Franchise / Arrowverse
The Cape and the Cowl. But probably not the ones you were expecting.

Cisco Ramon: I mean, this world was crazy before all these meta-humans and super powers, right?
Roy Harper: What's your point?
Cisco Ramon: Well, maybe metahumans and superpowers were given to us to deal with the crazy.
John Diggle: You mean by God?
Cisco Ramon: No. By a dark matter wave released from a failed particle accelerated reaction... I think people like Barry are the hope for saving people like us. ...Plus, you got to admit, it's all pretty freakin' cool, right?

The "Arrowverse" (or "Arrow-verse", "ArrowVerse"...) is a common Fan Nickname given to a group of superhero TV shows based on DC Comics that air on The CW and share the same continuity and producers.

It began in 2012 with an adaptation of Green Arrow called Arrow. In its second season, it introduced Barry Allen before he got his powers (he got struck by the legendary lightning bolt in his second appearance), and he soon gained his own spinoff naturally called The Flash. An animated web series starring Vixen, guest-starring Arrow and Flash cast members as their characters, was streamed on CW Seed in 2015. The third spin-off, Legends of Tomorrow, began airing in 2016. It features The Atom, who debuted during Arrow's third season, and Firestorm, who debuted in The Flash, teaming up with both new and old characters.

The Arrowverse is not in the same continuity as the DC Extended Universe of films that began with Man of Steel. There is no direct hint that Superman or Batman are known or active in this universe (not yet, anyway), and superpowered abilities and the supernatural in general were not common until The Flash introduced metahumans (while there were "hyper-realistic" elements that skirted the line). References to the greater DCU are common; elements of the Batman mythos were heavily incorporated into Arrow. There are some characters in the shows that will also be in the movies, but played by different actors.

Other live-action DC shows that air at the same time, like Fox's Gotham or NBC's Powerless note , are all self-contained and not innately part of the Arrowverse continuity (although Supergirl's Channel Hop to The CW may indicate some change).

Despite this, executive producer and DC writer Geoff Johns has likened the movies and TV shows to parts of a multiverse and that crossovers are not 100 percent out of the question. After Constantine's cancellation, the character (played by the same actor Matt Ryan) and show were adopted into the Arrowverse, first appearing in Arrow's fourth season. CBS's Supergirl, specifically, is made by the same production company as Arrow and The Flash, and CBS partially owns the CW, so the possibility of an even wider shared setting is already there. Indeed, The Flash ended up exploring the Multiverse and Alternate Universes, with Barry appearing in Supergirl's first season, and Supergirl itself will move to the CW for its second season (since CBS was unwilling to bear the cost for such an expensive series).

Shows set on Earth-1 in the Arrowverse include:

Shows set in the Multiverse include:
  • The Flash (1990), retroactively. note 
  • Supergirl (2015), concurrently. note 

Tropes found in the shows:

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  • Aborted Arc: Plans for Harley Quinn to be a major character in Season Four of Arrow after her Season Two cameo were canned due to Executive Meddling. Likewise, despite all the numerous nods and teasers to the Green Lantern mythos in Season One of "The Flash" and Season Three of Arrow, Hal Jordan never appeared (outside of a extremely brief cameo that didn't even show his face- just the torso of somebody wearing a flight jacket) due to an arbitrary ban on anything involving aliens.
  • Absent Aliens: With Superman not being a part of this 'verse, no other aliens make an appearance. However, Barry does meet Supergirl in a crossover episode and is amazed to discover that aliens are real on her Earth. The Legends of Tomorrow spin-off puts an end to this with the revelation that Thanagarians are set to invade Earth in the distant future and that the meteorite that mutated Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and Savage had been sent by them.
  • Action Girl / Dark Action Girl: Although the two title characters are men, both shows have done a good job of having female characters, good and bad, who are capable in their own right and not just filling the role of Love Interest or The Chick.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance:
    • Thea was introduced before Roy due to Related in the Adaptation coming in full force. In the source material, her counterpart Mia Dearden is the second Speedy succeeding Roy Harper.
    • Isabel Rochev is supposed to be introduced when Oliver is well into his career as the Green Arrow. Here, she was introduced in his second year and died two years before he officially named himself "Green Arrow".
  • Adorkable: Barry Allen, Ray Palmer, Felicity Smoak and Cisco Ramon are the notable examples.
  • Alternate Continuity: This is a major adaptation of the DC Universe...and Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are nowhere to seen. Although Legends of Tomorrow implies the first two might not be as far off as you think.
    Rip Hunter: I've seen Men of Steel die and Dark Knights fall.
  • Alternate Universe: Tackled more on The Flash.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: The shows are flooded with these type of women. There are the Defrosting Ice Queen types (pre-Character Development Laurel Lance and Caitlin Snow, Tatsu Yamashiro, Dr. Tina McGee, Mei), Deadpan Snarkers (Thea Queen, Sin, Lisa Snart), those who are downright rigid (Helena Bertinelli, Isabel Rochev, Nyssa Al-Ghul, Amanda Waller, Taiana, Valentina Vostok), usually distant (Felicity Smoak in her backstory, Shado, Lyla Michaels-Diggle, Mary Martin) or just plain aloof (Carly Diggle, Linda Park in a bad day as well as her Earth-2 counterpart. Also pretty much everyone mentioned except the usually distant ones).
  • Arc Number: 52 pops up a lot in the shows.
  • Arc Welding: NBC's short-lived Constantine series was retconned as part of the 'verse the following season, though Word of God is there are no plans to use him after his one appearance on Arrow. Though he has been mentioned a few times since.
