What is the viewing order for CW's DC shared universe?
As I understand it the following shows all take place in the same shared universe:
- Legends of Tomorrow
- Supergirl (confirmed)
- The Flash (1990)
- Freedom Fighters: The Ray
And any others that arrive.
In what order should these shows be viewed? How do they fit together chronologically?
@phantom42 I still don't fully understand this site's dupe policy, but I don't think that they classify as dupes if they don't fully address this question.
I would vote to close them. This is the kind of thing I DON't think we should be engaged it. The viewing order of a series particularly ones where their continuity was never DESIGNED to be integrated is not a useful expenditure of anyone's energy. The shows don't include timestamps, datestamps or any form of relationship matrix, so if one is created it is OPINION-BASED at best because the shows were not created NOR written to be integrated in this fashion. They are NOT comics whose existence and integration are considered beforehand particularly due to their event-driven nature.
However, I have left it open to let others have some say in whether we should be answering this opinion-based, list-oriented question. (See what I did there?)
@ThaddeusHowze arrow, flash, and legends of tomorrow at least are intended to coincide together, as the 3 shows share cross over episodes that would make little sense watching out of order. however asking this question every few weeks when a new cross over happens is getting boring/excessive
I understand the shows share a common continuity since both Flash and Legends of Tomorrow were spun off of Arrow. But is there so much interconnectedness between the three shows there needs to be a continuity bible to ensure some maximum level of enjoyment due to timeline continuity? Honestly? I watch all three and don't see any particular need to reorder them mentally to enjoy them IN ANY WAY.
given that there are specifically timed crossovers between at least two of the shows, i see some value in a suggested order. vixen and LoT remain to be seen how much they integrate, and i haven't heard of any more cross with constantine. still, i'd rather see the flash/arrow answer improved and use that as the original since it's already so far along.
The other question (and all of it's answers) neither address nor attempt to address anything but Arrow and Flash. I can see closing *that* one as a dupe, but this one is far more inclusive *and* more up to date.
You only have to have a viewing order when there is a multi-part episode that spans a show.
There are multi-part crossovers that span multiple shows that won't make complete sense if you watch one but not the other:
Flash vs. Arrow/The Brave and the Bold
- Part 1: The Flash Episode 1x08 "Flash vs. Arrow"
- Part 2: Arrow Episode 3x08 "The Brave and the Bold"
Legends of Today/Legends of Yesterday
- Part 1: The Flash Episode 2x08 "Legends of Today"
- Part 2: Arrow Episode 4x08 "Legends of Yesterday"
"Heroes vs. Aliens"
- Optional Prologue: Supergirl Episode 2x08 "Medusa"
- This was advertised as part of the crossover event, but Cisco's attempts to create a dimensional breach to Supergirl's Earth is a C-plot that is repeated in The Flash episode.
- Part 1: The Flash Episode 3x08 "Invasion!"
- Part 2: Arrow Episode 5x08 "Invasion!"
- Part 3: DC's Legends of Tomorrow Episode 2x07 "Invasion!"
- Part 1: Supergirl Episode 2x16 "Star-Crossed"
- Part 2: The Flash Episode 3x17 "Duet"
"Crisis on Earth-X"
- Part 1: Supergirl Episode 3x08 "Crisis on Earth-X, Part 1"
- Part 2: Arrow Episode 6x08 "Crisis on Earth-X, Part 2"
- Part 3: The Flash Episode 4x08 "Crisis on Earth-X, Part 3"
- Part 4: DC's Legends of Tomorrow Episode 3x08 "Crisis on Earth-X, Part 4"
Keeping in Sync with Seasons of the Major Shows Helps
It's common for the status quo of characters on one show to have an effect on another show. For that reason, it's highly recommended that you don't start a new season of a show until you are up to date on all other seasons for the shows up to that point.
For instance, Ray Palmer is introduced as a recurring character in Arrow Season 3 and is traveling through time in Legends of Tomorrow Season 1, taking place concurrently with Arrow Season 4.
Ray Palmer guest stars in The Flash Season 1, Episode 18. If you watch that before the character is introduced in Arrow Season 3, you won't know who Ray Palmer is. If you watch it during or after Legends of Tomorrow Season 1, you'll wonder why he is taking a break from time travel to help The Flash.
Here are the seasons of each show that were running concurrently:
- Arrow Season 1
- Arrow Season 2
- Arrow Season 3
- The Flash Season 1
- (Optional) Constantine CW Site Season 1
- (Optional) Vixen Cartoon Season 1
- Arrow Season 4
- The Flash Season 2
- Legends of Tomorrow Season 1
- Aired partially during the off-season of Arrow and The Flash
- Takes place after Arrow 4x08 and The Flash 2x08
- Supergirl Season 1
- Vixen Cartoon Season 2
- Although aired in late 2016, it takes place before Legends of Tomorrow begins. Really, you can just watch it at this point or later.
