Recently I decided to start watching the TV show Arrow, and recently made it to episode 5. While watching, he looks at his friend-turned-partner Digs, and says "You know us billionaire vigilantes--we do love our toys." Does this mean that he is aware of Bruce Wayne's activities as Batman, possibly inspired by them? Or is Queen just being a wiseass?

  • HA - I totally missed that comment. Great catch!
    – Omegacron
    Sep 28, 2016 at 17:16
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    Just a comment for current and future answerers: OP said he just started to watch the show, and I've seen a LOT of spoilers on the answers. Please take this into consideration.
    – Josh Part
    Sep 28, 2016 at 20:48

3 Answers 3


It's not a coincidence, but it's not an in-universe reference. It's an "inside joke" of sorts.

Stephen Amell has gone on record multiple times as saying that he tries to get the writers to work as many DC references into his show as possible. There are limits to how much they can get away with, because the Batman properties are licensed elsewhere, but they still name-drop Superman or Batman (or others) when possible. Some times they make it into the show, sometimes they don't. Examples include:

  • In an early interview, Amell says he tried to work a line into dialogue soon after his return, where he waves to someone off-screen and calls them "Bruce", implying that he and Bruce Wayne are friends. (It didn't make it in.)
  • In the Legends of Tomorrow premiere episode, Rip Hunter talks about both "dark knights" and "men of steel"
  • Felicity's code name is Overwatch because "Oracle" was taken. Oracle is the code name of Barbara Gordon, former Batgirl, who was crippled by Joker and is in a wheelchair.

The show's dialogue is written in such a way that Batman "probably does" exist in Gotham somewhere, but they can't say that. So whenever they can, the writers insert these kinds of remarks as a wink-and-nod to the fans, to let us know that the show does still exist within the broader DC universe.

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    There are non-dialogue references too. The first episode from The Flash includes a newspaper from the future where one of the front page stories is that Queen Consolidated and Wayne Enterprises are merging. Sep 28, 2016 at 16:53
  • There are references to Green Lantern as well. A bomber jacket with the name Jordan, a couple references to Ferris Air (and a missing test pilot).
    – Tin Wizard
    Sep 28, 2016 at 17:55
  • @Amadeus9 Legends of Tomorrow also has one episode where Rip has the names of Green Lantern villains as code words to activate commands on his spaceship. Sep 29, 2016 at 4:18
  • Batman isn't licensed elsewhere, WB just has an embargo on Batman on TV. This used to be the case with Superman too, before he showed up on Supergirl. Sep 29, 2016 at 13:42
  • Another indirect reference: in The Flash TV show, Barry Allen's phone in a parallel universe has buttons to call Bruce, Diana and Hal. So Batman most likely exists in a parallel universe.
    – Taladris
    Sep 29, 2016 at 15:11

Is it an in-arrowverse reference?


IGN Article 2014

...Arrow and Flash executive producer Andrew Kreisberg stressed that anything you see referencing Batman on the show is “a tease.”

Explained Kreisberg, “Obviously, they have the Batman movies and there’s [the series] Gotham. DC are amazing partners and Geoff Johns, who’s the chief creative officer [of DC] and one of the developers of Flash and done episodes of Arrow, he’s been with us from the very beginning on both shows. There are things we can do and things we can’t.”

Kreisberg noted, “I’m a huge fan of Nightwing,” and how exciting it was for him on Arrow “Getting to name check Blüdhaven and go there.” However, he said there are still restrictions in place even when it came to mentioning locations, adding, “There’s the cities that we can use and then there’s everything else. I don’t think you’re going to be hearing ‘Gotham’ or ‘Metropolis’ [on Arrow or The Flash] anytime soon.”

That said, since that article, there have been references to Wayne Tech in Flash (in a possible future).

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Plus Supergirl (with Metropolis and Superman) is now part of the Arrowverse but only (AFAIK), as a separate part of the multiverse* and does not exist in the same universe as Arrow/Flash/etc.