  • Artistic License Law: The 'verse plays fast and loose with the law, but the secret extrajudicial prisons are the big ones.
    • Oliver's prison on Lian Yu is built, maintained, and operated by A.R.G.U.S., a US military black-ops project, so we can assume it to be legal in the same way as Guantanamo Bay—that is, it's legal, but a lot of people really wish it wasn't.
    • Barry's prison in the particle accelerator, on the other hand, doesn't even have that shaky legal justification. It's owned and operated by private citizens with no legal or law enforcement training, keeping people imprisoned for life with no chance of trial or parole, based solely on whether or not they have powers. Only one person involved with the legal system (Joe) knows about it, and he's uncomfortable with it, but lets it slide because there's nowhere else to put them. When he brings up the situation with a friend of his in the DA's office, she points out that it is horrifically illegal, and he's very likely to go to prison for a very long time if he doesn't dissociate himself from the situation.
      • Near the end of Season 1, the particle accelerator prisoners were going to be transferred to Lian Yu, whose operation as a prison is legitimate as mentioned above. Of course this never happens, as Snart breaks them all out.
      • By Season 2, the city's prison has been equipped to hold metahumans, so the highly illegal particle accelerator prison is no longer needed. However, a villain from Earth-2 shows up and happens to have the same face as one of the Flash's friends. Obviously, she had to be imprisoned in the particle accelerator.
  • Ascended Extra: In a broader sense. Both Green Arrow and The Flash are popular characters in the DCU but (Green Arrow especially) not exactly the main players in the superhero community, and outside the comics neither have had much exposure beyond the ensemble shows. Within this universe they ARE the Batman and Superman of the setting.
  • Back from the Dead: The Lazarus Pit exists in this universe so resurrection is possible. So far, only four people have done it; Malcolm Merlyn (only implied, though strongly), Oliver Queen (though not by the pit), and Sara Lance (Thea was near death, but not dead). The Pit was destroyed after that last one to keep the 'verse from falling into Death Is Cheap. However, Damian Darhk is shown of being capable of resurrecting, though whether its from the waters he stole from the Pit or if he's a Necromancer is yet to be revealed.
  • Badass Family: Some of the Sibling Teams below are exactly that for a reason.
  • Badass Gay: Several, we have lesbian Dark Action Girl Nyssa Al Ghul and Bisexual Anti Heroes Sara Lance for Arrow and John Constantine. Straight Gay Captain Singh and Hartley Rathaway (the two aren't a couple in this continuity, mind) for The Flash.
  • Belated Happy Ending: At least for Constantine that was Cut Short before the Story Arc reached any conclusion. John's appearance in Arrow implies that the Brujeria failed to bring hell on Earth but on the other side the fate of Zed Martin who has a brain tumor and Jim Corrigan who was destined to die in a vision remains unknown.
  • Big Good: Barry and Oliver. They're the ones who unite the team in Legends. Barry in particular is acknowledged as having the potential to be the most powerful hero of The Verse.
  • Biker Babe: The Lance sisters, Helena Bertinelli and Lisa Snart.
  • Broken Pedestal: Dr. Harrison Wells had the admiration of nearly every promising scientific mind in the verse: Barry, Felicity, Ray, and of course Cisco and Caitlin. They were crushed when they found out he was a) a villain and b) not really Wells at all.
  • Brother-Sister Team: Leonard and Lisa Snart, Oliver and Thea Queen starting Arrow Season 4.
  • Canon Character All Along: This universe loves playing with this. Notable examples are:
    • Oliver is given a younger sister named Thea, who is then revealed to be the equivalent and sort-of-namesake of Mia Dearden (Dearden is her middle name, and she's used Mia as an alias.)
    • Like Oliver, Laurel is given a younger sister named Sara, who is then revealed to be a Decomposite Character of Laurel's mother Dinah Drake. Mind you, Dinah Drake is also in the series (portrayed by Alex Kingston) but she is an Adaptational Wimp. She also turns out to be this universe's White Canary, making her a triple Composite Character.
    • During the middle of The Flash Season 2, Barry encounters a Man in the Iron Mask imprisoned with him and Jesse Quick. This man turns out to be the real Jay Garrick.
  • Canon Immigrant: John Diggle and Tommy Merlyn from Arrow have both appeared in the DC New 52 reboot comics.
  • Canon Invasion: As mentioned above, Constantine was retroactively made part of this universe. So is The Flash (as an Alternate Universe).
  • Celebrity Paradox:
  • Chick Magnet: Oliver and Barry have their fair share of girls, the former more so.
  • Childhood Friend Romance:
    • The Oliver/Tommy/Laurel Love Triangle. For the matter, the Oliver/Laurel/Sara Sibling Triangle.
    • Barry has been in love with Iris since they were in fourth-fifth grade.
  • City of Adventure: Central City after the Particle Accelerator exploded.
  • Close Enough Timeline: The Flash reveals that the Arrowverse as we know it was altered by the Reverse Flash traveling back in time to kill Barry's mom. It's also made clear that there are domino effects involved with Time Travel so there were unknown differences in the original timeline, but Barry and Oliver still became their particular heroes.
  • Color Character: Black Canary, White Canary, Golden Glider, Dark Archer, Green Arrow.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Zigzagged depending on the show. On Arrow it's a while before Oliver embraces his hero name, and even though the villains have codenames their usually referred to by their civilian names. While on The Flash, Cisco is quick to dub every villain with a codename.
