"Lost Canary", the latest episode of Arrow season 7, proved what many fans have felt for years - that The CW should have created a Birds of Prey spinoff centered around the characters of Sara Lance and Felicity Smoak years ago. While a new series based around the all-women vigilante group from the comics had been discussed for several years, the idea was shelved along with several other proposed spinoffs after the Birds of Prey brand was set aside for cinematic development.
First published as a collection of miniseries before becoming a monthly comic book in 1999, Birds of Prey was originally focused on the partnership between second-generation superhero Black Canary and master hacker/detective Oracle. This dynamic duo would later expand into a full team made up of several female vigilantes, who tackled covert missions around the world. The comics inspired a television series in 2002, but apart from Dina Meyer's pitch-perfect portrayal of Oracle, the show had nothing to do with the original comics beyond the name and an all-female superhero team.
The subject of a Birds of Prey series was raised again recently by the plot of "Lost Canary" - a season 7 Arrow episode which saw the current Black Canary, Dinah Drake, Felicity Smoak, and Sara Lance team up to try and talk some sense into Black Siren after she returned to a life of crime. With multiple Canaries on one team along with a computer hacker like Felicity, it's easy to see how the entire episode was something of a tribute to Birds of Prey. However, it was the interactions between Caity Lotz as Sara Lance and Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak that truly tapped into the spirit of the original comics.
The Birds of Prey comics written by Gail Simone and her handling of Black Canary formed the basis of Sara Lance's personality and background when she was first introduced in Arrow season 2. Both women were trained by the League of Assassins and took their bird-themed codename from a nickname given to them by a sensei. For Black Canary, it was Siu Jerk Jai - "The Little Bird" in Japanese. For Sara Lance it was Ta-er al-Sahfer - "Yellow Bird" in Arabic. Both women also acted as guardians to a girl named Sin and were written as bisexual.
Felicity Smoak would also be developed into something of an Oracle analog as Arrow went on, fulfilling a similar role as Green Arrow's technical support before becoming his love interest. At one point there were plans for her to officially adopt the Oracle name and be paralyzed after being shot by one of the series' main villains, like Barbara Gordon in The Killing Joke. These plans were changed after DC Entertainment objected to anyone else using the Oracle name, and so, Felicity took up the codename Overwatch instead.
A brief scene in "Lost Canary" hinted at what might have been, as Felicity and Sara briefly caught up and discussed how things had changed since the days when they were the only two women on Team Arrow. Many fans felt this scene was the high-point of the episode, largely due to the chemistry between Lotz and Ricards, as well as the revelation that Felicity had enjoyed Sara's attempts at flirting with her in the past and was at least bi-curious, if not outright bisexual. This in itself was another clever nod to the Birds of Prey comics, which had hinted that Black Canary and Oracle were friends-with-benefits, if not quite in a devout relationship. While it's probably too late for such a show starring the two actresses to spin out of Arrow at this point, it's still heartening to see the relationship between the two women and the classic comics acknowledged one last time.