There’s long been a Batman-shaped hole in the Arrowverse. This is entirely understandable, of course. As one of Warner Bros.’ most valuable IPs, they’re very protective of depictions of the character and they’ve historically been worried that a live-action TV version of the Dark Knight would confuse audiences used to whoever’s playing him on the big screen.
This means that shows like Gotham have had to dance around showing the hero in the cape and cowl, while the Arrowverse has been restricted to only subtly hinting at his presence. But with Kate Kane’s Batwoman set to make an appearance soon, along with episodes set in Gotham City, they’re going to have to address the question directly and finally pin down what exactly’s going on with Batman in The CW’s shared universe.
Previously, we’ve had a few little references, with Kara talking about her cousin Clark’s “scary friend,” name-drops of WayneTech in The Flash, the Legends of Tomorrow being told that “men of steel die and dark knights fall” by the time-travelling Rip Hunter, and Ollie visiting the Gotham-adjacent Bludhaven, home of Nightwing. But the most direct reference came in Arrow when Oliver Queen finally mentioned Bruce Wayne and Gotham City by name – something that required the explicit permission of Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara.
Frankly, I think the Arrowverse has more than earned an appearance by the Dark Knight himself. While it initially felt like a slightly low budget equivalent in comparison to the superhero adventures on the big screen, this particular TV universe has painstakingly carved out an identity for itself over multiple high quality shows that continue to impress.
How exactly The CW and Warner Bros. will handle Bruce Wayne now that they’re introducing Batwoman remains to be seen, but why not give us a little tease of the Batman himself? I mean, if we’re going to Gotham anyways, what’s wrong with a pullback shot showing a shadowy, caped figure perched on a gargoyle?