    Oliver: Last month, you took on a man named Leonard Snart—
    Barry: We call him Captain Cold.
    Oliver: We can talk about you giving your enemies silly codenames later.
    Barry: You mean, like, over coffee with Deathstroke and the Huntress?
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • The pilot episode of Arrow is guilty of this for two things.
      • It shows a very different Sara Lance. Not only because she was played by a different actress, but because said actress actress has nothing in common with the more well-known version — the former is a tall brunette, the latter is a blonde with above-average height, and both features were made as an important plot point for her family's arc late in Season 1. The former's name was also spelled slightly different (with an "h").
      • Robert Queen's birth year was shown as 1948 before it was reestablished as 1958 at the following episode.
    • According to Malcolm Merlyn, he was informed of his wife's murder when he was at his office. When the flashback was shown in Season 3, the authorities informed him at his home.
    • The timeline of Barry's Superhero Origin differs from the one shown in Arrow to the one shown in his own show's pilot. In Arrow it happens on the same night he comes back from Star City, while in The Flash it happens the night after. Then again, rectifying his Origin Story was his show's Big Bad's intended goal. And he already screwed the timeline significantly to do that.
    • The crossovers worked pretty well in the first half of Arrow Season 3 and The Flash Season 1, but in the second half they appeared to get knocked out of sync by a week or two, resulting in the Arrow team picking some rather odd moments to head to Central City.
      • This is even more awkward the following season when Barry appears on Arrow with his powers at a time when he'd lost them on his own show. It it was a whole month before we got to see how he got to Supergirl's Earth.
    • Al Rothstein, who will eventually become Atom Smasher, was mentioned by Harrison Wells as one his staff that died during the Particle Accelerator incident. He appeared as the Starter Villain of Season 2 but both Caitlin and Cisco clearly doesn't know him. And that one was from Earth-2. Cisco and Caitlin didn't know the one from Earth-1 either. Said Earth-1 counterpart wasn't even in Central City when the Particle Accelerator went off.
    • Constant time traveling of speedsters like Barry, Eobard Thawne and Zoom, coupled with Team Legends' own shenanigans, may justify this inconsistencies.
  • Crossover: As can be expected of a franchise based on comicbooks, these happen frequently.
    • There was a big two night crossover advertised as Flash vs. Arrow. The characters also make frequent visits to Central and Starling City which is helped since the two air at the same time-slot on consecutive nights (Tuesday and Wednesday respectively).
      • Not only was there a second crossover the following year, but it served to set up the events of Legends of Tomorrow, featuring two of its main heroes and the first appearance of its primary villain.
    • On a rare example of a crossover with a canceled show, Arrow had a crossover with Constantine in season 4s fifth episode, "Haunted", where Matt Ryan reprised his role as John Constantine.
    • Flash and Arrow both made guest appearances in the first season of Vixen. The tables turned several months later when Vixen herself showed up on the fifteenth episode of Arrow's fifth season, "Taken".
    • And then Flash crossed over with Supergirl, by way of Barry travelling to an alternate universe.
    • According to Word of God, following the news that Supergirl would be moving to CW, we can expect Supergirl, Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow to all participate in the annual crossover in December.

  • A Day in the Limelight: Batman and Superman have been in the public consciousness for decades because of Adaptation Overdosed. The Arrowverse is a opportunity for classic but lesser known DC characters to have their day in the spotlight and be exposed to a wider audience.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Count Vertigo takes several arrows to the chest and then falls to his death. The writers later pulled a Decomposite Character move and introduced a second Count Vertigo in the Season 3 premiere of Arrow.
    • Firefly commits suicide after being defeated by Ollie.
    • Shado is shot and killed by Professor Ivo.
    • The Dollmaker is killed by The Canary after he kidnaps Laurel and Quentin.
    • Detective Chyre, an ally of Wally West in the comics, dies even before Barry Allen gets his powers.
    • Clyde Mardon was killed by Joe West in the pilot episode of The Flash.
    • "Dr. Wells" kills Simon Stagg when he determines that he poses a threat to the Flash.
    • Deadshot calmly waits to get caught by the explosion of the building he was standing in.
    • Eobard Thawne/The Reverse-Flash went on to Kill and Replace Dr. Harrison Wells, making the actual founder of S.T.A.R. Labs Dead All Along in this continuity.
    • In the comics, Eobard's ancestor and the present day Thawne becomes the supervillain Cobalt Blue. Here, the present Thawne, Eddie, committed a Heroic Suicide on the first Season Finale of The Flash before even donning his alleged/supposed supervillain identity. For the matter, this directly leads to Eobard Thawne/The Reverse-Flash being Ret Goned from existence.
    • Laurel Lance/Black Canary was infamously killed-off late into Arrow Season 4.
  • Deconstruction Crossover: In relation to the above, the team crossing over is usually depicted as "out of place" in the city they're visiting due to their different approach in heroics.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Barry showed up in two episodes of Arrow's second season a year before the Flash began airing. Likewise, Cisco and Caitlin also showed up in a later episode of Arrow Season Two.
    • Hawkgirl briefly shows up near the end of Flash's season one finale.
  • Ensemble Cast: Arrow started off with a very tight focus on Oliver, but by the halfway point of the season he had developed a team structure with Diggle and Felicity. The other cast members certainly had their own plotlines, but as the show moved on everyone started gathering around Oliver as a Character-Magnetic Team. The strategy was very well received and The Flash was a lot quicker to bring the entire cast in on the secret identity. This culminates in the team-based show Legends of Tomorrow.
