From the day the Arrowverse began on CW, fans have been wondering if their beloved Batman exists in this universe. Infact, so many memes were created at that time as DC fans are all about finding Batman everywhere in everything. This kind of obsession with one superhero (howsoever popular he may be) is unhealthy.
But come Arrow season 3, it became clear that Batman not only exists in this universe but showrunners have gone to the extent of making Batman comics foe ‘Ra’s Al Ghul’ as the big villain of the whole season. In many ways, Arrow is inspired by Dark Knight as he is also a playboy billionaire turned vigilante, both lost their parents in different circumstances and they want to save their cities. Further, in the show, Felicity is given a code name “Overwatch” as Oracle is supposedly taken.
It’s an open secret now that Stephen Amell is a huge Batman fan, in fact, on several occasions, he has said that his dream role will be to play Batman villain ‘Riddler’ on the big screen. Recently, Amell revealed that name-dropping Bruce Wayne in Arrow was his idea and he brought the producers on board. Here’s what he said:
“That was really funny; the original version of that script, which came out just before Comic-Con, was just Oliver referencing a famous name. I can’t even remember what the placeholder was; I think it might have been Justin Bieber. And I looked at it and thought to myself, ‘This is a cool opportunity.’ I talked to Greg Berlanti about it, and Greg said ‘I think it would behoove you to go straight to Geoff Johns and just simply ask. You’ll probably have better luck than I would.'”
“So I was at the DC Comics party at Comic Con — Geoff and I were supposed to meet and chat quickly. I couldn’t track him down, but the next thing I knew, I ended up in a four-way conversation with Peter Roth, Diane Nelson, and Kevin Tsujihara all at the same time. I was like, ‘Guys! I have an idea. I think it would be fun, I think it would open the door to a lot of possibilities.”
He further added that mentioning Bruce Wayne in the show has opened up possibilities for the future. He said:
“I’ve always thought that Bruce Wayne would be an interesting ally on the show, and an even more interesting villain to Oliver, which doesn’t mean that he’s the villain, it just means that they don’t like each other. I had this holy trinity of Warner Bros. Television and DC and Warner Bros. overall in front of me, and I pitched this idea, and I’ve got all my follow-up points, and Kevin Tsujihara just goes, ‘Yeah, sure.’ It’s like, ‘Really?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, that sounds fun. Do that.’ So we did it, and I didn’t actually believe that it would make it until I actually saw it in the locked cut.”
On the night of 25th January 2018 when Arrow aired, one thing was clear above all else, Cayden James is not here to play. In an attempt to foil another one of his plots, Oliver assembles the ‘Original’ Team Arrow.
On the other hand, Curtis “Mr. Terrific” Holt banded together with Black Canary and Wild Dog. In this moment of unexpected inspiration (we all knew these three to go on an adventure together.. Inevitable, right ? ), Mr. Terrific suggested that they call an unruly bunch of misfits “The Outsiders”.
Obviously, he was quickly shot down by the other members. As cheesy as the Mr. Terrific character is (I’m still trying to get over his involvement in the DC Metal event) but here he does something interesting.
He references “The Outsiders”, a team formed by a disgruntled Batman, on hiatus from the justice league. The entire premise of the team being formed in the DC universe was the fact that Batman was a vigilante so good, that he communed with the Gods(members of the league) and hence parted ways at times to run a special ops unit which was dubbed the outsiders.
Needless to say that there is an abundance of Batman references in the Arrowverse. If made into a list and then plotted on a chart, taking in mind the timeline of each reference and when it was dropped in the Arrowverse we might get a rough estimate of how and where the bat family exists in this universe.
But the bare fact is that if such a graph/chart/list we’re to exist it would prove one thing above all others, Arrowverse has it’s own timeline convoluted and confused or Batman has been active for far longer in this reality than arrow ever was.
Also, all these references tell us that the Dark Knight is not working alone but the mere mention of Outsiders tells us that the justice league exists in this universe too.
Is all this really that surprising? That is debatable. On one hand, we have already been introduced to an ideal Superman, one who has been operating in the arrowverse far longer than any other superhero and we have Arrow and The Flash independently handling Star City and Central City respectively. And then we have Supergirl being the Omega level entity that she is, a pure deterrent to any and all forces trying to aim for the earth.
The might of Supergirl has been well established over the three seasons of the show. But the question is , what is the arrowverse planning to do by baiting the audience over Batman again and again. The mere fact that the outsiders have been mentioned dictates that the Dark Knight is a far deep-rooted part of arrowverse than we could ever imagine.
Not to mention, with the premiere of Black lightening the reference could not have come at a better time.
In the series premiere of Black lightening ( that saw the return of the hero to the mainstream vigilantism and teased Thunder and lightning, black lightening’s daughters and sidekicks) we met a disgruntled hero who hind up his costume nine years ago. Black Lightning has been a core member of the outsiders in the comics. So this may confirm the entire theory.
The entire theory suggests that the Dark Knight not only exists in the arrowverse but after a considerable peace or/and a major catastrophe, Bruce Wayne and some other heroes (such as black lightning and Katana) gave up their mantles, wanting to correct the situation and change the status quo with their personas behind the mask.
Maybe our caped crusader is trying to make a better world out of the Arrowverse not as Batman but simply as Bruce Wayne.
This may also mean that the Dark Knight was once operational in the Arrowverse but the situation is no longer the same and with the advent of whatever happened nine years ago, it may have affected more heroes than just black lightning himself.
It may also mean that as the show progresses it will shed light on both situation of Black lightening’s shrouded past and the fact how Bruce Wayne fits into the Arrowverse.