- Arrow Season 5
- The Flash Season 3
- Legends of Tomorrow Season 2
- Supergirl Season 2
- Arrow Season 6
- The Flash Season 4
- Legends of Tomorrow Season 3
- Supergirl Season 3
- Black Lightning Season 1
- Freedom Fighters: The Ray Cartoon Season 1
- Arrow Season 7
- The Flash Season 5
- Legends of Tomorrow Season 4
- Supergirl Season 4
- Black Lightning Season 2
More detailed explanation
The shared universe between these shows is called the "Arrowverse" because Arrow was the first show in the series. Therefore, it's the proper place to start. All the series were released in chronological order (no prequel series).
While there are a lot of references between the two series, only a few of them are important crossovers. Fortunately, this means that you don't have to watch the shows in lock-step with when they originally aired. You can usually watch about half a season of one show before you reach a point that assumes you are caught up with another show.
The only major crossover points are as follows:
- Flash Episode 1x08 and Arrow Episode 3x08 are two parters
- Flash Episode 1x17 and 1x18 have many characters from Arrow in it
- Arrow 4x05 includes Constantine
- Flash Episode 4x08 and Arrow episode 4x08 are two parters, and start Legends of Tomorrow
- Arrow 4x15 includes Vixen
- Supergirl 1x18 includes Flash
Usually these crossovers reflect whatever the current state of the status quo on the other show is (e.g. how the Arrow is viewed by the police, how developed Barry's powers are, who the supporting cast is), so it's good to get caught up before watching them.
For a more thorough explanation of the crossover events, see Mike Edenfield's answer for In what order should I watch Flash and Arrow TV Shows?.
Here is a more exhaustive viewing order that highlights these main crossover points, accurate as of January 2016 (feel free to edit this if it is out of date):
Before The Flash
- Arrow Season 1
- No crossovers with other shows
- Arrow Season 2
- Includes a backdoor pilot to The Flash
Before the Arrow Season 3, Episode 8 and The Flash Season 1, Episode 8
- Arrow Season 3, Episodes 1-7
- Further develops supporting characters
- The Flash Season 1, Episodes 1-7
- Introduces Barry Allen as the Flash and meta-humans
The Flash's episode is first in the two-parter
Before Flash Episode 17 and 18
- Arrow Season 3, Episodes 8-16
- Further develops supporting characters that appear in this episode
- The Flash Season 1, Episodes 8-16
Before Arrow Season 4 and The Flash Season 2
- Arrow Season 3, Episodes 17-23
- Status quo change in next season, occasionally referenced in The Flash
- The Flash Season 1, Episodes 19-23
- Status quo change in next season, occasionally referenced in Arrow
Before Arrow Season 4, Episode 5
- Arrow Season 4, Episodes 1-4
- Introduces new villain who is the reason for Constantine to join
- Develops the character, has no crossovers with the other shows
Before Legends of Tomorrow
- Arrow Season 4, Episodes 5-7
- Explores supporting characters who appear in Legends of Tomorrow
- The Flash Season 2, Episodes 1-7
- Explores supporting characters who appear in Legends of Tomorrow
- The Flash Season 2, Episode 8
- Part 1 of 2 kicking off Legends of Tomorrow
- Arrow Season 4, Episode 8
- Part 2 of 2 kicking off Legends of Tomorrow
Before Arrow Season 4 Episode 15
- Arrow Season 4, Episodes 9-14
- Vixen Season 1
- Introduces the character
Before Supergirl Season 1 Episode 18
- The Flash Season 2, Episode 17*
If anyone has any suggestions for this viewing order, I will be happy to hear it.
* Note that in the original broadcast, Supergirl 1x18 was aired before The Flash 2x17.
Nice answer, +1. Anyways there is also a detailed question about vixen too.
Are you able to update this to include the recent minor-crossovers and the Flash show from the 90's.
@ibid I haven't caught up on the latest episodes, and it will take a little while before I am caught up. If you want to edit my answer in the mean time, feel free.
@Thunderforge - Much better, though it's still missing the King Shark crossover on Flash and the Bug-Eyed Bandit crossover on Arrow.
@ibid Yeah, I probably should add those. However, those definitely seem like less important crossovers than the other ones. I'll have more time later today to make those changes.
@Thunderforge - No less important than last season's minor crossovers. Also, try putting some small mention of *The Flash (1990)*.
Please update this list it has been a huge help in enjoying Arrowverse
If you fully update this answer (more than just the major event crossovers) I'll through in a 250 point bounty.