  • Evil Mentor: Slade Wilson and, to a lesser extent, Malcolm Merlyn, for Oliver, Eobard Thawne aka "Harrison Wells" for Barry.
  • Evolving Credits: Arrow's "My Name Is" Opening Narration changes every season (it changed twice during the third). The Flash's does as well, including a (slight) change once during the first Season Finale.
  • Expy: The Arrowverse doesn't have free reign over all of the DCU, and so many characters are off limits. So many of the characters they CAN use are obvious stand-ins for who would normally be the bigger names. Of course, many characters are an expy / copy of the bigger names to begin with.
  • Fanservice: The shows prefers She's Got Legs for the men, and Shirtless Scene for the women. Sometimes to both. Depending on the audiences' taste really.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: While the setting started with nearly no fantastic elements, it eventually came to feature earthquake machines, Super Soldiers, ancient ninja cults, metahumans, Artificial Intelligence, magical healing ponds, Powered Armor, Time Travelers, Alternate Universes and immortal supervillains. As of the fourth season of Arrow, magic and the supernatural have been fully brought into this continuity. The last major comicbook staple left are aliens, which are fully brought on to the franchise with the revelation in an episode of ''Legends of Tomorrow'' that the Time Masters are trying to prevent a Thanagarian invasion of Earth in 2175. And that's only going to continue with Supergirl thrown into the mix.
  • Force And Finesse: Some character dynamics display this perfectly.
    • The Lance/Canary sisters. Laurel is an Incompletely Trained fighter who only recently retrained and crash-courses her advance training. As a result, she has a very smash-mouth fighting style (Force). On the other hand, Sara received Training from Hell from a renowned Murder, Inc. and as a result has a more graceful fighting style (Finesse).
    • The Reverse-Flash and Zoom, Barry's Evil Counterparts and arch-enemies. Zoom is an Ax-Crazy speedster who smugly does things For the Evulz upfront (Force), while the Reverse-Flash is also smug but a very cunning schemer who does things discretely as much as possible (Finesse).
    • Roy and Thea, the wearer of (the same) red-hooded costume. Thea is a more boisterous vigilante (Force) compared to Roy, who is more discreet (Finesse).
    • Leonard Snart and Mick Rory. Mick is, appropriately, a Hot-Blooded {{Pytomaniac)) (Force), while Leonard is a cool-headed schemer (Finesse). Incredibly Lame Puns intended.
    • The Mardon brothers after receiving Weather Manipulation powers. Clyde never trained using it, and as a result has some uncoordinated attacks (Force). On the other hand, Mark trained himself with it and has complete mastery of his powers (Finesse).
    • Slade Wilson and his son Grant. Grant prefers open attacks (Force), while his father prefers to use stealth. (Finesse).
  • Gay Aesop: The shows are not shy in showing their pro-LGBT stance.
  • Gender Flip:
    • The Bug-Eyed Bandit is male in the comics, whose name is Bertman Larvan. Here, her name is Brie.
    • In the comics, Katana had twin daughters. Here, she had a son.
    • In the comics, Mr. Terrific was married to a woman named Paula Holt. Here, she's a man named Paul and both he and Mr. Terrific were given Adaptational Sexuality by making them a male gay couple.
  • Genre Shift: Originally the verse was very Nolan-esque and grounded in as much realism as possible for a superhero drama. The addition of Barry Allen to the cast opened the floodgates for the verse to become more fantastical. The Flash involves metahumans with superpowers based in science. While Arrow is still more of a grounded, Pragmatic Adaptation (Laurel's Canary Cry is a sonic device and not a superpower), the show took the approach to include more supernatural powers with the reveal of Ra's Al-Ghul's Lazarus Pits in Season 3 and eventually outright magic with John Constantine in Season 4.
  • The Heart: Barry not just for Team Flash, but for Team Arrow as well due to his status as an All-Loving Hero.
  • Hell: The Chinese island Lian Yu is not a happy place (it even means Purgatory in English).
  • Hellhole Prison: Iron Heights, which houses criminals from Starling, Central, and Keystone City. Starling DA Laurel Lance flat out admits that "protective custody" is non-existant in the prison.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Majority of the Arrow characters, with Oliver, Laurel and Felicity being the most notable examples.
    • Dr. Wells quickly scolded Barry about the dangers of Time Travelling. Never mind that the reason he was Trapped in the Past in the first place was because he did just that. Also, he was actually training Barry to become stronger for that very purpose so he can travel back home.
    • Rip Hunter lectures Sara on messing up the timeline if she plans to go back in time to save her sister, despite the fact that the main reason Rip "recruited" his team in the first place is to prevent the murder of his wife and child.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: As seen in the first Vixen trailer, the same actors voice their roles and thus their animated versions have a decent resemblance to them. Except Cisco, who is more muscular. The actress who voiced Vixen, Megalyn Echikunwoke, later guest-starred (in live action) on Arrow.
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks: A recurring theme on both Arrow and The Flash.

  • Mass Super-Empowering Event: The explosion of the S.T.A.R. Labs' Particle Accelerator is how both superpowered heroes and villains got their powers. Until we learn that Deathbolt, a metahuman who showed up in Starling City, was nowehere near Central City during the explosion, being in an Opal City jail at the time. And of course, the Reverse-Flash got his powers from some other source besides the explosion.
  • Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness:
    • An interesting case where the 'verse has been steadily sliding from hard to soft across its run.
