guggenheim, has revealed he originally envisioned the series ending with a Batman reference.
Batman did end up making it to the Arrow-verse before its seminal series went off the air. Kevin Conroy played Bruce Wayne in live-action form for the final crossover to feature Arrow, “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” Marc Guggenheim has revealed that he had envisioned Batman playing a significant role in Arrow’s series finale, telling the Fake Nerd Podcast:
I always saw the show ending with Oliver's death, but Oliver's death in the actual finale. Then I kind of had a little bit of a fantasy that Oliver would die and you'd end with some sort of news broadcast talking about his legacy and that would sort of become the voice over. And then you would go to this rooftop in a whole other city, and on the cut, a thug or some bad guy would crash into the frame, having been punched off-screen. And these pair of black boots would come down right in front of him and there'd be a flutter of a scalloped cape and the voice over would say something along the lines of, 'Oliver Queen inspired a whole new generation of vigilantes.' The implication being, of course, that he inspired Batman. So that, of course, didn't happen for a variety of different reasons -- not the least of which is Batwoman came along -- but that was my original conception.
To be clear, Oliver was always set to die in the Arrow finale. That development actually happened well before the series ender. In fact, it occurred in the first episode of the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover. The handling of said death scene led to Oliver Queen’s portrayer, Stephen Amell, bluntly speaking his mind about it, but the aftershocks of Oliver’s life is where yet another twist could have lied.
Marc Guggenheim revealed that a news broadcast was set to offer some narrative context to Oliver’s death. All of which would have led to the reveal that Oliver’s run as the Green Arrow had inspired Batman to take up his mantle. The shot that Guggenheim describes ending the series actually sounds quite awesome.
So, what happened to take this Batman-launching Arrow ending out of the cards? Marc Guggenheim explained that part of it had to do with the emergence of the Arrow-verse’s Batwoman series. But, while there seems to be more to it than just that, Guggenheim did not explain what else happened.
Obviously, Arrow ending with a Batman reference would have theoretically been the backdoor launch to a Batman series. This is just personal speculation, but since Batwoman was already on the air when Arrow ended, the desire for a Batman show may not have been as pressing or feasible to set-up anymore.
Whatever the reason, in the end, Arrow went off the air without the vivid Batman tease that Marc Guggenheim had initially envisioned. On the flip side, Arrow ending with a Batman reference would have been yet another moment which contributed to a character who could have their own show, as Arrow gave rise to numerous spinoffs during its time.
I could see an argument for Arrow making its final moments more about its own legacy than starting another. With that said, it is time for a poll! Do you like the version of the Arrow series finale that made it to air? Or would you have preferred to have had Batman make his mark in the final moments of the show’s run? Weigh in via the poll below!