Arrow did a disservice to Black Canary by killing her in season 4.
Wally West’s portrayal in The Flash TV show was miniscule compared to his significance in the comics as the main version of The Flash for 23 years.
Across the DC Universe, several movies and TV shows have failed certain DC characters by relegating important heroes and villains to much smaller roles than they have in DC Comics. Most movies in the DCEU have been plagued by the universe’s overall issues, and that has led to some of its movies not treating iconic DC characters with the care they deserve. While the DCEU has contributed to the negative trend where some DC heroes and villains are less important in live-action than they were in the comics, that issue is not at all reserved only for the shared DC movie universe.
DC’s shared TV universe — the Arrowverse — is also at fault for not handling some important characters from the comics well enough. Also contributing to the negative trend are other DC movies set outside the DCEU. Thankfully, the direction James Gunn is going with the upcoming DC movies and series in the new DC Universe — with Gunn affirming that the new DCU will be more in line with the comics than the DCEU — points toward this negative trend being left in the past. While that doesn’t happen, here are 10 DC movie and TV show characters that were more important in the comics than in the projects they appeared in.
10 Joker From Suicide Squad
Jared Leto’s Joker has become infamous for the edgy design director David Ayer went with for the Clown Prince of Crime. While that certainly merits a discussion, Leto’s Joker had his role heavily reduced in 2016’s Suicide Squad, thanks to cuts made by the studio, which contributed to one of DC’s most iconic villains not mattering all that much to the film. After the character’s edgy design, Leto’s less-than-enthralling performance, and the studio taking away most of the Batman villain’s scenes, the Joker was completely absent from 2021’s The Suicide Squad, with Leto never playing him again in a theatrical DCEU film.
9 Black Canary From Arrow
There were multiple versions of Black Canary on Arrow over the years, but no one was done as dirty as the comics’ true Black Canary, Laurel Lance. Katie Cassidy’s DC hero was shockingly killed off during Arrow season 4, with Damien Darhk stabbing her. In the comics, Black Canary is one of the most important DC heroes, being a fixture of multiple beloved DC teams — the Justice League and the Birds of Prey among them — and having an intense relationship with Green Arrow. Sadly, the show killed Laurel and decided to replace her later with an evil version of herself — Black Siren — who then became a hero.
8 Wally West From The Flash
Following Barry Allen’s death in the comics’ Crisis on Infinite Earths event, Wally West was the main version of The Flash in DC Comics for 23 years. While there are two versions of the speedster in DC Comics — with the rebooted Wallace West being retconned into another character that shares the original Wally’s name — The Flash only had Keiynan Lonsdale’s Wally, and he was still given very little to do. Lonsdale’s Wally West left The Flash after season 4, and despite coming back for a few appearances in future seasons, the hero was never as important as he is in the comics.
7 Bane From Batman & Robin
1997’s Batman & Robin did Bane dirty. DC entries such as Tom King’s — the DC Comics writer who is part of James Gunn’s writers’ room for the DC Universe’s overall story — Batman comic book run and Christopher Nolan’s final Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, have since helped correct Bane’s public image, showing that the villain is one of Bruce Wayne’s toughest foes. Bane can go up against Batman both physically and intellectually, which makes Batman & Robin deciding to make the character nothing more than dumb muscle for Poison Ivy quite frustrating.
6 Jimmy Olsen From Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Jimmy Olsen was nothing but a cameo in director Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. As Superman’s best friend, Jimmy should have had more than a cameo in the DCEU, and making matters worse, the character’s brief role in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice featured a completely different version of Olsen. Instead of the bubbly Daily Planet photographer, Snyder’s second DCEU movie featured the character as an undercover CIA agent. Following the DCEU’s poor version of the character, Gunn’s Superman: Legacy should include Jimmy Olsen in all his comic book glory.
5 Lois Lane From The DCEU
Amy Adams’ casting as Lois Lane seemed like a major win for the DCEU; however, the actress’ version of the iconic DC character was never as exciting as Lois is in the comics. Adams’ Lois was never given the time to shine like other live-action versions of the character, such as Erica Durance in Smallville and Elizabeth Tulloch in Superman and Lois. The DCEU version of Lois Lane had very little to do, both opposite Henry Cavill’s Clark Kent and alone. Adams’ performance as Lois was also mostly bland, lacking the energy and wit the character is known for.
4 Commissioner Gordon From Justice League
J.K. Simmons’ Jim Gordon only appeared in 2017’s Justice League — and Max’s Zack Snyder’s Justice League — giving the actor not enough time to dig into what the relationship between his Gordon and Ben Affleck’s Batman looked like. Gordon was one of the DC characters that suffered from the studio’s lack of a plan for the DCEU. After behind-the-scenes and personal issues led to Affleck’s Batman solo film getting canned, Simmons was finally set to play a major role as Gordon in Batgirl. However, after Warner Bros. Discovery canceled DC’s Batgirl, Simmons’ Gordon ended up never playing a meaningful role in the DCEU.
3 Mr. Terrific From Arrow
Arrow‘s take on Mr. Terrific was only similar to the Michael Holt from the comics in relation to his look and being a tech genius. Everything else, from fighting skills to personality, was a far cry from how Mr. Terrific is known to be. To top it off, Echo Kellum’s Curtis Holt was never as important as Mr. Terrific is in the comics. While Michael Holt has led the Justice Society of America, Checkmate, and The Terrifics in the comics — the latter being one of the likely teams for the new DC Universe — Curtis never led a team in the Arrowverse, having served as a supporting character.
2 KGBeast From Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
While KGBeast’s most important comic book feat — shooting Nightwing in the head and making Dick Grayson forget who he was — came after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was released, Snyder could have used the character better. KGBeast has several cybernetic enhancements in the comics, which, coupled with his strength, agility, and expertise with pretty much every weapon known to man, make him a tough foe for Batman. Even though Snyder decided not to use KGBeast in his full comic book glory, the director could have followed Arrow‘s footsteps and delivered an Anatoly Knyazev that mattered despite not having cybernetic enhancements instead of a random thug.
1 Maxwell Lord From Wonder Woman 1984
Despite serving as Wonder Woman 1984‘s main villain, Pedro Pascal’s Maxwell Lord had a bigger role in the comics, essentially changing how Wonder Woman was seen. In the comics, Diana Prince choosing to kill Lord to stop the villain led to her going on trial for murder. Another way Lord was more important in the comics is that he took control of the spy organization Checkmate, while in Wonder Woman 1984, he was nothing more than a phony TV personality who would have been unlikely to pose further danger for Diana after the film, adding to the characters in the wide DC Universe that were more important in the comics.
Key Release Dates
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom
Joker: Folie a Deux
The Batman – Part II
Some DCEU characters were sidelined. Read More