    • Arrow (at least in its first season) is about as realistic as it's possible for an adaptation of a superhero comic to be, The Flash introduces many more overt sci-fi elements with its metahumans, and finally Legends of Tomorrow goes full tilt with a whole team of different powered heroes fighting an immortal villain across time. Also, Vixen introduces pure fantasy magic into the setting, throwing everyone off.
    • Another neat twist is that there are still elements of the DC Universe (mostly the stuff involving aliens) that the crew considers too fantastic even for how soft the 'verse has they instead put them in their unrelated DC show Supergirl. But given certain plot points on Legends of Tomorrow, combined with Supergirl's move to CW, said ban on extraterrestrials might not be in effect much longer...
  • The Multiverse: Tackled more on The Flash, after the events of the first season finale cause portals to open up and link this world to alternate realities. Universes confirmed to exist so far include:
    • Earth-1: The main universe where the franchise takes place.
    • Earth-2: The first parallel Earth visited on the show, home to the villain Zoom. A news briefing indicates that Robert Queen became The Arrow in Earth-2, a Mythology Gag wherein Flashpoint Thomas Wayne became Batman.
    • Earth-3: The universe that is home to the real Jay Garrick.
    • The as yet unnamed universe where Supergirl takes place.
    • The universe of the The Flash (1990) series.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The Flash has several nods to Green Lantern: the Emotional Spectrum is mentioned in "Flash vs. Arrow", Barry does a quick trip to Coast City for pizza in "Who is Harrison Wells?", and he mentions that Ferris Air closed down after one of their pilots disappeared in "Rogue Air".
      • Arrow season 4 includes flashbacks to Oliver's time in Coast City. One such flashback begins with the camera focusing on a man in a pilot's jacket with the named Jordan stitched on the front. But that's the furthest they're going to get due to Hal being off limits for the TV shows and restricted to movies. Luckily, the same crew's show Supergirl doesn't have such restrictions, and all the stuff in the DC Universe involving aliens is now more or less reserved for it anyway. And "Legends of Tomorrow" reveal that the Thanagarians will invade Earth sometime in 22nd Century.
    • Opal City is mentioned in ''Arrow'', and briefly visited by Harrison and Jesse Wells in Flash.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: The Verse seems to favor this with the likes of Barry Allen, Felicity Smoak, Ray Palmer, etc.
  • Oddball in the Series: Constantine as it was introduced in the verse retroactively. It's not a superhero show but an Urban Fantasy, it's much darker, there's no Opening Narration and it didn't air on CW but on NBC.
  • Odd Name Out:
    • Despite starting the entire Verse, Arrow is the only series in its entirety that has a name starting with a vowel. Taken Up to Eleven as this is also the case regarding Oliver with the entire cast of his show.
    • Legends is the only show that has a Team Title.
  • Opening Narration: All the shows have one.
  • Out of Order: Trying to juggle and balance airdates between the shows and their concurrent stories have proven difficult to handle. The deliberate plotlines being shared between shows work out alright, such as "Flash vs Arrow" and "The Brave and the Bold" airing as a special two night event. But when characters are shared without actually sharing plotlines it often ends up being vague and confusing on when this would take place on the other show. Most notably, Barry's appearance on Supergirl revealed a major plot development for Barry weeks before his show caught up (being that he was using Eobard Thawne's tachyon generator to increase his speed, a device that attached to his chest around the lightning bolt symbol), and in The Flash the entirety of the Supergirl crossover appeared to be a literal one second blip where Barry disappeared through a vortex and reappeared, later questioning how long he was gone but quickly moving on. At one point later in the Flash's second season, Barry loses his speed for a few episodes, but a scene in an episode of Arrow that aired after the first of these episodes showed that he'd gotten it back, 2 weeks before the episode in which he did aired.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality:
    • Originally Oliver Queen was a pragmatic hero who was in the process of crossing names off a list of those who "have failed this city," typically allowing a white collar crook to live while having no qualms about taking out mercenaries and corrupt bodyguards surrounding them. He eventually realizes that he needs to change his ways, but the pre-existing body count seemed to be ignored in his current Thou Shalt Not Kill mood.
    • Team Flash went further by keeping the metahumans illegally locked in a private prison without due process of the law - which they tried to justify In-Universe, because Iron Heights Prison was not capable of holding them. That didn't stop them from briefly holding the Pied Piper (a non metahuman) prisoner though. Eventually they all escape in a botched prison transfer so all it was for naught.
  • Protagonist Title: The shows are named after their respective main characters (or rather, their superhero identities) except Legends, which went with Team Title instead.
  • Red Herring: The showrunners present some elements from the comics, then have fun with it by either subverting or double-subverting it.
  • Red Is Heroic: The Flash being the most notable example. Ray Palmer also has a stronger red Color Motif than blue. Also both Arsenal and Speedy.
  • Related in the Adaptation:
    • The most prominent example would be Thea Queen, who is Mia Dearden re-imagined as Oliver Queen's younger sister. Not only that, as it also turns out that she is actually Malcolm Merlyn's (Arthur King/Merlyn) daughter after having a brief affair with Oliver's mother.
    • Technically, Barry Allen to the Wests, as he was adopted by them in this version after that fateful event with his parents, though he does marry Iris in the comics.
    • Shado is re-imagined as Yao Fei's daughter. Their respective counterparts have not even met.
    • The two Tricksters, James Jesse and Axel Walker, are reimagined as father and son, although this was probably only done so that Mark Hamill could say "I am your father."
