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- Justin Hartley, Smallville's Green Arrow, was considered to reprise his role back when the show was still being pitched. The higher-ups then decided that his rendition won't fit the Darker and Edgier tone of the series and amicably parted ways.
- Blake Lively, Minka Kelly, Hilarie Burton, Katharine Isabelle, Rachael Taylor, Alexandra Breckenridge, Maggie Grace, Brittany Snow, and Shantel VanSanten were considered for the part of Laurel Lance before the casting of Katie Cassidy. VanSanten would eventually play Patty Spivot in The Flash Season 2, while Kelly would eventually play a different bird-themed superheroine in Titans (2018) who even made a cameo at the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths (2019).
- Former Black Canaries Alaina Huffman (Smallville) and Rachel Skarsten (Birds of Prey (2002)) were also considered to reprise their roles as Laurel Lance for the series. Skarsten would eventually play Beth Kane / Alice in Batwoman (2019).
- Lauren Cohan was the first choice for Helena Bertinelli, but turned down the offer due to scheduling commitments to The Walking Dead. Janet Montgomery, Shelley Hennig, Jessica Szohr, and Anna Skellern were considered for the part as well before Jessica De Gouw was cast.
- Before Matt Nable was cast, Liam Neeson said he'd play the show's version of Ra's al Ghul "in a heartbeat". Word of God states that after learning this, the network approached Neeson on the off chance he had the time, but they were unable to reconcile their schedules.
- Deathstroke's mask was meant to be just an Easter Egg, but fans were so hyped DC let them use the character.
- The character who was going to buy out Queen Consolidated was originally going to be Ted Kord, a character whose existence was already implied through the appearance of Kord Industries. However, DC enacted an embargo on him due to "other plans", so the creators instead went with Ray Palmer. This means that the A.T.O.M. suit functions more like the Blue Beetle or Iron Man suits than it does its comic counterpart. This received an amusing Development Gag the following season, when the team needs to steal a piece of tech from Kord’s company to bring Ray back to normal size.
- There were plans to use Harley Quinn past her initial unnamed cameo, but WB/DC put the kibosh on this after the Suicide Squad (2016) movie was greenlit. Presumably this was due to the same reason shows like Smallville and Justice League Unlimited were barred from using certain characters who were being highlighted in movies at the time. Willa Holland later commented on this, confirming that had Harley been allowed, she would have played a significant role in Season 4.
- On a related note, A.R.G.U.S. and the Suicide Squad were originally planned to be a major part of Season 3 but was scrapped by said Executive Meddling.
- Mr. Blank, a Villain of the Week played by J. August Richards, was originally supposed to be the DC Comics villain Onomatopoeia. However, as Onomatopoeia only speaks in, well, onomatopoeia, they couldn't make it work without him coming across as mentally disabled (since sound effects sound far different in real life compared to comic books). As a result, Onomatopoeia only ever officially appeared in a tie-in comic for Arrow.
- Roy was going to return for a guest appearance in season five, but other commitments prevented Colton Haynes to return, so his appearance in season five ended up being Stock Footage of him for the Crisis Crossover "Invasion!". He eventually returned as a series regular for Season 7.
- Malcolm was originally considered to be Oliver's actual father. The showrunners ultimately decided against it since it's too "Darth Vader and Luke" so they gave the Story Arc to Thea instead. Still, this was given a Discontinuity Nod in the Season 3 finale when Malcolm tells Oliver that he always viewed him "as a son".
- The twentieth episode of Season Two was originally going to be a Back Door Pilot for a potential spin-off focusing on The Flash. Based on both the strength of Grant Gustin's portrayal of Barry Allen in "The Scientist" and "Three Ghosts" and the fact that using the twentieth episode as a Back Door Pilot would interrupt the show's momentum as it built up to the season finale, the decision was made to make it a standalone pilot. In any case, the nineteenth episode of that season ended up introducing two regulars (Caitlin Snow and Cisco Ramon) for the Flash series.
- In early drafts of Season Two, Sara was originally going to take the role of Ravager, but eventually ended up as the Canary. Instead, the role of Ravager was given to Isabel Rochev.
- Season 3 Episode 5 is supposed to be titled "Oracle", but Batgirl was also Exiled from Continuity, hence why it's titled "The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak" instead.
- Vigilante's identity was supposed to be revealed in Season 5, but due to time constraints and the production team unable to get the actor they wanted at the time, the Vigilante subplot was pushed to Season 6.
- The second half of Season 6 had to be heavily rewritten after they couldn't get Michael Emerson to commit to a full season, turning his intended Big Bad into a patsy for one of his supposed henchmen.
