Your Guide to The 20+ Superheroes And Villains Joining The CW-Verse This Fall

By  · Published on August 31st, 2015

The CW

In the movie world, superhero stories aim high. There are no Marvel execs trampling each other to put a Speedball movie into production. There probably never will be. And for good reason, too, because Speedball kinda sucks.

For superheroes on TV, it’s just the opposite. 20+ episode per year requires a writers room to scrape up the forgotten, crusty bits at the bottom of the comic book world so Barry Allen has someone new to speed-punch (and lock away forever in an bizarrely inhumane super-Guantanamo Bay) every week.

The largest offender by far is the CW’s conglomerate of superhero shows: Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. Between the three of them, we’ve got more than 20 DC comics super-players swarming onto TV in just about a month and a half. It’s a lot to handle. Let this giant list of all of them guide you through the madness.

Courtesy of DC Comics

Courtesy of DC Comics

Damien Darhk

Arrow’s bucking a trend this year: instead of picking a major DC Comics adversary for their Big Bad (Merlyn, Deathstroke, Ra’s al Ghul- all heavyweights)- the show’s snapped up Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), a shlub who terrorized a handful of 1999 “Teen Titans” comics and then nothing else, ever. There’s also the issue of that “h.” Just pretend it’s not there.

On the printed page, Darhk was tech wiz with a dark side and ties to the super villain organization HIVE (Hierarchy of International Vengeance and Extermination- god I hope Arrow keeps the same acronym). That’s more or less the case for Arrow, as Darhk’s running his own version of HIVE, a shadowy villain organization that’s already been name-dropped on Arrow a few times.

According to co-showrunner Marc Guggenheim, Darhk will buck the Arrow Big Bad formula in two ways. One, instead of that classic “villain who thinks he’s the hero” motivation that the show’s other Big Bads all had, Darhk’s just a jerk who genuinely likes doing the cruelest shit imaginable (McDonough’s smart casting, then- he did an extraordinary turn on Justified as a very similar psycho villain). And two, rather than waiting halfway through the season for that Big Bad reveal, he’ll be there right from the start.

Courtesy of DC Comics


This could get weird. The Flash’s next Big Bad is Zoom, and The Flash already borrowed from this character heavily to create Harrison Wells last year (“But Harrison Wells is the Reverse-Flash!” you protest. Well, Zoom is also the Reverse-Flash. It’s confusing).

Zoom was originally Hunter Solomon, a police profiler working alongside the Flash, until a freak Gorilla Grodd accident left him wheelchair-bound. Desperate to get the use of his legs back, he tampered with the Speed Force and voila! Super-speed (well, not really- he can actually travel through time in a way that looks like he’s moving all quick-like). Also, the whole “a super-gorilla snapped my spine” thing kinda left him insane, so Zoom thinks he’s “training” the Flash to be a better hero by causing horrible tragedies in his life. Basically Harrison Wells.

But as The Flash exec producer Gabrielle Stanton cautions, “no one will confuse him for one second with what we did last year,” so clearly the CW has considered the startling similarities. Also, Zoom will be “scary as hell,” faster than any other speedster, and as TVLine puts it, “may resemble Eobard Thawne upon first impression.” Considering The Flash has been filming for months and Zoom as yet to be cast, one might assume that one of the show’s two Eobard Thawnes (Tom Cavanagh, Matt Letscher) is stepping in to fill the role.

Courtesy of DC Comics

Courtesy of DC Comics

Vandal Savage

Our third Big Bad for our third CW superhero show- Casper Crump will play Legends of Tomorrow baddie Vandal Savage. He’s a little like Ra’s al Ghul, in that he’s an immortal ruler who’s influenced the world in secret for centuries. Both men also favor distinguished-looking facial hair. Savage, however, is a little more outwardly evil, as his end goal is usually ruling the world rather than sponsoring a secret clan or two.

This much we know from the Legends trailer: time traveler Rip Hunter (more on him later) has seen the future; the future is a total mess because of Vandal Savage; Legends’ assortment of B and C-list super-characters are the only ones capable of traveling through time to stop him. Cue an army of laser-toting soldiers and a robot foot the size of the Epcot dome.

Courtesy of DC Comics

Jay Garrick

We saw Jay Garrick’s lightning bolt-adorned helmet on The Flash last year, so this should come as no surprise: DC Comics’ original Golden Age version of the character, Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears), is also joining the series.