    • Since Sara dons the identity of White Canary in Legends, this makes said character related to (Quentin) Larry, Dinah (Drake), and (Dinah) Laurel Lance. In the comics, the White Canary is a self-appointed Arch-Enemy of (Laurel, the second) Black Canary.
    • Played with with the Huntress and her father. It is later revealed that the head of the Bertinelli family is not Helena's biological father, but he still pretty much raised her anyway. Then again, her father in the show is a Composite Character of both her legal father and her biological Archnemesis Dad anyway.
    • Caitlin Snow and Ronnie Raymond were married in the Flash first season finale. In the comics, they're enemies (though not without Foe Romance Subtext, especially on the former's part).
    • Inverted with Felicity Smoak and Ronnie Raymond. In the comics, the former is the latter's stepmother. Here, they have no relation and do not even know each other (yet).
    • Walter Steele becomes Oliver's (and Mia Dearden's, see above) stepfather. In the comics, Walter is a very minor character.
    • Inverted with Deathstroke and Ravager. Canonically, the latter is the former's illegitimate daughter. Here, she's merely his Dragon. Justified though, as she's a Composite Character of Ravager and Isabel Rochev, the latter of whom is her main counterpart.
    • A remixed variant. The Verse's version of Wally West is Iris' brother instead of nephew because they want closer ties between the characters.
    • Inverted with Barry Allen and Eobard Thawne's ancestor. In the comics, Eobard Thawne's ancestor, Malcolm Thawne/Cobalt Blue, was Barry's Evil Twin. While Eddie Thawne is still Eobard's ancestor, he's not a relative of Barry's.
    • Oliver and Nyssa were married at the penultimate episode of Season 3. In the comics, Oliver has only been married to Dinah Laurel Lance while Nyssa has always been single. In turn, this makes him son-in-law to Ra's Al-Ghul and her in-laws with the Queens and Mia Dearden (again, see above).
    • Inverted with Oliver and Connor Hawke. In the comics, the latter is the former's son. Here, they have no relation to each other and the latter is instead the son of Diggle and his wife Lyla aka Harbringer, which in turn plays this straight with the mother.
    • Jesse Quick becomes the daughter of the S.T.A.R. Labs founder (their Earth-2 versions, at least). In the comics, the S.T.A.R. Labs founder is a minor character while her father is Johnny Quick.
    • Felicity Smoak becomes the daughter of Noah Kuttler aka The Calculator. In the comics they have no connection, as she's a Firestorm character while he is a Birds of Prey villain.
    • A variation with Barry Allen and Jay Garrick - The latter is a his father's Earth-3 counterpart who somehow had a different name (Earth-1 Henry hinted at this when he said that Garrick was his mother's maiden name).
  • Ret Canon: Elements of the shows have started to influence the comics canon.
  • Rogues Gallery:
    • Zig-zagged in Arrow. The show is centered around a seasonal Big Bad ,and while there are recurring villains like China White, Count Vertigo and the Suicide Squad, they are only minor villains in the grand scheme of things. Justified, as Green Arrow is notable for his lack of a rogues gallery in the comics.
    • Played straight in The Flash, which has one of the most famous rogues galleries in the comics. In addition to Cold's gang - the Rogues which form a Big Bad Ensemble with the Big Bad of each season, there are other recurring foes as well.
  • Rogues-Gallery Transplant: Both Oliver and Barry do not exclusively stick to their respective canonical Rogues Gallery. It goes In-Universe too in the cases of The Clock King, the Royal Flush Gang, Deathbolt and Brie Larvan.
  • Running Gag:
    • Barry is always late, even after he got his Super Speed.
    • Diggle will never stop being weirded out whenever he sees Barry uses his powers.
    • It seems to be a general rule that secret lairs in the Arrowverse have lousy security. People can walk right into S.T.A.R. Labs without any kind of challenge and the elevator to the Arrowcave, while hidden behind a secret wall panel, was easily ridden down to the lair by Curtis Holt once he discovered it. The waverider was also easily infiltrated by the young Martin Stein when they went to The '70s.

  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Barry Allen, the Adorkable Nice Guy vs. Oliver Queen, the brooding Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Serial Escalation: While the conflicts were quite personal and mostly citywide before, both the Big Bad of Arrow Season 4 and Flash Season 2 now seek to conquer (in Flash's case) and destroy (in Arrow's case) the entire world.
  • Shared Universe: While the shows have largely the same producers, they have different writers.
  • Sibling Team: Leonard and Lisa Snart, Mark and Clyde Mardon and Oliver and Thea Queen starting Arrow Season 4. Averted by the Lance sisters, since they go on their separate paths, and later Laurel is killed by Damian Darhk.
  • Siblings in Crime: The aforementioned Snart and Mardon siblings.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Comes with the two main heroes being The Cape and The Cowl. Barry's a Nice Guy and when he got his super speed becoming a hero was just natural to him. By contrast Oliver was a selfish playboy and became a hero as a way to atone for his own misdeeds and to fulfill his father's dying wish for him to save their Wretched Hive of a city; and even then he had to go five years of Training from Hell on an inhospitable island before he could even begin to fulfill his father's wish. Barry has always valued help from others since day one, while Oliver has to be persuaded to accept any help.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Majority of which are Posthumous Characters in the comics for the sake of their loved ones' Death by Origin Story.
    • Moira Queen died along with her husband Robert in most Green Arrow stories. She dies near the end of Season 2 courtesy of Slade Wilson.
