However you feel about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel Studios at least has all of its properties, at least the ones they have the rights to, tenuously intertwined. Other than Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) as the lead character, a quick cameo by Nick Fury himself, Samuel L. Jackson, and a mention from time to time of any member of the Avengers, the show will also have a tie-in to Thor: The Dark World in next week’s episode. Whether or not the Netflix deal that brings us Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist will be tied to the Cinematic Universe as well is yet to be seen, but it’s a fair assumption to say that Marvel Studios wants to keep all of their properties as connected as possible.
On the other hand, Warner Bros. has plans to spread the DC Comics love around to several television networks while using the CW’s Arrow as a sort of flagship program to introduce a multitude of characters into the TV landscape because it’s faster than waiting two years for a movie to come out and introduce those same characters. In going this route, WB has the ability to give us characters who may or may not appear in future movies before they actually appear in those movies. Or at least the character will. No one’s quite sure if the actors will be the same.
Scheduled for December 4th, the 8th episode of Arrow‘s second season, “The Scientist” will feature the introduction of Barry Allen, a.k.a. The Flash (played by Grant Gustin). Allen will also be in episode nine and will appear for a third time in episode 20 in what is essentially a backdoor pilot for the planned The Flash TV show that CW wants to spinoff. All well and good, right? But does this mean Gustin will be playing Barry Allen in the Justice League movie rumored to be coming out in 2017? It’s a given that The Flash will be in the film, but Gustin isn’t necessarily locked in for the role outside of his guest appearances on Arrow. The Flash spinoff isn’t even guaranteed until ratings are calculated or whatever wizard CW has employed mixes the proper potion and throws some runes around. Either way, Gustin isn’t a sure thing to reprise the role on the big screen. It doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen, we just have to wait until we see what Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, and Geoff Johns do with the character.
There might, however, be a character that could bridge the television and cinematic universes for WB and DC Comics: Dick Grayson, a.k.a. Nightwing. Rumored to have a cameo in the up-coming Superman/Batman film in 2015, Girls star Adam Driver is reportedly the frontrunner for the role. Recently, however, a picture and tweet were sent out from The Vampire Diaries’ Steven R. McQueen (actual grandson of Steve McQueen), showing the actor working out while wearing a shirt with Nightwing’s signature blue symbol. McQueen also tagged the showrunners of Arrow and Nightwing writer Kyle Higgins in the tweet as well, leading many to believe Arrow showrunner Andrew Kreisberg has finally gotten his favorite character into the show. Perhaps WB finally lifted the hotly debated Bat-embargo? Or is Nightwing’s possible appearance in Arrow a step towards connecting the television and cinematic universes?
Let’s be honest, if the Nightwing rumors are true for Arrow, then we’ll obviously see McQueen before we possibly see Driver or whoever else ends up on the short-list of actors that will start circulating. How many women are rumored to be up for what might be a Wonder Woman cameo? Plus, Nightwing will more than likely be a guest spot, unless people like him enough to get him recurring guest star status. There isn’t a spinoff riding on Nightwing’s appearance, so, if WB was smart about this, it would make sense to use Nightwing as the bridge character. McQueen looks young enough to be Dick Grayson compared to Ben Affleck’s older Batman. And if we’re going to start concerning ourselves with continuity in terms of character ages and timelines, Dick and Ollie being closer in age fits in more with what’s happening in the New 52 and it’s not like Arrow has been adhering to any type of pre-52 continuity.
WB has one thing over Marvel, all of their properties belong to them, so it shouldn’t be hard for them to connect their DC characters on the big and small screen. If we’re going to see more characters on television before we see them in the movies, it would be wise of them to start locking the actors in for both mediums.