This much we know: He’ll be a mentor to Barry- and a non-evil one, which should be a pleasant change of pace. He’ll be arriving in Central City with news of something all huge and scary that one Flash alone can’t handle (conveniently, season two has already cast two more Flashes besides Garrick). Given that hat-cameo, he’ll probably wear the hat and look completely goofy. And that early image teasing the iconic “Flash of Two Words” cover isn’t just a tease- the show’s going to include the actual “two flashes save dude from falling girder” moment, early on in the season.

Courtesy of DC Comics

Courtesy of DC Comics

Wally West

The second of three speedster heroes joining The Flash is Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale), who served as Kid Flash from the ’60s through Barry Allen’s death in 1986, then as the official Flash until DC swapped Barry back in with 2009’s “The Flash: Rebirth.”

Comic book Wally is, as the last name implies, the nephew of longtime Flash love interest Iris West. Wally’s a big Flash fan, and as the Flash explains to Wally how he got his powers- that very shelf of precariously-placed chemicals splashed on me, just as I was struck by lightning– that very shelf of precariously-placed chemicals splashed on Wally, just as he was struck by lightning. Jinx!

Although none of that will probably happen to the TV Wally West. On three occasions (occasion one, occasion two, occasion three), sources close to The Flash have been asked “hey, what’s the deal with Wally?” and the only response anyone’s gotten is total hush-hush secrecy. Suffice to say, TV’s Wally West will probably be some kind of half-human, half-zebra cannibalistic serial killer. Or maybe he’ll just be the Flash of some other multiverse realm.

Courtesy of DC Comics

Courtesy of DC Comics

Jesse Quick

Our third new speedster joining The Flash is the only one not technically a Flash. Instead, she’s affiliated with Johnny Quick, a 1941 “More Fun Comics” hero with the same power set, color scheme and hair color as The Flash. Johnny Quick faded into oblivion soon after the Flash grew popular, but DC retconned him into a supporting player during the ’80s, and gave him a daughter, Jesse Quick (Violett Beane), in 1992. She’s partnered up with Wally West on a regular basis since then.

Two key differences between the Quicks and the Flashes: Jesse Quick has super-strength (inherited from her mom, another low-ranking superhero named Liberty Belle), and her super-speed doesn’t come from the freak spillage of vague police chemicals, but rather speaking or visualizing the mathematical formula behind super-speed.

On the CW, Jesse is a “brilliant but quirky college student” caught between two warring speedsters, Barry and Zoom.

Courtesy of the CW

Rip Hunter

Obviously Legends of Tomorrow would feature Rip Hunter (Arthur Darville) in a crucial role; he’s the guy DC Comics calls in whenever the words “timestream,” and “tampering” are mentioned in the same speech bubble. His moniker’s the Time Master, for god’s sake.

Sure enough, Legends’ team of time-traveling heroes will be led by Hunter, who’s the bearded, roguish, timeline-preserving yin to bad guy Vandal Savage’s yang.

It was initially reported that Hunter would be one of three DC Comics characters the CW-verse would be introducing that had never had an on-screen appearance before. Hunter was actually featured in an episode of the Batman: The Brave and the Bold cartoon, though. Maybe his Time Mastery can include erasing one episode of a cartoon for credibility reasons.

Courtesy of DC Comics


Here’s how you know the CW is confident in its superhero stable- their third series, Legends of Tomorrow, features not only the Atom, whose costume costs “more than, like, your average American home” but also two series regulars who regularly sport giant CGI wings.

The first of those two to be announced was Hawkgirl, aka Kendra Saunders (Ciara Renée). Technically, we saw her on The Flash’s first season finale last year (as a random citizen gazing into the singularity that threatens to eat the entire planet), but she wasn’t all hawk’d out so I’m counting her as a “coming this fall” hero.

Like the comics, Hawkgirl (also Hawkman) are two lovers destined to be together and reincarnated continuously throughout history. Unlike the comics, Hawkgirl’s wings aren’t an artificial part of her costume, but part of her physiology and sprout from her shouldlerblades “when provoked.” Maybe that helps tamp down the CGI budget.

Courtesy of DC Comics

Courtesy of DC Comics


Hawkgirl’s significant other is also a series regular of Legends of Tomorrow, even though he wasn’t confirmed for the show until three months after Hawkgirl, wasn’t featured in the trailer and wasn’t actually confirmed as a regular until four days ago. But hey, Legends isn’t premiering until the midseason and the CW’s still in the process of shoring up all the important details.