- Slade was going return later in Season 6, but Manu Bennett was unavailable.
- Earth-2 being wiped out of existence by a wave of anti-matter in the Season 8 premiere was noted by showrunner Beth Schwartz in interviews after the episode aired that they had to ask for permission from the writing team of The Flash (2014) to do so - which raises the question of what the back-up plan was if they had refused.
- Kevin Smith said that he inquired about directing Arrow after directing several episodes of The Flash (2014) and Supergirl, but Guggenheim declined, saying Kevin "didn't fit" the sensibilities of Arrow. What made this baffling was that not only was Kevin a former writer for the Green Arrow comics, but core character Thea was based on the comics' Mia Dearden, aka Speedy, who was created by Kevin Smith.
- Matt Barr, Jeremy Jordan, James Mackay, Mike Kalinowski, and David A Gregory screen-tested for the role of Barry Allen before Grant Gustin was cast. Jordan would eventually play Winn Schott in Supergirl (2015).
- Keiynan Lonsdale originally auditioned to play Jefferson Jackson (the Arrowverse' version of the second host body of Firestorm) for Legends of Tomorrow before the showrunners decided to cast him as Wally West instead.
- Linda Park's initial appearance was intended to just be an Easter Egg for the fans, before the writers decided to bring her back in a recurring role.
- Mirror Master and Dr. Alchemy were supposed to show up in Season Two, but for one reason or another never did. They do however show up in Season Three.
- In the original script for the Pilot, Albert Desmond (one version of Doctor Alchemy in the comics) was featured in a flashback as a kid that Barry was protecting from bullies. This was cut from the aired version of the Pilot, but a version of Desmond did eventually appear in the form of Julian Albert.
- The twentieth episode of Arrow's second season was originally going to be a Back Door Pilot for a potential spin-off focusing on The Flash. Based on both the strength of Grant Gustin's portrayal of Barry Allen in "The Scientist" and "Three Ghosts" and the fact that using the twentieth episode as a Back Door Pilot would interrupt the show's momentum as it built up to the season finale, the decision was made to make it a standalone pilot.
- An early draft of the pilot revealed that Hartley Rathaway was initially going to still be part of S.T.A.R. Labs when Barry woke up and (presumably) a main character and member of Team Flash — he would also have been the one to design the suit, with the "design for firefighters" aspect due to having dated a fireman in the past. Presumably, this was removed in order to give Cisco a more substantial role in the plot as well as to get a chance to portray Hartley as the Pied Piper without invoking a Face–Heel Turn.
- The same pilot also originally featured Kyle Nimbus/The Mist as the villain instead of Clyde Mardon, and he (not Ronnie Raymond) would have been the boyfriend/fiance of Caitlin Snow. For her part, Caitlin was originally envisioned as an older scientist (compared to the trio of Barry/Cisco/Hartley) and may have been intended to have a romantic arc with "Harrison Wells"; if true, this probably makes her Season Two romantic arc (this time with Hunter Zolomon) a case of Recycled Script.
- Early on in the series, Hartley Sawyer revealed that the writers originally wanted to pair Ralph and Caitlin, pointing out that "Caitlin gets with the new white guy on the show every year", but Danielle Panabaker fought against it.
- The writers considered using other romances to stall the fated Barry/Iris one - with a Barry/Caitlin romance being floated - but Grant Gustin insisted that Barry/Iris should happen sooner rather than later. This explains why Season 1 had so many scenes suggesting a possible romantic attraction between Barry and Caitlin, and why it ended after Season 2.
- Due to the coronavirus outbreak, Grant Gustin revealed that Season 6 would finish on Episode 19 instead of 22 and that the original plan was having a cliffhanger with Thawne, but it became unusable due to the remainder of Eva McCulloch's plot being left for Season 7.
- According to Eric Wallace, the plot for Season 7 was tweaked due to Hartley Sawyer's dismissal.
- Claire Holt was the runner-up for the role of Kara Danvers before Melissa Benoist was cast. Other actresses who screen-tested for the part were Gemma Atkinson, Elizabeth Lail, and Sara Paxton.
- David Harewood was originally supposed to portray Hank Henshaw as an eventual villain. But while filming the pilot, the producers noted that he could have played the Martian Manhunter, and Geoff Johns convinced the rest to rewrite their plans for his character. In the second season, he gets to play both.
- Greg Berlanti actually wanted to have Laura Vandervoort much earlier but she couldn't because of her commitment to Bitten (she plays The Hero there). After shooting that series' Grand Finale, she was finally able to appear.
