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Is STARGIRL the Future of The CW’s Arrowverse?

When DC Universe first launched, it was supposed to be a hub for everything DC fans needed. From an extensive and impressive collection of digital comics through a selection of curated classic animated and live-action movies as well as some of DC’s popular programming and a series of high profile originals DC Universe promised big things. But with the announcement of Warner Bros’ comprehensive HBO MAX, the future of the superhero-oriented service has been unclear. To make things even more confusing, it now appears that one of the original shows DC Universe’s Stargirl will air on The CW. So what does it all mean?!

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The DC Universe Logo

DC Universe

Let’s look back at the history of Stargirl. The series was announced in July 2018 during Geoff Johns’ spotlight panel at SDCC as DC Universe’s newest original. At the time, the series was set to center on “Courtney in high school as she teams up with the Justice Society to fight new and classic villains.” We hadn’t heard much about Stargirl aside from some interesting casting announcements, like Joel McHale as Starman and Luke Wilson as the Star-Spangled Kid.

More recently, Variety revealed that the series would air on DC Universe and then one day later on The CW. That seems to have been contradicted in the new trailer for Stargirl, which makes zero mention of DC’s original streaming service and presents the show as if it’s a CW original. As far as we know, the show will likely still air on both, but will clearly be a huge part of the future of The CW.

As we mentioned earlier on, DC Universe’s future has seemingly been hanging in the balance. Swamp Thing was (unfairly) canceled; Doom Patrol season two will be airing on HBO MAX (as well as DC Universe… for now). Though Titans season three was just announced, the fact that the young heroes and their world were included in The CW’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” event means that they too could potentially end up on the more teen-focused channel alongside Stargirl.

Officially, there’s no word on whether DC Universe will be folded into HBO MAX or available as an add-on. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see, but the fact that one of its flagship shows has ended up on The CW does feel like an important shift, especially when the wonderful Swamp Thing couldn’t find another home.

Will we see Stargirl in one of the final episodes of “Crisis”?
Stargirl art

DC

Seeing as the trailer was played as part of The CW’s Crisis: Aftermath talk show, where Kevin Smith interviewed Geoff Johns about the character, it’s not too wild to expect that we might see Courtney or Stargirl appear in the two final episodes of “Crisis.” The character first appeared in Johns’ first-ever comic book Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #0 and was inspired by his late sister.

If Stargirl does appear, it would follow a long precedent of The CW introducing new key players in their huge annual crossovers. Last year it was Batwoman, who now has her own series. The fact that Stargirl was made for DC Universe means that it doesn’t need to get a pilot approval like the Kate Kane-led series and will already have an entire series when it launches in Spring.

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Curran Walters as Jason Todd and Brenton Thwaites as Dick Grayson

DC Universe

The fact that two of the Titans very briefly featured in the first episode of “Crisis” means that we now know DC and Warner Bros. are using their event in a similar way to the comics to connect and streamline their vast and sprawling world. We’ve seen Black Lightning finally join the Arrowverse after two successful and critically acclaimed seasons; with Alan Michael Ritchson’s Hawk and Curran Walters’ Jason Todd seemingly getting killed by the Anti-Monitor’s waves, it looks like the world of the Titans has been destroyed.

If that’s the case then DC will have to find a way to restore the Titans’ world… unless of course the heroes end up on one of the surviving Earths, which would lean into the comic book source material, as well as offering up The CW a way to soft reboot the Hard-R heroes to fit their more standard network model.

Could Stargirl become the new flagship hero of the CW?
Stephen Amell as Green Arrow

The CW

After dying in the first episode of the huge crossover, Oliver Queen was resurrected as the iconic DC character the Specter in the third chapter of the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” event. What that means for the future of the Arrowverse and Ollie is still unclear, but it does confirm that after Arrow ends he will no longer be the hero that fans know and love.

If that’s the case, it would make sense that The CW’s flagship brand of superheroics would need a new leader who could possibly introduce a new generation of heroes. Stargirl does fit that bill, especially as the new hero will be bringing a selection of classic Gold Age heroes with her.

If Stargirl takes over, what can we expect from the new Arrowverse?
Stargirl looks shocked

The CW

There are a few things that make Stargirl stand out among her CW predecessors. The biggest and most obvious thing is that she’s a legacy hero, whereas Arrow, Flash, and most of the other CW heroes have originated their own roles (even though it has revealed that there are many other versions of them). This story would be a chance for The CW to truly explore legacy, impact, and following in the footsteps of another.

Even in the cases where the network has explored this sort of material before, like Supergirl and Batwoman, the character who inspired them was not a part of their original introductions in their shows. Here, even just from the trailer, we see McHale’s Starman and his sidekick Star-Spangled Boy play a key role in Stargirl’s televisual origin.

Aside from the legacy hero aspect, there’s also the fact that Stargirl is a teenager. The CW has crafted a huge space for itself as a prestige young adult programmer with smash hits like Riverdale and Legacies. The Arrowverse has always centered on heroes in their mid-twenties/early thirties so having a true high-school hero could harness some of the audience of The CW’s other massively popular teen programming as well as opening the door to some other teen heroes whether that would be the Titans or even other beloved younger characters like the brilliant Young Justice. Whatever happens, it’s an interesting time to be a fan of DC TV as the landscape is shifting and changing constantly.

The final two episodes of the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover air on January 14th.

Header Image: The CW