Last week’s episode of Arrow ended with big implications for Star City’s green vigilante. On live television, a photograph of the unmasked hero was shown for all to see, outing the city’s own mayor as its unlawful protector. While we know they’ll probably restore the status quo before the end of the episode this week, it’s going to give the characters a chance to wrestle with keeping the secret. In the process, Ollie himself namedrops one of the very biggest characters in the DC universe and comics altogether.
If you can’t guess who it is, I’ll give you a chance to escape with your spoiler-shields intact.
As mayor of Star City, Oliver Queen’s profile has risen significantly in his hometown, even compared to his days as a billionaire playboy. Along with that, he’s gotten better at answering questions and deflecting them with charm.
“Photos can be doctored,” Queen says in the clip below. “They could’ve put Bruce Wayne’s head on that body. Has Bruce Wayne left Gotham to hang out in Star City recently? No!”
For Arrowverse fans, that means Bruce Wayne and Gotham City are canonical parts of the same world as the Green Arrow, The Flash, and all their buddies. Is he Batman in this universe, and is Wayne sitting at home cringing at the TV as Queen outs him? Or is he just another billionaire playboy like Queen was before he spent Five Years in Hell?
This isn’t the first time Batman has been mentioned in the greater Arrowverse, though. Supergirl has made a couple references to Gotham and its own patron saint of criminal crippling. The difference is that Supergirl and her cousin live in a different universe, and that would keep him from appearing on Arrow in any real capacity.
So how likely is it that Batman could crop up on Arrow? It’s more likely than it used to be, but the prognosis still isn’t great. A few years ago, DC was under the belief that it couldn’t have two versions of its characters running around on television and in movies. A reference to Harley Quinn stayed a reference, and ARGUS leader Amanda Waller was written off the show before Viola Davis could play her on he big screen.
Then, the Flash got successful before DC had fully fleshed out plans for its cinematic universe, and suddenly things started to get a bit murkier. That led to Superman appearing on Supergirl in the show’s second season. And you know what? He was one of the highlights of an already solid season in both of his appearances.
But with that said, Batman is on a level of popularity that no other hero can replicate – even Superman. Further, he not only has a movie incarnation, he already has his own show. Fox’s Gotham started out a show about Jim Gordon before the Batman days, but this season has young Bruce Wayne suiting up in a proto-Batsuit. That seems to be leading ever closer to a full-fledged live-action Batman appearing on the show. Gotham isn’t connected to the Arrowverse in any way, nor is it likely to be. While Batman can be on both big and small screens, it seems like they probably wouldn’t put him on two different shows at the same time.
But hey – Bruce Wayne lives, even if it’s off-screen. Arrow airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. EST.