- A two-fer with the move to Canada for filming. If they hadn't moved, then Cat Grant would have probably stayed on through Season 2 (Calista Flockhart nigh-exclusively shooting in LA), but they probably wouldn't have got Katie McGrath as Lena Luthor (as an Irish citizen, it would be a lot harder to be able to work in the US for a long-term project with an unknown end date like a TV show is.) It can also be speculated that Lucy Lane would have had a major role in the DEO.
- After Andrew Kreisberg was fired, the majority of the second half of Season 3 had to be heavily rewritten. A lot of what was originally planned can be worked out by comments before the season. These include, word of God confirmation from Kreisberg himself that Lena would have turned evil by the end of the season by doing one small bad thing at a time; the casting for Sam and Ruby stated that the former was a one season fractional regular and the latter was recurring with an option to be a regular in season 4. It doesn't take much to work out that Sam was supposed to die and Alex would end up adopting Ruby; the shared nightmare that Kara and Sam had about Alura turning into a monster was never explained. With Erica Durance signed for a certain amount of episodes and the Argo story coming out of nowhere, it seems likely that Alura would have been revealed as the creator of the Worldkillers (it was Jor-El in the comics) and Kara might have well have been one as well. Lena eventually did have a Face–Heel Turn in season 5, but in a different way than originally planned, the anger towards learning Kara was Supergirl made her become a Well-Intentioned Extremist, and she eventually has a Heel–Face Turn near the end of that same season when they make amends.
- Brent Spiner was originally cast as President Baker in Season 4 but had a scheduling conflict, and was replaced with Bruce Boxleitner, incidentally creating a quite fun irony with his role in Babylon 5.
- Jeremy Jordan was supposed to return as Winn for an undisclosed number of season 4 episodes in a recurring capacity but scheduling prevented it from happening. It happened on Season 5.
Legends of Tomorrow
- The original idea for the third Arrowverse show was to simply give The Atom his own series. But The CW execs got cold feet after his lukewarm reception during Season 3 of Arrow, so it was heavily retooled to be about an entire team.
- The team was going to be named the Justice Society, but Geoff Johns nixed it so the real JSA could be saved for any future appearances (which was eventually Season 2).
- The creators originally wanted to have Robbie Amell reprise his role from The Flash as Firestorm, but Amell couldn't commit. They ended up killing the character off on The Flash so they could have a new Firestorm to use in Legends of Tomorrow (choosing minor comic character Jax Jackson for that part).
- Joseph David-Jones revealed his character of Connor Hawke was originally supposed to become a series regular and join the Legends, but due to a combination of being unable to fit him in and the tone of the show changing to Denser and Wackier they scrapped the idea. He would later join the main cast of Arrow in its last season, albeit with the future he was originally part of being tweaked from the future seen in Legends of Tomorrow.
- The show originally planned on tackling Ra's Al-Ghul and Damien Darhk's friendship and fallout but was scrapped for unknown reasons.
- Likewise, the creators wanted Megalyn Echikunwoke to reprise her role as Vixen from Arrow and her animated series, but this was scrapped because of scheduling issues. The new Vixen in Season 2, her grandmother Amaya, was created as a replacement.
- It was announced that Megalyn was supposed to reprise her role as Mari in Season 3 and meet Amaya, but for some reason that never happened.
- "Wet Hot American Bummer's script was changed to remove Nate from the episode in order to give Nick Zano time off after his daughter was born and required surgery at a day old.
- Other names for Legends Of To-Meow-Meow
- The plan for Season 4 was that Nate's father, Hank Heywood, would be the season's Big Bad. The team would discover Hank was running a secret government plot that would use magical creatures as super-soldiers. This would involve Nate, desperate to finally get his father's approval, make a Face–Heel Turn on the team. However, the showrunners loved Thomas F. Wilson's performance as Hank so much (as well as the great way Hank and Nate bonded) that they couldn't go through with making him the bad guy. Instead, they reworked the plans for Hank being an unknown puppet for demon Neron.
- The Season 4 finale was originally supposed to include Nate dying for real, but the writers ultimately couldn't bring themselves to do it and had him resurrected by The Power of Love.
- Natasha Negovanlis, who plays the title role of Carmilla the Series, auditioned for the role of Kate Kane.
- Word of God says the pilot contained a scene of the Kane family attending the bat mitzvah for the twins that was cut for time.
- Former Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow showrunner Marc Guggenheim wanted Jensen Ackles to play the Arrowverse version of Bruce Wayne before Warren Christie was cast. Ackles would eventually get to voice Batman for Batman: The Long Halloween.
