This morning, a lot of people are pointing to an interview at Fandango.com where Arrow Executive Producer Greg Berlanti allegedly denies a shared universe between the TV show and its possible Flash spin-off, and the DC Comics/Warner Bros. movie franchise that includes the upcoming Batman/Superman team-up movie.
Here is Berlanti’s exact quote:
“We haven’t had any of those conversations other than to say, what characters are we allowed to use this year and advocate or request certain ones that are of interest to us,” says Berlanti. “And every now and then, they’ll say, ‘You can’t have that guy.’ They don’t say why, and we figure out why later on.”
Whether the TV-sized Green Arrow and Flash are bumped up to movie star status or the characters are reinterpreted for future films, Berlanti says he’s just happy to be part of his heroes’ Hollywood moment. “Getting to participate in any way in the story – considering how much they meant to me as a kid – is really, I just feel lucky about that all the time,” he says. “And it evolves the way it’s supposed to…When it comes out naturally, that’s when it’s best. And that’s been the fate of Arrow, and I guess that’s the path we’ll follow.”
Several outlets are claiming that this is Berlanti for-sure saying there is no connection to the movie universe — it is our opinion that it is more open to interpretation than that. If anything, Berlanti doesn’t seem to be confirming or denying either way.
Let’s use Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as an example. That TV series does take place in the larger Marvel Universe, yet they would have the exact same limitations that Arrow has, depending on Marvel’s other plans for characters. S.H.I.E.L.D. probably cannot use, say, Daredevil since there is a Netflix series coming up. Or, keeping it closer to the Avengers world, they probably cannot use the character of Carol Danvers if there is any possibility of a Captain Marvel movie or an appearance by the character in Avengers 2. They may be the same universe, but if they want to cast a big-name star as Carol, they don’t want to have conflicts with whomever they want to cast in the films. And, who knows, maybe that actress they’d get doesn’t want to do TV.
Or, maybe they want to give the character a big splash by premiering in a movie.Same would go for Arrow. What if Arrow does take place in the movies’ world, and Arrow introduces Steven R. McQueen as Nightwing, and then it’s decided that David Goyer & co. want to use Nightwing for sure in Batman/Superman, and they want the character to have been retired for 10+ years? There’s an immediate conflict there, not just in casting, but in the storytelling.
With all that said… we doubt Arrow’s very limited in what they are or aren’t allowed to do, whether they’re in the shared movie world or not. They’ve cleared Ra’s al Ghul, after all! Arrow’s even allowed to do things that might conflict with other TV projects, unless there’s a larger plan involved that we don’t know about — after all, a “Miracle” drug as an Hourman series is in development? The DC/WB machine is just playing it safe. Who knows – maybe we could see Stephen Amell as part of the Justice League. Maybe we will not. But it is our opinion that Berlanti’s comments today didn’t confirm anything either way. It might be telling that Arrow hasn’t made mention of, say, the destruction of Metropolis from this summer, but it’s most likely that the show is playing it safe by not saying anything at all.