Green Arrow and The Canaries: Yes, avenir belongs to the superheroes.

Green Arrow and The Canaries: Yes, avenir belongs to the superheroes.

– January 24, 2020 – Pop culture

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Katherine McNamara, Katie Cassidy and Juliana Harkavy will be the co-stars of a new Arrowverse series: Green Arrow & The Canaries. The pilot episode of this sequel to Arrow, set in 2040, has just been aired.

Eight years after Olivier Queen escaped from his island, his adventures come to an end. It had been announced a long time ago: the hero of Arrow would conclude his series by dying during a crisis in the multiverse. This outcome came a few weeks ago in the crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths – which was also a good lesson for the Justice League. After Crisis, there are only two episodes left. The penultimate one is devoted to the next generation. It serves as a “backdoor pilot”: the first episode of a spin-off, broadcast directly in its mother series.

The famous spin-off is called Green Arrow & The Canaries and serves as a sequel to Arrow. His daughter, Mia, takes up the bow and hood to team up with the two versions of Black Canary introduced in recent years: Dinah Drake and Laurel Lance. The plot takes place in the future, in 2040. If we had seen this future before, it changed completely after Crisis on Infinite Earths, which reconfigured everything. A dark future is being replaced by a peaceful future, but it won’t stay that way for long. What is this “backdoor pilot” worth?

Dinah Drake, Mia Queen et Laurel Lance sont les trois héroïnes de ce spin-off. // Source : The CW

Dinah Drake, Mia Queen and Laurel Lance are the three heroes of this spin-off // Source: The CW

Creating new heroic icons is positive

The television universe of DC Comics, nicknamed Arrowverse, is getting richer and richer in series, regularly featuring new heroes and heroines. The Crisis crossover was already proving the ability of the DC series to be more ambitious in its narration. The Arrowverse has also been able to open up to more diversity, well ahead of the comic books in cinema – Marvel and DC combined. It was Greg Berlanti’s productions that brought the first transgender superhero on the screen; and with Batwoman, there’s finally a lead role played by a lesbian superhero.

It’s been clear for some time that the Arrowverse showrunners want to highlight more female roles. Green Arrow & The Canaries is in this spirit by focusing on a trio of heroines. It remained to be seen whether or not the series would fall into the same traps as in the movies – namely the hypersexualization that targets Harley Quinn (always related to a man, the Joker) or the polishing of Wonder Woman (always related to a man, Steve Trevor).

Batwoman est incarnée par Ruby Rose. L’Arrowverse dépeint de plus en plus des super-héroïnes. // Source : The CW

Batwoman is played by Ruby Rose. The Arrowverse increasingly depicts superheroes // Source: The CW

Fortunately, when watching the backdoor pilot, everything is going well: Green Arrow & The Canaries does not fill any clichés about the trio being female and clearly it feels good. For example, if there is a small crush, as soon as a bigger issue comes up, the character of Mia does not put this relationship above her identity as a fledgling heroine, it is neither her motivation nor her raison d’être. The showrunner humanizes her characters, the fact that they are “badass” is not an excuse to discreetly make them fit into the same old gender stereotypes.

  • Read: Crisis on Infinite Earths: Arrowverse succeeds where Justice League failed

Emancipated heroines

The intrigue of the backdoor pilot remains rather poor: we feel that the risk taking is minimal, the goal being only to introduce the idea of this new series. Difficult, for the moment, to anticipate the quality of writing of the adventures of Green Arrow and the Black Canaries. And we hope that the plot will be a little more striking than the one in this episode. But some positive points are already emerging.

Dans l’intrigue, le focus est surtout sur Mia Queen (Green Arrow), mais l’esprit d’équipe fonctionne bien. // Source : The CW

In the plot, the focus is mostly on Mia Queen (Green Arrow), but the team spirit works well // Source: The CW

The series benefits enormously from being a spin-off. Actresses have a longstanding knowledge of their roles. The heroines have a course already built in the Arrowverse, already full of twists and turns (Laurel Lance was on the “wrong side” for a long time). As a result, the pilot completely skips the origin story phase and, hallelujah, it’s refreshing. Green Arrow & The Canaries emancipates itself, the heroines with it. The fact that it’s a trio has something to do with it: it reinforces the fact that they rely only on themselves. Even the context, a future in 2040, offers plenty of freedom and potential.

This total emancipation is the first quality of the driver and allows us to believe in the potential of this team. The showrunner Beth Schwartz doesn’t seem to be satisfied with just directing female characters, but to make new icons out of them, independent of everything, who don’t obey any constraint – neither script nor social. The heroines are not an embodiment of the “superheroic woman” – and not what she should be according to convention – but a team of women with singular profiles and backgrounds.

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