This should sooth any chafed nerves: Hawkman (Falk Henschel), like Hawkgirl, is an ancient hero reincarnated throughout the ages. But he remembers the last few thousand years of romance and she doesn’t, creating a bickering “Bogie & Bacall” vibe between the two Hawkpeople. Both will get plenty of airtime on Arrow and The Flash before making the jump to their own series.

Courtesy of DC Comics

Mister Terrific

Sometimes Arrow can get away with calling people “Deathstroke” or “Atom” or “Deadshot,” so long as there’s enough of a winking write-around to explain why people in an ostensibly grounded (not really) universe would give each other goofy codenames. “Mister Terrific” is probably a stretch. Although given that the character, Michael Holt (Echo Kellum), is a genius at everything you can be a genius at- thinkin’ stuff, punchin’ stuff, any stuff really- there’s a high probability someone (Diggle?) will throw him a sarcastic Well aren’t you just Mr. Terrific? and I will groan in despair.

Besides the whole star athlete/genius thing (“the third smartest man on Earth,” in DC Comics), Mister Terrific’s wife and kid are killed in an accident and he responds by slapping a big “T” on his face and building all kinds of crime-fighting gadgets. He’s also the second version of the character- the first, ‘40s-era hero Terry Sloane, had all of brilliance without the sob story.

For Arrow’s Mister Terrific, we know this much: he’ll work at Palmer Technologies, he’ll be gay, and his mask almost kind of looks like a big “T” from a distance.

Jay Jackson

You may have noticed that Legends of Tomorrow features a Firestorm who flies and shoots fire and does all the things TV Firestorm has done in the past…. without the presence of Robbie Amell, who plays Ronnie Raymond and is a necessary part of Firestorm not included in the Legends cast.

Earlier this year, Legends cast Franz Drameh as Jay Jackson, a high school football star working as a mechanic after his dreams of going pro went sideways. Given that Drameh is black, most people assumed “Jay Jackson” was a cover for Cyborg, or maybe Static Shock. Nope. Firestorm. Jackson will replace Ronnie Raymond as a separate young, rebellious dude who merges with Martin Stein’s old crotchety dude to form a pleasant median of dude who can also fly and shoot fire.

Legends executive producer Phil Klemmer let slip at this year’s Comic-Con that Jackson is “probably the last person Professor Stein wants to share Firestorm with.” And now we know.

Courtesy of NBC


A last hurrah for anyone who actually watched Constantine last fall (not enough people to keep Constantine on the air, but enough to ensure a guest spot). John Constantine (Matt Ryan) will appear in the fifth episode of Arrow’s upcoming fourth season.

It works out for everyone. Constantine fans want to see the character again, and the Arrow writers need a way to revive the murdered-with-multiple-arrows Sara Lance, who’s already slated to star in Legends of Tomorrow. Constantine, with all his dark arts, afterlife hokum, is the perfect way to bridge that gap (and that’s just what he’ll be doing on Arrow).

Guggenheim stresses that Constantine’s appearance is a “one-time-only deal,” and it really will be the last appearance for the character, ever. Also he might appear on The Flash, because a different Arrow EP, Greg Berlanti, has learned to “never say never.”

Courtesy of DC Comics

Baron “Definitely Not Baron Blitzkrieg” Blitzkrieg

Hey. Hey. Arrow is not in the habit of casting black actors as Nazis. Because as was originally reported, the CW tapped British actor Jimmy Akingbola (who is black) to play the DC villain Baron Blitzkrieg, originally a German officer stationed in a concentration camp who was injured in a revolt and given flight, super-strength and laser eyes with the help of Nazi scientists.

And after the casting was announced, Arrow EP Mar Guggenheim came out publicly to explain that there’s no need to freak out because Arrow will not feature any black Nazis. The show was really just interested in the villainous organization Shadowspire, who Baron Blitzkrieg heads up in the comic world. Arrow’s taking Shadowspire in a separate, non-Nazi direction so they scrapped the name Blitzkrieg and are sticking closer to his alter ego with the name “Baron Reiter.”

Ok, now that we’ve got that messiness out of the way, Baron Reiter (not a Nazi) will to be the primary villain for Oliver’s flashback story this time around.

Courtesy of DC Comics


Here’s a recent one. Yesterday, Demore Barnes was cast as Tokamak, a Firestorm villain who’ll be making an appearance in The Flash’s second season. Comic-accurate Tokamak is Henry Hewitt, an industrialist who recreates the freak accident that created Firestorm in an attempt to give himself Firestorm powers. It doesn’t quite work out, but Tokamak does end up dangerously radioactive and with the power to create energy rings that can manipulate the atomic structure of other objects.