@ibid Thanks for the offer! What does "fully updating" aside from the major event crossovers mean to you? Some crossovers aren't really that important despite some fan timelines (like the other answer) placing them at an exact moment (for instance, it doesn't really matter where you are in the second half of Season 4 Arrow when Diggle and Lyla show up in Season 2 Flash). I just want to make sure I understand what level you are looking for.
@Thunderforge - Mainly when "the status quo of characters on one show to have an effect on another show". As in, not an episode-to-episode line-up, but information about where you should be up to before each minor crossover. (in that example you should have at least seen the last episode where Lyla or Diggle had a relevant status quo change.) I'm looking for some information about all the crossovers, not *just* the big 'Episode Eight's of each season.
@ibid I've added the major crossovers so far, but will take some more time in the next few days to update the reset.
On this page: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls074499769, someone compiled an extended view order, including Arrow, Flash, Vixen, Constantine, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow.
I hope this is what you're looking for:
Arrow Seasons 1 & 2
- Arrow Season 1 (1 - 23)
- Arrow Season 2 (1 - 23)
Arrow Season 3 / The Flash Season 1 / Vixen Web Series
- The Flash 1×01: Pilot
- Arrow 3×01: The Calm
- Arrow 3×02: Sara
- The Flash 1×02: Fastest Man Alive
- The Flash 1×03: Things You Can’t Outrun
- Arrow 3×03: Corto Maltese
- The Flash 1×04: Going Rogue
- Arrow 3×04: The Magician
- Arrow 3×05: The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak
- The Flash 1×05: Plastique
- Arrow 3×06: Guilty
- The Flash 1×06: The Flash Is Born
- Arrow 3×07: Draw Back Your Bow
- The Flash 1×07: Power Outage
- The Flash 1×08: Flash vs. Arrow
- Arrow 3×08: The Brave and the Bold
- The Flash 1×09: The Man in the Yellow Suit
- Arrow 3×09: The Climb
- The Flash 1×10: Revenge of the Rogues
- Arrow 3×10: Left Behind
- The Flash 1×11: The Sound and the Fury
- Arrow 3×11: Midnight City
- The Flash 1×12: Crazy for You
- Arrow 3×12: Uprising
- The Flash 1×13: The Nuclear Man
- The Flash 1×14: Fallout
- Arrow 3×13: Canaries
- Arrow 3×14: The Return
- Vixen Season 1 (1-6)
- Arrow 3×15: Nanda Parbat
- Arrow 3×16: The Offer
- The Flash 1×15: Out of Time
- The Flash 1×16: Rogue Time
- The Flash 1×17: Tricksters
- Arrow 3×17: Suicidal Tendencies
- The Flash 1×18: All Star Team Up
- Arrow 3×18: Public Enemy
- Arrow 3×19: Broken Arrow
- Arrow 3×20: The Fallen
- The Flash 1×19: Who Is Harrison Wells?
- The Flash 1×20: The Trap
- The Flash 1×21: Grodd Lives
- Arrow 3×21: Al Sah-him
- Arrow 3×22: This Is Your Sword
- The Flash 1×22: Rogue Air
- Arrow 3×23: My Name Is Oliver Queen
- The Flash 1×23: Fast Enough
Constantine Season 1
- Constantine Season 1 (1 - 13)
Arrow Season 4 / The Flash Season 2 / Legends of Tomorrow Season 1 / Supergirl Season 1
- Arrow 4×01: Green Arrow
- The Flash 2×01: The Man Who Saved Central City
- The Flash 2×02: Flash of Two Worlds
- Arrow 4×02: The Candidate
- The Flash 2×03: Family of Rogues
- Arrow 4×03: Restoration
- Arrow 4×04: Beyond Redemption
- The Flash 2×04: The Fury of Firestorm
- The Flash 2×05: The Darkness and the Light
- Arrow 4×05: Haunted
- Arrow 4×06: Lost Souls
- The Flash 2×06: Enter Zoom
- Arrow 4×07: Brotherhood
- The Flash 2×07: Gorilla Warfare
- The Flash 2×08: Legends of Today
- Arrow 4×08: Legends of Yesterday
- Arrow 4×09: Dark Waters
- Arrow 4×10: Blood Debts
- The Flash 2×09: Running to Stand Still
- The Flash 2×10: Potential Energy
- Legends of Tomorrow 1x01: Pilot, Part 1
- Legends of Tomorrow 1x02: Pilot, Part 2
- Legends of Tomorrow 1x03: Blood Ties
- The Flash 2×11: The Reverse-Flash Returns
- Arrow 4×11: A.W.O.L
- The Flash 2x12: Fast Lane
- Arrow 4×12: Unchained
- Arrow 4×13: Sins of the Father
- The Flash 2x13: Welcome to Earth-2
- The Flash 2x14: Escape from Earth-2
- The Flash 2x15: King Shark
- Supergirl 1x1: Pilot
- Supergirl 1x2: Stronger Together
- Supergirl 1x3: Fight or Flight
- Supergirl 1x5: How Does She Do It?
