Arrow may have only had a Green Arrow or two, but when it came to bringing Black Canary to the Arrowverse, The CW series took a very different approach. Throughout Arrow’s run, the creators took an unusual approach to adapting one of Oliver Queen’s closest allies from the existing source material. While Dinah Laurel Lance and Oliver are partners and a married couple (depending on the DC continuity), the Arrowverse drama didn’t end with them together. While that didn’t stop Black Canary from being part of the Emerald Archer’s crusade, the way that Arrow incorporated Black Canary wasn’t what most Green Arrow fans were expecting.
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While the comics had at least two versions of the character, with Dinah’s mother Dinah Drake being the Golden Age Black Canary, the Arrowverse didn’t stick to that mythology. Despite Alex Kingston appearing in the early seasons as Laurel’s mother, she never had a past of being a vigilante and instead, the Black Canary mantle became a legacy title of sorts. Whether or not it was always planned may never be answered given what happened to Katie Cassidy’s character in Arrow season 4. Instead, for the show’s remaining seasons all the way to Arrow season 8, multiple characters have carried the heroic name.
Since Arrow came to its end, it remains to be seen if Black Canary will ever be seen again. Despite putting Green Arrow and the Canaries into development with a backdoor pilot that aired in January, The CW hasn’t given any update on the project for months. With the new TV season under the swing, it’s very likely that the Arrowverse spinoff has been scrapped. It’s always possible the network may redevelop it for the next pilot cycle, making it part of the 2021-2022 TV season. This is every character who has been the Black Canary in the Arrowverse throughout Arrow’s 8-year run.
Sara Lance (The Canary)
While technically not named Black Canary, Laurel’s little sister Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) helped kickstart the Canary legacy. Sara’s journey began the day she went on the Queen Gambit with Oliver behind Laurel’s back. But when the yacht was wrecked, Sara almost drowned but was later taken by Dr. Ivo’s crew on the Amazo where she was forced to work with him. After the war with Deathstroke, Sara made it back to Lian Yu after the ship sunk and was at some point discovered by Nyssa al Ghul who took care of her while also making her a member of the League of Assassins.
During her 5-year training, they got into a romantic relationship and Sara became known to Ta-er al-Sahfer which means “The Canary” in Arabic. Despite not being a metahuman, Sara had a Canary Cry in a technological form which she revealed when she first returned to Star City. After hearing rumors about a vigilante archer protecting her city, Sara knew it was Oliver and thus returned home to keep an eye on him and her sister Laurel. Despite starting as The Canary, after Sara was resurrected in Arrow season 4, it became a launching pad for her to become White Canary as she became a lead on Legends of Tomorrow where she operates as the Waverider’s captain.
Earth-1 Dinah Laurel Lance (Black Canary)
Arrow season 3 started with a massive surprise as Sara was killed off by Thea Queen/Speedy who had been drugged by Malcolm Merlyn. Laurel witnesses Sara’s death and this tragedy is what begins her journey to follow her sister’s footsteps but in her own way. Throughout the third season, Laurel begins training with Ted Grant a.k.a. Wildcat prior to going out on the streets to fight criminals. Desperate to try and honor her sister’s memory, Laurel eventually realizes that she has to it her own way and thus the Black Canary was born. Similarly to Sara, Laurel didn’t have a sonic scream as a metahuman power. Instead, Laurel gets The Flash’s Cisco Ramon to modify Sara’s sonic weapon into a collar that she wore whenever she was out on the field.
However, Laurel’s Black Canary journey only lasted for barely two seasons before her controversial death in Arrow season 4. In the episode “Eleven Fifty-Nine”, Laurel is killed by Damien Darhk as a result of him wanting to punish her father Quentin Lance. Despite being taken to the hospital in time, Laurel passes away by the end of the episode, which was a huge loss for Team Arrow. But during her final conversation with Oliver, Laurel makes a request that has become a key factor in the Black Canary legacy in the Arrowverse. Laurel makes Oliver promise her that the Black Canary linage won’t stop with her as she wants him to find someone else to pick up where she left off.
