It’s the end of an era in Vancouver film and television history.
After eight series comprising 41 seasons and more than a decade of filming and production in British Columbia, the CW’s Arrowverse has come to an end.
The superhero franchise based on several DC Comics characters, with intertwining storylines and crossover characters, ended with the airing of the final episode of The Flash at the end of May.
While it’s left some uncertainty among film and TV workers about what their next project will be — particularly amid a writers’ strike in the U.S. — industry advocates say the Arrowverse has displayed the strength of the sector in B.C. and the multitude of talent available here.
“We are a globally known, top-tier hub for film and television production from soup to nuts. So, everything from pre-production to post-production to visual effects and animation. The Arrowverse has been a big part of that story,” said Creative B.C. CEO Prem Gill.
Arrow, which first aired in 2012, gave its name to the made-in-B.C. Arrowverse franchise, which also included The Flash, Supergirl and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. (The Canadian Press)
Arrowverse shows filmed in the Vancouver area include Arrow, Batwoman, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash and Supergirl. Alongside Superman & Lois, which is not part of the Arrowverse, the CW has produced more than 680 episodes here in Vancouver.
Gill pointed out that while The Flash, the first series associated with the Arrowverse, began filming in B.C. in 2012, the CW and Warner Bros. Discovery have had an even longer presence in the region with hit shows like Supernatural and Smallville dating back to the 2000s.
She said many of those shows have had strong, global fanbases and have contributed to the growth and development of B.C.’s film and television sector, with thousands of workers getting the shows to air.
That’s also benefitted the local economy, said former Vancouver Films Studio CEO Jason McLean.
“Those shows created incredible amounts of spinoff benefits for the economy and long-term jobs,” he said.
As new productions look to take root, Gill said, they can look at B.C. as a stronghold of experienced talent. Not only has the region become a hub for filming and production, with significant studio growth, but it also provides visual effects and animation for projects filmed all over the world.
Convention-goers saunter by as Supergirl and The Flash jump off a mural during Comic-Con International 2016 in San Diego, Calif. (Bill Wechter/AFP/Getty Images)
However, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike has cast a dark cloud over the film and television industry, with the CW pulling the plug on 10 shows last year, some of which were filmed in B.C.
Gill said some production staff in B.C. are worried about where their next project is going to come from.
“There are probably less than 50 per cent of the volume of production that we had last year at this time in some phase of production,” Gill said. “… [We’re seeing] 10 to 15 shows at some level of production right now. Normally at this time of year, it would be anywhere from 30 to 40.
“So, obviously there is a slowdown, obviously people are concerned. They don’t know where they’re going to go next.”
The writers’ strike has also caused delays for some shows with ties to production here.
Hit HBO show The Last of Us was poised to begin production for its second season in and around Vancouver starting in early 2024, but has been put on hold due to the contract dispute.
Normally, Gill said, workers would have at least an idea of which projects they’d be signed on to next. She said the slowdown also has knock-on effects on local businesses, from dry cleaners to hotels.
But she also highlighted several Canadian productions coming up that aren’t affected by the strike, including the recently announced CBC drama Allegiance that will be shooting in B.C.
Meanwhile, Superman & Lois will resume filming in B.C. later this year.
CBC News has contacted CW for comment and more information about the number of people employed in producing the Arrowverse series.
After eight series comprising 41 seasons and more than a decade of filming and production in B.C., the Arrowverse has come to an end. Read More