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The Arrowverse as we know it will end with The Flash next year

The Flash's final season will air in 2023, wrapping up the Arrowverse's decade-plus reign on The CW

Barry Allen, his Flash mask around his shoulder, looks intensely into the middle distance. Image: CW
Joshua Rivera (he/him) is an entertainment and culture journalist specializing in film, TV, and video game criticism, the latest stop in a decade-plus career as a critic.

The Fastest Man Alive will finally hit the brakes, as The Flash ends its long run on The CW with season 9 in 2023.

The CW announced that The Flash's upcoming season, scheduled to premiere on the network's midseason schedule (which typically begins in January) will be its last. The series, which was the first to spin off of the success of 2011's Arrow and officially turn it into an entire small-screen DC Universe (dubbed, naturally, The Arrowverse), is also the last show in that universe still standing.

Like a lot of comic book properties, The Arrowverse has become increasingly weighed down in knotty continuity and a general lack of direction, but perhaps there was even more writing on the wall: recent changes at The CW have shifted focus away from DC properties. Currently, the network only has three DC Comics shows, none of which exist in the Arrowverse proper: Stargirl, which takes place on a parallel Earth, Superman & Lois, which was recently established as apart from, although similar to, the Arrowverse, and the new non-Arrowverse show Gotham Knights.

Thus, The Flash's abbreviated 13-episode final season will also serve as a farewell to the Arrowverse, an unlikely TV experiment that in some ways — especially given the tremendous demands of 20-plus episode broadcast seasons — might ultimately be more logistically impressive than the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. After all, The Arrowverse already had a Multiverse Saga of its own — the MCU is just playing catch up.

Long live the Arrowverse. We await the reunion special in 10 years.

The Flash, along with many of the Arrowverse shows, is available to stream on Netflix.