Warner Bros. has canceled The Flash, with the show’s ninth season confirmed as its last.
According to Deadline, (opens in new tab) The final season of the long-running DC drama will premiere in 2023 with 13 episodes, marking the shortest season length in the show’s history.
Speculation about the show’s future has been bubbling ever since it was confirmed that star Grant Gustin had only committed to a one-year contract in January 2022, and it has now been confirmed that the show will complete before 2023.
Released in 2014, The Flash began life as an Arrow spin-off and followed Gustin’s Barry Allen, a crime scene investigator who gains superhuman speed after an explosion in a lab. He uses his newfound speed to fight crime and hunt down other metahumans in Central City like The Flash, a masked superhero.
The establishment of The Flash led to Warner Bros. and its DC Comics arms to create a series of interconnected spin-offs, which became known as the Arrowverse. The animated web series Vixen joined in 2015, so the Legends of Tomorrow show came in 2016 before Supergirl followed in the same year.
In the years that followed, a second animated web-series, Freedom Fighters: The Ray, debuted, as did a fifth series, Batwoman, which debuted in 2019. And, for its third season onwards, Black Lightning was also written to be become part of the shared universe. Additionally, every year since 2014, there has been an annual crossover event involving many of the Arrowverse’s live-action series.
The Arrowverse began to unfold in 2020 with the end of Arrow, which ran for eight full seasons, and Warner Bros. decided to pass a spin-off, Green Arrow and the Canaries. In 2021, both Supergirl and Black Lightning came to an end, and in April 2022, Batwoman and Legends of Tomorrow were cancelled.
That left The Flash as the only show standing, and when it ends, The Flash will be the most successful of the Arrowverse series and the longest as well, with nine seasons to Arrow’s eight.
More than 700 episodes in 40 television seasons. It really is the end of an era.
Analysis: The end of an era
With the exception of the two web-only shows, all of the Arrowverse shows aired on The CW cable network. The network, which is jointly owned by Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery, canceled seven shows on the same day in April of this year.
In addition to Legends of Tomorrow and Batwoman, network executives also canceled Legacies, The Vampire Diaries and The Originals spin-off Naomi, an Ava Duvernay comic book adaptation, and the reboot of the teen drama Charmed.
In the weeks that followed, Roswell, New Mexico, In The Dark, Tom Swift and the long-running teen drama Riverdale received their marching orders.
The CW and Warner Bros. still have some DC shows in the works, mind you. There will be another season of Superman & Lois, and Stargirl is also continuing, with Gotham Knights, a Batman spin-off about Bruce Wayne’s rebellious adopted son, arriving in 2023.
But with the end of The Flash, it seems to spell the end of the giant interconnections that the Arrowverse allowed. Perhaps DC’s TV production follows the same idea as the DC movie slate, which has been far more successful when the heroes are left to do their own thing.