- Pretty much every idea for Season 2 had Ruby Rose not left the show and had Kate written out for the over the first half of the season.
- It was intended for the seventh major Crisis Crossover of the Arrowverse to be a joint with Batwoman and Superman & Lois. Sadly whatever plans they might have had for this crossover were scrapped due to a combination of Ruby Rose leaving the show (due to her discovery that she was allergic to latex, which her costume was made of) and the COVID-19 Pandemic making it unsafe to film large groups of people, and the entire crossover was abandoned in favor of a Cross Through with former Arrow star David Ramsey returning.
- Stephanie Beatriz campaigned to take over the lead for season 2 following Ruby Rose's departure. She'd be cast to voice Batwoman in Catwoman: Hunted.
- This interview with the producers details a host of scenes, guest appearances, and comics references that unfortunately had to be cut due to time, cost, and scheduling constraints.
- Roy was going to have a larger role in the virtual world as Thea's boyfriend, but Colton Haynes was unavailable.
- In the original draft of the script, Lynda Carter was going to appear as the new President in Earth-1 during the end ceremony, like her Earth-38 counterpart.
Crisis on Earth-X
- Marc Guggenheim tried to get this released as a single movie instead of a crossover spread out over four shows, including new material. But "union rules regarding credit" put on kibosh on the plans.
- Katie Cassidy was supposed to show up in some capacity, but then her father died so her planned appearance was written out so she could go to his funeral. The Flash episode, "Fury Rogue" revealed she would've been cast as Siren-X, the New Reichsmen's answer to the Black Canary, was Oliver-X's ex-lover and pissed that the Earth-1 heroes killed him.
- Guggenheim thought about using the crossover to revive Sara Diggle, but couldn't make it fit here. He would instead do it in next year's event.
Crisis on Infinite Earths
- Cameron Cuffe was invited to reprise the role of Seg-El, the protagonist of the TV series Krypton. This means that Krypton would also be part of the Multiverse in the Arrowverse. Unfortunately, the actor had to decline the invitation because of schedule appointments, but it was unclear whether the invitation was made before or after the cancellation of Krypton by the network Syfy (the series had only two seasons).
- Michael Rosenbaum was approached by Warner Bros about reprising his role as Lex Luthor from Smallville as well. He turned down the chance because Warner Bros didn't mention anything about what his role would be, neither when he would be shooting, and no payment. It didn't help that Warner demanded an immediate response from the actor, who happened to be visiting a sick relative at the time.
- About Smallville's Lex Luthor, the plan was to have him appear alongside Clark and interact with Jon Cryer's Lex. This plot had to be discarded due to Michael Rosenbaum rejecting the role and Tom Welling's availability running out.
- Alan Ritchson was called to reprise his role as Aquaman from Smallville, but he couldn't due to scheduling difficulties from his role in Titans (2018) and due to the complications of going to the other set. Ritchson makes a brief cameo as Hawk via archive footage, along with Curran Walters as Robin.
- Nicolas Cage turned down the offer to reprise his cancelled role as Superman from the infamously unreleased Superman Lives movie. This would've not only been the first time anything from that movie was featured in other DC propertiesnote , but also would've made four Supermen in one crossover!
- Adam West passed away two years earlier, or else he could have possibly been in the Earth-66 scene with Burt Ward.
- Brandon Routh was supposed to wear the same suit from Superman Returns, but this was denied them by Warner Brothers. He wears a suit based on Kingdom Come instead, and aspects from that story were worked into his version of Clark. (As it happens, the Returns suit still appeared through old footage from Smallville, which had reused it).
- Joseph David-Jones was originally set to appear as Connor Hawke with Old Oliver, but scheduling conflicts forced the writers to remove him from the scene.
- Marc Guggenheim revealed that the writers originally thought on adding the Psycho-Pirate, but they wrote him out due to not fitting in the story and only being added for his role in the original comics.
- Eobard Thawne was foreshadowed in earlier seasons of The Flash to play a major role in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, but ended up written out of the story because of the writers wanting to avoid anything Andrew Kreisberg had come up with.
- The Wonder Twins were apparently in an early draft of the ending, but ultimately they only referenced Gleek.
- Leaked material reveals Michael Keaton was originally intended to appear and may very well have taken Kevin Conroy's place as the Kingdom Come Batman with an exoskeleton, but for reasons unclear he wasn't included in the final version, possibly due to conflicts with talks of him reappearing in the DC Extended Universe.