The Arrowverse’s confusing usage (and lack thereof) of Batman

After “Elseworlds, Part 2,” it’s clear that Batman exists in the Arrowverse. But don’t expect to see the Dark Knight alongside on The Flash or Arrow anytime soon.

Until this year’s “Elseworlds” crossover, Batman had been largely absent in the Arrowverse. Occasionally, Arrow and its successors would tease fans with Easter eggs and references which hinted at the presence of the Dark Knight.

But, in “Elseworlds, Part 2,” Oliver Queen, Barry Allen and Kara Danvers traveled to Gotham City. There, they met Bruce Wayne’s cousin, Kate Kate, who revealed that Batman does exist. The CW’s version of DC’s famous trinity also visited Arkham Asylum, where fans were given several more hints of Batman.

With the CW finally exploring Gotham City and including subtle name drops to criminals like Poison Ivy, the Riddler and the Penguin, many fans have been hoping that DC could allow the Arrowverse to use Batman himself someday.

However, once again, DC is seemingly maintaining its firm “no Batman” stance. At the very least, according to Tim Baysinger of The Wrap, we won’t see the Caped Crusader join Grant Gustin’s Flash or Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen anytime soon.

“Does that mean the Caped Crusader could eventually find his way to The CW? Not so fast.

‘That’s the one where they cut you off,’ says Caroline Dries, [co-writer of “Elseworlds: Part 2.]”

This in-between stance has, ironically, grown more frustrating after the most recent episode of Arrow made it abundantly clear that Batman is real in the Arrowverse and the heroes know about him.  In some ways, fans would be better off if DC had preserved a harsh exclusion of any mentions of the Dark Knight. By throwing viewers a bone and including these references, fans are left wanting more and, inevitably, they find themselves increasingly disappointed the longer Batman doesn’t make an appearance.

DC’s policy on using Batman in the Arrowverse is especially puzzling when you consider Superman’s presence in this line of shows. At first, Supergirl took a fairly similar approach; Kara would mention the Man of Steel fairly frequently but he never appeared on screen. Clark Kent finally debuted in the show’s second season, where he directly played a part in four episodes.

While the Last Son of Krypton has returned to the off-screen background in Supergirl, the show has shown that it’s not afraid to use him. To the delight of many fans, Superman has played a notable role in the “Elseworlds” crossover, which has made Batman’s absence even more frustrating.

The Dark Knight and the Man of Steel are both pop culture icons. They would seemingly be on the same level in DC’s consideration of characters they can use in TV shows. If one of them is on the table, why not the other? While Gotham complicates matters, it’s still fair to feel annoyed that the Arrowverse has done practically everything but give fans Batman live and in person. (If a future crossover introduces Alfred or Robin without including Batman, fans would justifiably be even more upset.)

Maybe it’s just a matter of being patient. Soon, Gotham will be starting its final season. Once that’s complete, DC might allow the Arrowverse to incorporate the Dark Knight more than ever before. But, in some ways, it feels like the clock is ticking. The longer the Arrowverse shows run, the greater the risk that they’ll drop off in quality.