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The future is not the one we know in Arrow’s backdoor pilot for a 2040 spinoff

By Trent Moore
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We knew the Crisis on Infinite Earths would have repercussions, and now we’re starting to see how the rewriting of the present has rippled all the way into the future. Welcome to 2040, y’all, for Arrow’s backdoor pilot for what could be our next favorite show next season.

Spoilers ahead for “Green Arrow & the Canaries,” the latest episode of The CW’s Arrow, which aired Tuesday, January 21, 2020.

The big crossover event sent Oliver’s future daughter Mia, along with a few others, back to the present to help out in saving the multiverse. But when the dust settled and Earth Prime was born from the ashes of Oliver’s sacrifice, those future kids went missing — and now we know where they ended up. Mia, William and Conor were sent back to their proper places in the timeline in 2040, though this future is a drastic change from the one we’ve gotten to know via flash forwards over the past couple seasons.

Like everyone else who wasn’t a paragon, Mia (nor anyone else) has any memories of the Crisis or the life they lived before Earth Prime was formed. For Mia and her circle, that makes for some drastic changes to the chessboard. When Oliver created Earth Prime, he clearly made a point to take care of Mia in the process. This Mia is a well-adjusted socialite in Future Star City, and she’s never been a vigilante. We also learn she grew up with her older brother William (where in the original timeline, they never met until they were adults). A familiar set is also back, as Oliver’s family home has been returned to working order and his now Mia’s residence.

Her friend group has also seen some shake-ups. Diggle’s future son JJ, who was originally the future Deathstroke, has been rewritten as an average Joe art dealer (who is dating Mia). Her former partner in superheroing and possible love interest Conor (JJ’s brother, who was raised by the Diggles) is now a bit of a loser. Rene’s future daughter Zoe, who was killed in the original timeline, is also now alive — resurrected in the reconfiguration of Earth Prime.

But, this being the Arrowverse, Mia’s cushy new life doesn’t last too long.

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In a fascinating twist, it seems Dinah was dropped in 2040 and erased from the timeline altogether in Earth Prime. So she opened up a piano bar and started to try and live her best lift, far removed from vigilantism. She’s recruited back into the fold by Laurel (who has apparently traveled from the present with the help of the Legends) to try and stop a murder that will cause the entire city to unravel a year in the future. So we’re not dealing with the older versions of Laurel and Dinah in the future here — these are the present day, Arrow era versions of them, just kicking around in 2040.

The kidnapping case involves Helena Bertinelli’s (aka Huntress) daughter, who is a friend of Mia’s, so Laurel uses a piece of tech that emulates Martian Manhunter’s “wake up” powers to give her back all her memories from the original, pre-Crisis timeline. So now she remembers both lives at once, where her fiancee is simultaneously a mild-mannered guy, and a stone cold killer. She remembers everything, and Laurel even brought the Green Arrow suit Oliver gave her back to her, though she’s hesitant to suit back up.

Though Mia is obviously still grappling with balancing these dual realities, she also admits she’s terrified of failing to live up to Oliver’s legendary status as the man who saved Star City, and the world. But she is a Queen, after all, and eventually suits up and helps save the day. Since this is a backdoor pilot, there’s plenty of mystery, twists, and cliffhangers baked in from the jump. Turns out some mysterious baddie was pulling the strings behind the kidnapping, with a tattoo that matches the same symbol on the rock passed down to William (you know, the one that brought them all back together in the first place when the flash forwards started). There’s also more to Laurel’s intel about the city falling apart a year in the future — for whatever reason, Mia is to blame. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, William is kidnapped at episode’s end while Mia is left tranquilized in front of Oliver’s memorial. Last but certainly not least, a mysterious player uses the “wake up” tech on JJ — reminding him of his former life as leader of the Deathstroke gang.

So yeah, there’s plenty of intrigue to go around if The CW decides to keep this one around. Should The CW pick it up? I’d hedge yes. It keeps fan favorites from Arrow around in new and exciting ways, and the pilot makes clear there’s plenty of interesting stories and paths to explore in the world of 2040. Here’s hoping we hear some good news on this one.

Next week: It’s the end.