    • In most stories, Dinah Drake Lance died before or around the time Laurel is the Black Canary. She's alive as of Season 4. Her other daughter Sara covered that, among other things. Or so it seems.
    • In relation to the above, Detective (Quentin) Larry Lance is usually dead by the time Laurel is the Black Canary. He's alive as of Season 4.
    • In the comics, her entire family's death at her very young age is what pushed Helena Bertinelli to become The Huntress. Here, her father is not only still alive but also becomes an Archnemesis Dad for her. He survived until the third quarter of Season 2.
    • Maseo Yamashiro's death is integral to his wife Tatsu's backstory, ditto their twin daughters'. Here, he outlived their child for five years until Tatsu, in Katana gear, (forcefully) killed him herself at the penultimate episode of Season 3.
    • In the comics, Henry Allen dies in prison while not being able to have his name cleared. Barry was able to prove his innocence and he was set free in the Season 2 premiere, only to be killed by Zoom near the end of the season.
    • In most stories, Iris West's mother is long dead. She shows up during Flash's second season. She's revealed to be an Ill Girl living on borrowed time, and eventually succumbed to her illness in the middle of the season.
  • Spiritual Successor: To the DCAU. Both started with a show based on The Cowl, followed by a spinoff with The Cape, and then led into a team-up show.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Some women literally just tower over the others.
    • Helena Bertinelli, Nyssa Al-Ghul, Betti Sans Souci, Kendra Saunders and Patty Spivot all stand 5'8. Ditto for Sara Lance's original actress Jacqueline McInnes Wood.
    • Laurel Lance came short at 5'7 1/2.
    • Valentina Vostok is the tallest female character to date at 5'11.
  • Stealth Pun: The Verse just loves making very subtle Visual Puns for the sake of Actor Allusion, namely;
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Both of the Lance Sisters have been killed off in this manner. Sara was killed in Season 3 to motivate Laurel to become the Black Canary, but the negative reaction from the audience led to Sara being resurrected early in Season 4 so she could star in "Legends of Tomorrow". However later in the season, Laurel was killed off because the writers needed to decide what character was going to be in the infamous grave so they picked Laurel on a whim; and this time the writers have made in clear they want this Lance sister to stay dead - regardless on how much the death angered the audience.
  • Superman Stays out of Gotham: Implemented in general, but defied in practice. It's discussed In-Universe; the Flash and Arrow's methods work well in their own cities but not in each other's cities. Central City is more or less an average city, so the police can handle normal criminals while the Flash focuses on the super villains and the rogue metahumans (he fights minor crimes as well, just not as prominently). Starling City is a Wretched Hive to the point where the police are out of their depth so Oliver as a brutual vigilante is tolerated out of necessity. In Starling City, Barry doesn't understand how to handle their kind of criminals, and Central City has little tolerance for a vigilante like Oliver. Crossovers do happen, though, especially a Crisis Crossover to answer questions about why the other is pre-occupied during other points.
  • Super Weight: As follows:
    • Type -1: Harrison Wells following the Particle Accelerator explosion though this is an act, Akio Yamashiro, Sara Diggle
    • Type 0: Caitlin Snow, Harrison Wells pre-explosion, Moira Queen, Thea Queen until Season 3, Felicity Smoak, Dinah Lance, Henry and Nora Allen, Tommy Merlyn, Ray Palmer out of armour, Dante Ramon, Barry Allen pre-explosion, the real Harrison Wells, James Jesse note , Count Vertigo I, Iris West
    • Type 1: Most characters on Arrow, Oliver Queen, John Diggle, Roy Harper when not on Mirakuru, Malcolm Merlyn, Sara Lance, League of Assassins members, ARGUS agents,Cisco Ramon, Hartley Rathaway, Joe West, Captain Singh, Quentin Lance, the Rogues, Shado, Yao Fei, Billy Wintergreen, Werner Zytle, Slade Wilson pre-Mirakuru, and after being depowered, Rip Hunter.
    • Type 2: Slade Wilson after the Mirakuru injectionnote , most Mirakuru soldiersnote , Cyrus Gold, Barry Allen post-explosionnote , Roy G. Bivolo, Bette Sans Souci, Clyde Mardon note , Shawna Baez, Kyle Nimbus, Tony Woodward, Hannibal Bates, Danton Black, Cisco Ramon as revealed in the Flash first season finale, John Constantine, Oliver Queen after developing anti-magic powers as of "Genesis".
    • Type 3: Barry Allen by "Tricksters" Spoilers! , the Reverse-Flash, Deathbolt, Blackout, Mark Mardon note , Ray Palmer in his A.T.O.M. armour, Grodd note , Jay Garrick, Killer Frostnote , Damian Darhk.
    • Type 4: Zoom, Kara Zor-El, J'onn J'onzz, Firestorm.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Not a straight-out copy, but in some instances it really feels like that the Arrow producers wanted to do a Batman show instead (especially during Season 3 with the whole Ra's Al Ghul plot).
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome: All over the place. How they use their appeal varies, if they use it at all. There's Barry Allen (6'2), Ray Palmer (6'3), Tommy Merlyn (5'11), Jay Garrick (6'3), Ronnie Raymond (5'11), Malcolm Merlyn (6'), Mark Mardon (6'2), Leonard Snart (6'1) and Carter Hall (5'11).