- Supergirl 1x4: Livewire
- Supergirl 1x6: Redfaced
- Supergirl 1x7: Human for a Day
- Supergirl 1x8: Hostile Takeover
- Supergirl 1x9: Blood Bonds
- Supergirl 1x10: Childish Things
- Supergirl 1x11: Strange Visitor from Another Planet
- Supergirl 1x12: Bizarro
- Supergirl 1x13: For the Girl Who Has Everything
- Supergirl 1x14: Truth, Justice and the American Way
- Supergirl 1x15: Solitude
- Supergirl 1x16: Falling
- Supergirl 1x17: Manhunter
- Legends of Tomorrow 1x04: White Knights
- Legends of Tomorrow 1x05: Fail-Safe
- Legends of Tomorrow 1x06: Star City 2046
- Arrow 4×14: Code of Silence
- Arrow 4×15: Taken
- Legends of Tomorrow 1x07: Marooned
- Legends of Tomorrow 1x08: Night of the Hawk
In my opinion, its more fun to watch all the shows. I have not watched Constantine and Vixen, but I'm considering doing so. I am not sure Flash (1990) is related.
As was stated by another person, watching all shows helps you better understand what's happening with all the characters; however, as one of my professors told me, you don't HAVE to do anything. I advocate for at least watching the 3 mains. I watch the 4, as stated above. I like Arrow and the Flash. Also, I ship Oliver and Barry as besties. :) They need to make more Arrow/The Flash crossovers in my opinion.
Legends, is ok. I can understand not wanting to watch it. But is more fun compared to Arrow's darkness and Barry kind of starting to channel Oliver in The Flash season 2 and, admittedly more so the new Oliver, again now in season 3. Its Doctor Who in the DC verse. Fun facts: the Rip Hunter comics predate Doctor Who, and Rip Hunter is played by the same actor who played Rory.
Supergirl is, at times, very much a liberal setpiece. That is not always bad. As a female who likes superheroes, I very much like how they are trying to get rid of the fact that most female superheroes were written by men who were exercising some fantasy when making their costumes. Also, the fact that most female superheroes seemed to be made as a counter to a male superhero. It goes a little too far in the left-ward direction sometimes, but mostly, it goes just enough to make me happy. Also, it is one of the few recent shows I have seen with a female lead where they got rid of the love-triangle angle. That alone makes it awesome to me. The crossover episode with the Flash in Supergirl 1x18 was super adorable. And sure, it was kind of played off that Barry was used to make James jealous, but it could also be seen as someone who had been doing this a little longer offering advice, and also gave Barry and Kara a chance to play around with their powers.
If you decide to watch the 4, looking at the release orders is the best indicator. The timeline doesn't always seem to match up, but enough so you can keep up.
Here’s both a simplified watching order and a detailed timeline which breaks up episodes based on flashbacks/time travel/etc.
The 1990 Flash TV Series isn’t technically part of the same universe as the Arrowverse, but it’s been heavily implied it occurs in an alternate universe, so far numerous versions of Earth have been shown on Flash, Earth-1 being the main universe Arrow, Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Vixen and Constantine occur on, Earth-2, Earth-3 and a few others being alternate Earths shown on Flash, and Earth-38 is the universe Supergirl occurs in. Earth-X (presumably Earth-10) was also introduced in the recent Crisis on Earth-X crossover.
Presumably the 1990 Flash TV series occurs on an alternate Earth (just no official designation yet). There have been numerous callbacks and connections between the 1990 and 2014 Flash shows, from John Wesley Shipp playing Flash in the 1990 show and Flash’s father in the 2014 show; the actors who played Tina McGee and Julio from the 1990 series both reprised those same roles in the 2014 series (presumably just the Earth-1 versions of those characters), as well as Mark Hamill’s Trickster appearing in both versions of the show and his sidekick Prank recently reprising her role from the 1990 series.
Plus, in the 2014 show, when traveling through the Speed Force, Barry saw a glimpse of the 1990 show’s Flash, cementing fact it does indeed take place within the same multiverse.
It’s not essential viewing for the Arrowverse, but it does provide some interesting connections.
While interesting, you answer should _focus_ on the viewing order more than just providing a link. You should provide the information in the link here with the link as a citation (because links die and then your answer is meaningless). Secondly, while interesting the connections between the two don't really answer the question at hand.