The TV version will be a new hire at S.T.A.R. Labs, who conveniently happens to have accelerator explosion-based superpowers (no word on what those are yet). I’m guessing they’ll be a bit more streamlined then the comic Tokamak’s, considering that comic-accurate Firestorm as all kinds of atomic-manipulation techniques and the TV one just shoots fire and screams a lot.

Also, a tokamak is a type of magnetic containment device. There. Bizarre name, handily explained.

Double Down

The Flash doesn’t really do mysticism, so it’s safe to say that Double Down’s origin story- Jeremy Tell (JR Bourne) loses a card game, kills the winner, is mutated by a deck of cards infused with a foul magic- will probably get a more scientific update. Still, The Flash is getting a villain whose powers involve his flesh ripping itself from his body in the shape of razor-sharp playing cards. Is that more or less ridiculous than a swarm of robe-bees? I’m leaning towards “more.”

But like the Bug-Eyed Bandit, Double Down’s just a one-and-done’r, as he’s only slated to appear in episode three of the show’s second season.

Courtesy of DC Comics


You’ve guessed it from the name already, I’m sure- Anarky is an anarchist. Also a super-hacker. And, as is often the case, a mouthpiece for whoever’s writing his dialogue to espouse their political views (does Donald Trump exist in the CW-verse? We’ll probably find out). He’s waffled between villain and anti-hero in the DC universe (with an array of improvised Batman-ish gadgets), but according to the official CW description- “a deranged freelancing criminal”– antihero doesn’t sound like part of the equation this time.

Courtesy of DC Comics

Atom Smasher

The Atom shrinks; the Atom Smasher grows skyscraper-huge. It’s like poetry. Although the CW might skip over that bit of wordplay, as its version of Atom Smasher will march into Central City during The Flash’s season two premiere with the singular goal of murdering the Flash. Why? Shrug. Probably something to do with particle accelerators.

The TV version of Atom Smasher will still get all huge, though. Not that he really needs to, because he’ll be played by the 6’5’’, 250 pound Adam Copeland (who has a real life alter ego as former WWE wrestler The Edge). Here, enjoy an early season two TV spot featuring half a second of Atom Smasher angrily taking his shirt off.

Doctor Light

Doctor Light- aka Arthur Light- is a supervillain with the power to bend light to his will. That usually equals lasers, invisibility and, for some reason, flight. But Arthur Light was already referenced last season on Arrow (as a former S.T.A.R. Labs employee with a nutty streak), so The Flash will introduce a different incarnation of the character- as per TVLine’s hinting, “the female version” of Doctor Light.

That’d be Kimyo Hoshi, who has the same slew of light-based powers, but is much more pleasant and falls neatly into the “hero” category. Although who knows where The Flash might take her. The only thing we know for sure about the character is the word “female.”

Courtesy of DC Comics

Mirror Master

Count Mirror Master under the villains we’ll… probably? see next season, given executive producer Andrew Kreisberg’s remark that “I think we definitely want to meet the Mirror Master next year.” Beyond that, there’s not a single mention of casting or story details regarding anyone with mirror-based powers.

But just in case: Mirror Master has been two guys in 56 years of comic-based supervillainy. Sam Scudder’s the first and Evan McCulloch’s the second, but they’re not so different. Both are relatively petty thugs, key members of the Rogues and sport all kinds of nifty mirror tech like holograms or the ability to dive into various mirror-based dimensions. Two key differences: Scudder invented the mirror tech and McCulloch just gloms onto it, and Scudder’s American while McCullcoch speaks in a thick Scottish accent.

I’m guessing the Flash’s stable of filmmakers have a list of 8,000 neat mirror-based filmmaking tricks they’d like to employ once Mirror Master gets an episode to himself.

Courtesy of DC Comics

Courtesy of DC Comics

Doctor Alchemy

Even less secure than Mirror Master, who at least got a mention of “next year,” Kreisberg hinted that “I’m sure Dr. Alchemy will show up at some point.” during that same Wondercon panel. Let’s just say that “some point” equals season two.

The Doctor Alchemy mantle’s been claimed by a number of characters through the years, but the most prominent was always Albert Desmond, who suffers from multiple personality disorder. Obviously, one personality’s as sweet as can be and the other just loves transforming one element into another element for the purposes of evil.

Usually, that’s done through the actual Philosopher’s Stone, which Doctor Alchemy just carries around with him. Various Doctor Alchemies have also used the Element Gun, which transforms the Stone’s power into a much more crime-appropriate gun-based form.

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