*These universes/multiverses are a tad confusing

So, the original stance is softening


Absolutely the script has a nod to Batman but the Arrowverse does not include explicit canon knowledge of the Bat-verse yet. Thus Oliver wouldn't know about Batman / Bruce Wayne yet.

As mentioned by @JasonBaker...

In fairness, this doesn't mean there isn't a Batman, just that they can't explicitly mention him on the show.

  • So, pretty much just Oliver being a wiseass?
    – X-ManHD
    Sep 28, 2016 at 15:17
  • Not exactly, I mean yes but it's more of a wink to the audience than that.
    – Paulie_D
    Sep 28, 2016 at 15:18
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    In fairness, this doesn't mean there isn't a Batman, just that they can't explicitly mention him on the show. Notably, there is an "Oracle" Sep 28, 2016 at 15:18
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    No, Overwatch is Felicity's codename. Oliver was going to use "Oracle", but (in his own words) "it was taken" Sep 28, 2016 at 15:29
  • I think this is the best overall answer. And since Flash - even the future newspaper headline - is the same canon as Arrow, that means that the Wayne family does or will exist in the Arrow-verse.
    – Omegacron
    Sep 28, 2016 at 17:25

It's a fourth break wall, and a wink to the audience. There are two main reasons why there's no explicit Batman in the Arrowverse.

1. Copyright stuff

You know, the basic stuff. Batman is not part of the contract, so he can't be shown or mentioned, nor can be any of the related characters/places. Very similar to the MCU movies not being able to even use the word mutant because the X-men currently belongs to Fox.

You know, all the great stuff Paulie_D's answer mentions :)

2. Arrow is already Batman

I mean... in the arrowverse, Arrow has been given a lot of Batman's plot lines (being chosen by Ras'Al'Gul, marrying his daughter, forming his "family" of vigilantes, getting (one of) his love interests paralyzed by a villain... actually that Overwatch/Oracle reference was oddly specific (the only difference being that Overwatch/Felicity was the tech-comm-Cisco-person already before the accident)

So... even if some day they could get the rights... there's not much they could do with him, since they've pretty much turned Arrow into Batman. Yeah, he doesn't have the alfred, or the cool bat motives or the Joker, but... they've given Oliver all the "batman stuff" they could so there wouldn't be much room for a redundant character.

Actually I wonder if in that hypothetical case, they'd give Batman some Green Arrow plot lines...

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    Green Arrow is a pretty common substitute for Batman even besides the Arrowverse. Smallville did the exact same thing for the exact same reason. I'm pretty sure DC just decided one day they needed a spare Batman.
    – KutuluMike
    Sep 28, 2016 at 16:27
  • @KutuluMike Excelent point, I didn't know that. I admit that, even though I'm a bit of a comic nerd, "Green Arrow" is not my area of expertise. :)
    – xDaizu
    Sep 28, 2016 at 16:31
  • No downvote, since the answer is technically accurate, but I disagree with the answer in general. There have been definite references to both Bludhaven AND WayneTech in the Arrow canon, so the possibility of there being a Batman in that universe is still a possibility. Given that Batman is generally considered an urban legend, there's no reason that Oliver would mention him by name, and no explicit reason we have to assume he doesn't exist. Also, Oliver mentioned at one point that the codename "Oracle" was taken.
    – Omegacron
    Sep 28, 2016 at 17:19
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    @Wildcard I'll try to dig it the story, since it's really old by now, but Smallville early on wanted to bring in Batman but WB was holding him off for a possible Batman TV show (which took a decade but became Gotham), so they swapped in the "other" billionaire playboy vigilante instead.
    – KutuluMike
    Sep 28, 2016 at 20:32
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    Honestly, I think the "billionaire playboy vigilante" category is really the only comparison between the two - no different than Tony Stark. It's just a comics trope in general. Personality-wise, the two characters are completely different, with a different theme, different outlook on crime & justice in general, and even a different M.O. altogether. Now, if we're referring only to the TV version from Arrow then I can see it. The comics versions, though, don't seem interchangeable to me at all.
    – Omegacron
    Sep 29, 2016 at 19:53

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