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The Women of Arrow Deserve Their Spin Off Because They’ve Always Been The Best Part Of The Show

Laurel and Mia and Dinah

News broke earlier this week that Warner Brother Television and the CW are developing a back door pilot for a female-centric Arrowverse spin off. Our Princess Week broke down the story here, but I wanted to talk about how much this spin off makes perfect sense: because the women of Arrow have always been the show’s not-so-secret weapon. There are four ladies I want to talk about: the three women at the center of our proposed new show, and Beth Schwartz, Arrow’s showrunner and the woman we really hope will be taking the reigns of the new series, if it goes forward.

Strong, complex women have always had a place on Arrow, and they’re one of the reasons I was first drawn to the series. Thea (Willa Holland), Felicity (emily Bett-Rickards), Moira (Susanna Thompson) and Sara (Caity Lotz) all were given deep dimensions and complex inner lives that were just as, if not more, interesting, than any of the men. They key to this, of course, was the original Laurel Lance. Katie Cassidy Rogers has had one of the most interesting journeys in the Arrowverse. I think she’s only behind Tom Cavanagh in terms of the number of different versions and variations of her original character she’s played.

The Black Canaries Laurel Lance and Sara Lance on 'Arrow'

(Lotz and Cassidy)

Cassidy Rogers started the series as Lauren Lance of Earth 1 – back when there was only one Earth to deal with. She was Oliver’s ex and current girlfriend of Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell). She was quite clearly intended as a long term love interest for Oliver and part of a love triangle…but the series didn’t really work out that way. And that’s good, actually. It allowed her to be more than just a girlfriend or romantic foil. Laurel lost Tommy, mainly remained friends with Oliver, struggled with alcoholism and trauma and the return and subsequent loss of her sister (don’t worry, she got better) and eventually reinvented herself as the Black Canary. I really loved Laurel’s journey in the earlier seasons. She was messy and angry, but she grew and was so strong.

Like many, I was incredibly bummed to see Laurel die at the hands of Damien Dahrk, but I was still glad that Katie Cassidy Rogers stayed around in the Arrowverse in various forms, before she settled back into a permanent role on Arrow again in season six as a much more evil Laurel from Earth 2. This new character was darker in all the ways – they don’t call her black siren for nothing. But like original flavor Laurel, she grew and changed and season seven saw her trying to be good and bonding with various members of team arrow.

Cassidy Rogers has been a dynamic presence on CW screens since she showed up in season three of Supernatural, in 2007 and it’s been wonderful to watch her grow and stretch as an actress. She’s part of the DNA of Arrow, and her character has a complex relationship with morality and the greater good – which is always fertile ground for drama. She’s a great choice for a spin off that will step into the space Arrow will leave behind.

Katherine McNamara as Mia/Blackstar in The CW's Arrow.

(McNamara as Mia)

If Laurel is the past of Arrow, Mia Smoak is the future – literally. The daughter of Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak roared onto the scene last season and is as smart and rash as her mom and as strong and stubborn as her dad. Kat McNamara (who I’ve loved since Shadowhunters) really shines in the role and there was buzz as soon as her identity was revealed that she should take up the Green Arrow mantle. Mia, like her father, has a hard past and a chip on her shoulder, but she can also kick serious ass, which will make her a great successor.

Both of these women are great, but they’ve tend towards the darker side of the moral spectrum in the past, but they’re balanced out by Dinah Drake (Juliana Karkavy) on the side of law and order. Dinah is the current Black Canary, and she too had a rough path to taking up the mantle. Unlike Laurel or Sara Lance, Dinah is a metahuman with real superpowers…but those were compromised in season seven, in one of my favorite plot lines for her. I love that Dinah is someone that is always trying to do good. She’s a hopeful balance to Mia and Laurel and it’s a great combo. In the flash forwards she’s created on the other side of the law and has a network of canaries – women that fight injustice, which I really love and is a story I want to see explored more. I hope more than a little that this new series is called Canaries.

Juliana Harkavy as Dinah Drake/Black Canary in The CW's Arrow.

And I also hope that it’s Beth Schwartz that runs the show. Schwartz started as a writer’s assistant in the early years of Arrow and has worked her way up to showrunner. Her first season behind the wheel, season seven, was one of the series’ best, especially because it let so many women do some many interesting things. Schwartz, is one of many smart women behind the scenes in the Arrowverse, which also includes Sarah Schecter and the other producers on this new series, and I really hope that she’s part of this new journey going forward. She’s part of the development of the back door pilot to the series, which will air during the ten-episode final season, so it’s logical that she would be.

From Laurel to Mia to Dinah and all the other women on the show, and even to Beth Schwartz, these women have thrived on Arrow because it’s a show that lets them change and evolve, from evil to good, from victim to heroes. That adaptability and dynamism has kept Arrow interesting over the years, and I hope that’s something the heroines of Star City will maintain as they continue their journey.

And what might that journey be? Well, speculation has been that it will take place in the future, but with Crisis on Infinite Earths coming up, which will involve Barry Allen and the Legends, both who have a habit of rewriting history, who knows that that future will be or if Mia Smoak will stay there. Laurel is from a different dimension, so there’s really no rules here. Literally anything is possible in this world, so we have no idea what the series could be about. But I think with these great actresses and characters in it with a great writer behind it, we can safely assume it will keep up the standard of awesome we’ve enjoyed.

(Featured Image: Dean Buscher/The CW)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.