Dinah Drake (Black Canary II)
The next woman to carry the mantle became, interesting enough, Dinah Drake. While Dinah is usually depicted as Laurel’s mother in the comics, the Arrowverse did a very different take on her. Even Kingston admitted at a convention that the character she played was Dinah Drake before Juliana Harkavy was cast. But in the Arrowverse version, Dinah is introduced in the fifth season when Team Arrow narrows down their Canary search to her. Unlike her predecessors, Dinah actually had the metahuman sonic scream that she gained as a result of the particle accelerator explosion in Central City. After the trauma she went through, Oliver gives her a second chance at life by inviting her to join the team.
Despite being hesitant to take on Laurel’s legacy, Dinah eventually embraced the title and made it her mission to honor Laurel’s memory. With her experience as a police detective, Dinah was a formidable fighter and quickly became one of the most powerful heroes in the Arrowverse. Her Arrow ending came with quite the twist as she, for unknown reasons, ended up in 2040 the day after Oliver’s funeral. In the backdoor pilot for Green Arrow and the Canaries, Dinah explains that she was mysteriously erased from Earth-Prime’s timeline after Crisis on Infinite Earths, but together with the other heroines, Dinah picks up the Black Canary mantle again to help protect Star City in the future.
Earth-2 Dinah Laurel Lance (Black Canary III)
While Cassidy’s character was killed off in Arrow season 4, her time in the Arrowverse wasn’t over as The Flash introduced the Earth-2 version of Dinah Laurel Lance, but with an evil twist. Known as the Black Siren, this Laurel had gone down a dark path after she gained her metahuman sonic scream thanks to Harry Wells’ particle accelerator. When she first comes to Earth-1, Laurel is working for Zoom but is eventually stopped by Team Flash. In comparison to her Earth-1 doppelganger, this Laurel was a more experienced fighter, thus a more dangerous version of the fallen Team Arrow member. Once she came on Arrow, it was the beginning of her redemption arc that took roughly 3 seasons to complete.
By the seventh season, Laurel managed to escape her inner darkness and became a hero at last. Despite having posed as her Earth-1 doppelganger, Earth-2 Laurel gets her old costume and returns to her own Earth temporarily to become that world’s Black Canary. In Arrow season 8, Laurel ends up being one of Earth-2’s few survivors after her world gets destroyed. In the Post-Crisis world, the Earth-2 version of Laurel still lived while her Earth-1 counterpart stayed dead. After Oliver’s funeral, Laurel travels to 2040 and restores Mia Queen’s Pre-Crisis memories, and forms an alliance with her and Dinah. It’s up to The CW now if that story ever gets a continuation in the Arrowverse as the spinoff’s fate still remains uncertain.
Zoe Ramirez (A Future Black Canary)
The Black Canary journey may mainly be about Laurel and Dinah, but in the Pre-Crisis version of Star City 2040, it had gone to a higher level. In the flashforward storyline that was part of Arrow season 7, it’s revealed that the mantle was now known as the Canary Network, which Dinah created. Instead of one Black Canary, there were now several of them. The group consisted of multiple young women who had been affected by Star City’s fall that Dinah ended up taking care of and trained into vigilantes. While there were many of them, there was one character in particular that Arrow viewers recognized, at least the Earth-1 version.
Having first seen her as a teenager, the future version of Zoe Ramirez, Wild Dog’s daughter, was now a Black Canary in 2040. She even eventually became the leader for Canary Network while still working together with Dinah and the other members. Similarly to the early Canaries, Zoe used a sonic device as part of her crime-fighting while still also being a very skilled fighter. Before the Anti-Monitor destroyed Earth-1, Zoe was murdered by the new Deathstroke, John Diggle Jr. In Earth-Prime’s future timeline, Zoe had never been a Black Canary nor did the Canary Network ever exist as part of Arrowverse’s rebooted continuity.
NEXT: Arrow (Poorly) Explains Why Earth-1 Black Canary Didn’t Return After Crisis
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