  • Tall, Dark and Snarky: All over the place. Whether they're snarky, icy, or both varies. There's Oliver Queen (6'1), John Diggle (6'2) Malcolm Merlyn (6'), Slade Wilson (5'11), Harrison Wells, both the impostor and the Earth-2 version, (6'), Helena Bertinelli (5'8, which is tall for a woman), Nyssa Al-Ghul (5'8), Leonard Snart (6'1), Mick Rory (6'2), Mark Mardon (6'2), Carter Hall (5'11) and Vandal Savage (6'1).
  • The Team: Each hero has one in their respective shows. Legends will take it into another level as it will be a true Ensemble Cast unlike Arrow, Flash and Vixen.
  • Time Travel: Tackled more on both The Flash and Legends, especially the latter.
  • Trash the Set: The heroes' respective headquarters occasionally gets badly ruined.
  • True Companions: One of the Central Themes of the shows is for The Hero to see their respective support team beyond just that.
  • Turn of the Millennium: Many character backstories and the most important Flashbacks happened in this decade, specifically:
    • Near the end of this decade (2007), a yacht accident happened which led Oliver and Sara to the long path of becoming superheroes. This path was also directly involved in making Slade Wilson a supervillain.
    • At the very beginning of this decade (2000), The Reverse-Flash murdered Barry's mother and his father was framed for it. Around the same time, Dr. Harrison Wells and his wife Tess Morgan suffered a car accident which took the life of the latter. A month after the death of Barry's mother, Dr. Wells opened S.T.A.R. Labs. It is later revealed that the "accident" was arranged by The Reverse-Flash so he can Kill and Replace Dr. Wells, the man who will be responsible for giving The Flash his powers, so he could do that much sooner for his own personal gain.
    • Kara Zor-El landed on Earth in 2003, unknowingly bringing the massive Kriyptonian detaining facility Fort Rozz with her.
    • In 2005, D.E.O Director Hank Henshaw leads a team including Dr. Jeremiah Danvers to hunt down a martian taking refuge at South America. Dr. Danvers encounters and befriended the alien and defended him from Henshaw, seemingly at the cost of their lives. The alien, J'onn J'onzz, then impersonates Henshaw and assumed his life as the director of D.E.O.
    • John Diggle spends most of this decade fighting The War on Terror. His sense of duty and valor are the main reasons why Oliver recruited him and why Dig himself agreed to be both The Lancer and Morality Chain.
    • At the very end of this decade (2009), Dr. Wells and General Eilling parted ways after the former was disgusted at the latter's treatment of a specific laboratory test subject, a gorilla named Grodd.
  • Two Girls to a Team: The shows love invoking this.
    • Arrow
      • Team Arrow frequently have this dynamic starting Season 2 until late in Season 3. By Season 4, this trope becomes inverted.
      • Tempest only had two female members; Moira Queen and an unnamed woman.
      • The League of Assassins only had two known female members; The Canary and Nyssa Al-Ghul. Unless of course one counts the League priestess.
      • The Suicide Squad only has two known female members; Cupid and "an unnamed deranged woman".
    • The Flash:
      • While Caitlin is generally The Smurfette Principle, she's occasionally joined by Felicity, and later Iris, to play this straight. With Iris getting inducted into the team in late season 1, it seems like it will be played straight for good. This trope plays straight starting Season 2.
      • As of the first season, there are only two female metahumans that showed (Plastique, Peek-a-Boo). Same goes for non-metahuman criminals (Lisa Snart, Brie Larvan).
    • Legends of Tomorrow plays this straight with Hawkgirl and White Canary.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: It's been a dynamic of both Arrow and Flash to feature The Hero (Oliver/Barry) usually accompanied by The Lancer/Sidekick (Diggle/Slade/Roy/Maseo for Oliver, Cisco for Barry) and The Chick/The Smurfette Principle (Felicity/Shado/Sara/Laurel/Tatsu for Oliver, Caitlin for Barry). They're also involved in a Love Triangle with this dynamic (Tommy/Laurel, Ray/Felicity for Oliver, Eddie/Iris for Barry).
  • The Verse: The shows form a separate continuity from the current crop of DC movies from Man of Steel onwards, which share their own continuity.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: For the heroes, the answer is almost always "From Cisco Ramon", who takes extreme pride and joy in designing all the equipment Team Arrow and Team Flash employ in their crime fighting.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: So in what part of the country are Central City, Keystone City, and Star City located at? Well ...
    • Making trickier is that both Star City and Central City send their criminals to the same prison.
  • White Shirt of Death:
    • Tommy Merlyn was wearing a white polo when he was impaled by a rebar on Arrow's Season 1 finale.
    • Nora Allen was wearing an Ivory blouse when she was stabbed by a knife in the heart by The Reverse-Flash.
    • Hannibal Bates plays with this. His default form was wearing a white polo, but he was shot while impersonating "Eobard Thawne/Harrison Wells" who is wearing black. However, he reverts back to his default form and clothes as he dies.
    • Eddie Thawne was wearing a similar outfit to the first example when he performed a Heroic Suicide on the Season 1 finale of The Flash.
  • Woman in Black: In no particular order of introduction; Laurel Lance/Black Canary, Sara Lance/The Canary, Helena Bertinelli/The Huntress, Shado unless she's not wearing her jacket, Nyssa Al-Ghul, Lisa Snart/Golden Glider, China White most of the time, Cupid, Plastique unless she's not wearing her jacket, Brie Larvan/Bug-Eyed Bandit, Tatsu Yamashiro/Katana, Isabel Rochev/Ravager, Thea Queen in her prototype costume.
  • Wretched Hive: Star(ling) City, so much that a gang of thugs was able to turn one neighborhood (the Glades) into his own personal kingdom while Oliver was away.