Laurel Lance’s Death Changes The DCTV Universe

No one thought the Arrow writers would be so disrespectful as to kill off Dinah Laurel Lance, the iconic Black Canary, but here we are weeks later, still reeling their controversial decision.

At what point is using source material to influence your show a bad option? Clearly the writers and producers think their perception of Green Arrow is better than that which made the hero’s comics successful in the first place. As is seen by their fundamentally all-original cast of characters.

(And yes, Thea Queen is an original character, even though she’s taken up Speedy’s mantle.)

Only Oliver Queen truly remains as a character straight from the comics, but is he? The two share the same name, but Arrow‘s Oliver Queen is nothing like his comic counterpart. He’s not witty, sarcastic, or charming. He’s dark, potentially gritty, and a makeshift version of Batman, as some fans conceive him.

The Black Canary has always been a crucial figure in Green Arrow’s history, yet she was treated so horribly. Katie Cassidy did a phenomenal job portraying Laurel through guilt, depression, rage, and her journey to becoming a hero. But the material was always a bit lackluster, almost as if the writers had given up on her in Season 1.

Once she wasn’t a love interest anymore, she wasn’t important. Who wants a kick-ass heroine anyway?

The writers made that aggravatingly clear. Once they followed through with Oliver and Felicity, Laurel was written as one of their biggest supporters, she was pushed into the background as a supporting character (yet Katie Cassidy was still the lead female star of the show), and the original plan never seemed to lead to Laurel becoming the Black Canary.

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Instead, Sara Lance (another original character) was introduced as “The Canary,” and her death led to Laurel taking up a mantle which should’ve been hers in the first place. Sara later became a great addition to the universe as the White Canary in Legends of Tomorrow.

Hardly a year after Laurel Lance took up her role as the Black Canary, she’s killed off by a male villain, in order to further Oliver’s story, and her father’s. Laurel died because of the men in her life, and was used as a prop to propel them further into darkness and chaos.

Yet another female character was killed to further the stories of the men around her.

Her death was pitiful and weak, not what an important character should ever receive. She was held by magic, stabbed by an arrow, but survived, only to die in her hospital bed because the writers couldn’t have her dying before she propped Oliver and Felicity one last time. That just wouldn’t do.

So, not only was Laurel Lance written in such a disappointing fashion, she died in that way, too. It’s no surprise some fans could never attach to her, because she was never given a fair chance and decent writing.

Co-showrunner Marc Guggenheim admitted that they’d killed her because they’d written themselves into a corner with the grave twist in the Season 4 Premiere, and they didn’t know how to write her character anymore. They gave up, and effectively removed Katie Cassidy from the show, who had helped build it and was the first star cast.

“It’s Oliver Queen’s story, not Laurel Lance’s.” You might say, but is it? In every successful Green Arrow story, Dinah has been with him, in some way.

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In the New 52 version, they tried to adapt Felicity into the comics, but it didn’t work.

Without Emily Bett Rickards’ acting, her character doesn’t work in the Green Arrow comics, which is a shame because she has great character qualities.

Anyways.

Even though Arrow prides itself in being separate from the comics, it has always shown blatant disrespect for the source material, which doesn’t work in a comic-centered TV show. Killing off Laurel Lance, the Black Canary, changes the entire DCTV universe.

Without her, who will found the Justice League? Just because it isn’t shown in the TV universe doesn’t mean it’s not important in developing the world this is supposed to take place in. Changing your characters to fit your own Green Arrow mythos shouldn’t change the universe that they come from.

Now, the Black Canary’s importance has to be scrubbed from the DCTV universe, because the writers thought she’d “reached her peak.” This undoes so many important stories that could’ve happened with her character, like incorporating the Birds of Prey, or having her travel over to another one of the many DC TV shows that could know how to write her properly. Legends of Tomorrow, perhaps?

With the DCTV universe trying to build, how are they going to completely scrub her from every important event she was responsible for in DC Comics? One decision to kill a character that they’d given up on changes the entire universe, which they effectively destroyed by killing an important heroine.

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4 comments

  1. “A mantle which should have been hers in the first place,” you say, as if there’s an issue with Sara having been The Canary before Laurel became Black Canary.

    It’s funny how Laurel fans talk about caring about the comics but always ignore the fact that Dinah Laurel Lance was not the first Black Canary. It’s a legacy mantle. Having Sara as The Canary first and inspiring Laurel, while not entirely the same because the original Black Canary in the comics was Dinah’s mother, is about the only aspect of Laurel’s journey that is remotely respectful of the comics.

    “Without her, who will found the Justice League? Just because it isn’t shown in the TV universe doesn’t mean it’s not important in developing the world this is supposed to take place in. Changing your characters to fit your own Green Arrow mythos shouldn’t change the universe that they come from.”

    What in the world are you talking about? It doesn’t change the universe they come from. Black Canary being a founding member of the JLA is a retcon, anyway.

    In order to make Dinah Laurel Lance what she is — or was, before Flashpoint — Dinah Drake Lance had to be stripped of decades of history via one retcon, and Wonder Woman had to be stripped of her history via Crisis On Infinite Earths. “Black Canary fans,” or should I say, Katie Cassidy fans, never think to mention the characters to whom Dinah Laurel Lance owes her entire back-story.

  2. The comic books disrespected Black Canary every time she was put together with Green Arrow. He cheated on her, she quit the Birds of Prey before marrying him while he had to give up nothing at all, then after they were married he killed a villain then lied to her face that he didn’t. He was always screwing her over when they were together, while the thrived in the BoP book while they were apart.

    Arrow did the exact same shit with Black Canary — she was a prop to Oliver’s story. I don’t think they disrespected comic book canon. They just perpetuated the very very imbalanced relationship the characters had in the comic book that ultimately made them not work and get divorced.

    I’m curious how Rebirth will address all of that. Hopefully this new version of Black Canary will not become Green Arrow’s doormat once again.

  3. I’m actually a fan of every member in the cast of Arrow. And to be honest, yes I want Oliver and Laurel to end up together, but during season 3 and the first half of season 4, I didn’t mind Olicity because Laurel still had her story arc going on. But now that Felicity is a cry baby character and Laurel is dead, I don’t blame the actresses for that. Both of them did what they were told. I blame the writers *ahem**one in specific… Uncle Gu___***. If they bring back Olicity and omg if they make Felicity the Black Canary I would be so mad. I actually stopped watching the show at the end of season 4, I stayed in hopes of Laurel coming back. But that show is officially ruined so I’m not returning for season 5.

    Enough with my rant tho. The solution, in my opinion is to find a compromise between Lauriver and Olicity fans. No matter the fact that I think Laurel and Oliver should be written to work out, the compromise should be Guggenheim can have his Olicity relationship, but he also needs to bring back Laurel Lance. And you know what if he doesn’t know how to write her, bring her back and put her on SUPERGIRL for all I care! I just really hope the writers bring her back because she is an important character and there’s a lot more fans of Laurel and Felicity than haters. So UNCLE GUGENHEIM (or however you spell your name) BRING BACK LAUREL.

  4. “they didn’t know how to write her character anymore” if only they picked up a goddamn comic book and open the damn thing…

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