Even before James Gunn announced the upcoming slate for the newly-launched DC Studios that he heads with Peter Safran, we knew that superhero television was about to change. For years, DC succeeded on television where it had arguably struggled on film, thanks to the hugely successful Arrowverse on CW. From the gritty series Arrow that launched in 2012, the Arrowverse grew into a massive superhero soap opera, making up for the absence of the DC Trinity (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman) with fan-favorites like the Flash and the Atom, and rehabilitated D-listers like Wild Dog and Vibe.
But for all of its popularity and success, the Arrowverse is nearly over. With The Flash in its ninth and final season, and Superman & Lois officially not part of the same universe, the massive franchise seems to be at an end. And although Gunn has been clear that the DC Studios slate will not only include television offerings but also include established franchises such as The Flash (the Ezra Miller one, not the Grant Gustin one) and Shazam! Fury of the Gods, he has no similar plans for the Arrowverse.
That’s a hard pill to swallow for both fans and creators, including Marc Guggenheim. Along with Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg, Guggenheim developed Arrow and helped expand the franchise into the blockbuster it became. But where Berlanti has gone on to create the Netflix hit You, which secured him a first-look deal with the streaming service, and Kreisberg was fired by Warner Brothers for sexual assault, Guggenheim has been shut out.
According to CBR, Guggenheim addressed his status in the February 3rd issue of his newsletter. Since Gunn and Safran took over, Guggenheim insists that he has been completely ignored by the company. “Not a job, mind you. A meeting. A conversation,” he vented. “A small recognition of what I’d tried to contribute to the grand tapestry that is the DC Universe.”
It’s easy to understand Guggenheim’s frustration. His work in the DC Universe extends to before the Arrowverse, when he wrote The Flash, Action Comics, and Justice Society of America (as well as various books for Marvel and other publishers). Along with Berlanti, Guggenheim worked on the ill-received Green Lantern movie from 2011, and planned to return for the prestige Green Lantern series for HBO.
But when Gunn and Safran launched DC Studios, the Green Lantern series was pulled from production and has been replaced with Lanterns, a procedural featuring Hal Jordan and John Stewart. Gunn and Safran have assembled a writer’s room that includes Mister Miracle‘s Tom King, Netflix Daredevil showrunner Drew Goddard, and Birds of Prey, or the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn writer Christina Hobson.
Without the least bit of recognition directed his way under this new regime, Guggenheim feels deeply let down. “Although working for DC had been creatively fulfilling, it involved a lot of adversity, challenges, and personal sacrifices — none of which seem to have accrued to any professional benefit,” he wrote. “Simply put, the Arrowverse hasn’t led to any other gigs, so it feels — at least on a career level — that I really wasted my time.”