It was no Flash in the pan
Warner Bros. has canceled The Flash, with the show’s forthcoming ninth season confirmed to be its last.
According to Deadline, (opens in new tab) the final season of the long-running DC drama will premiere in 2023 with a 13-episode run, marking the shortest season length in the show’s history.
Speculation about the show’s future had been bubbling away since it was confirmed that star Grant Gustin had only committed to a one-year deal back in January of 2022, and it has now been confirmed that the show will be done before 2023 is out.
Launched in 2014, The Flash began life as a spin-off from Arrow, and followed Gustin’s Barry Allen, a crime-scene investigator who gains super-human speed after an explosion in a laboratory. He uses his newly-found speed to fight crime and hunt other metahumans in Central City as the Flash, a masked superhero.
The establishing of The Flash led to Warner Bros. and its DC Comics arms putting in place an array of interconnected spin-offs, which became known as the Arrowverse. Animated web-series Vixen joined in 2015, then ensemble show Legends of Tomorrow came in 2016 before Supergirl followed in the same year.
In the years that followed, a second animated web-series, Freedom Fighters: The Ray, debuted, as well as a fifth series, Batwoman, which premiered in 2019. And, for its third season onwards, Black Lightning was also written to become part of the shared universe. As well as that, in every year since 2014, there has been a yearly crossover event involving many of the live-action series of the Arrowverse.
The Arrowverse began to unravel in 2020 with the end of Arrow itself, which had run for a full eight seasons, and Warner Bros. decided to pass on a spin-off, Green Arrow and the Canaries. In 2021, both Supergirl and Black Lightning came to an end, and, in April 2022, Batwoman and Legends of Tomorrow were both canceled.
That left The Flash as the only show standing, and, by the time it finishes its run, The Flash will be the most successful of the Arrowverse series and the longest-running, too, with nine seasons to Arrow’s eight.
More than 700 episodes across 40 seasons of television. It truly is the end of an era.
Analysis: The end of an era
With the exception of the two web-only shows, all the shows in the Arrowverse have aired on cable network The CW. The network, which is jointly owned by Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery, canceled a whopping seven shows on the same day back in April of this year.
As well as Legends of Tomorrow and Batwoman, network executives also pulled the plug on Legacies, the spin-off of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, Naomi, an Ava Duvernay comic book adaptation and the reboot of teen drama Charmed.
In the weeks since, Roswell, New Mexico, In The Dark, Tom Swift and long-running teen drama Riverdale have all received their marching orders.
The CW and Warner Bros. still have a fair few DC shows going, mind. There will be another season of Superman & Lois, and Stargirl is also carrying on, with Gotham Knights, a Batman spin-off about Bruce Wayne’s rebellious adopted son, coming in 2023.
But, with the end of The Flash, it does seem to spell the end for the giant interconnections that the Arrowverse allowed. Perhaps DC’s TV output will follow the same idea as DC’s movie slate, which has enjoyed far more success when the heroes are left to do their own thing.