Given the unexpected twists being played out in season 3 of Arrow, and the building momentum towards The Flash's first season finale, The CW's optimism in their DC Comics properties is understandable. They're so optimistic, not only is the team behind both existing shows crafting a spinoff series, but are doing so in almost total secrecy - and now, we may have an idea why.
According to new details offered by Victor Garber (The Flash's 'Professor Martin Stein'), the series will begin production this August for a 2016 premiere. We say series, not pilot because according to the actor, The CW has already seen enough to give a full series the green light.
That in itself isn't shocking: not only did The Flash prove a strong enough project under Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg to merit its own series, despite early plans for a backdoor pilot, but the addition of established characters (The Atom, Black Canary, Firestorm) can't hurt either.
Even so, the producers and network have been notably silent in the weeks leading up to The CW's media upfronts on May 14, hinting that an official reveal and presentation could be in the works. In an interview with BroadwayWorld, Victor Garber was asked about his involvement in the series, confirming he'll reprise his role, and offering previously unknown specifics:
"They are going to unveil more details about it soon - I believe they are going to do something for it in May at the upfronts... it's a spin-off from THE FLASH, which I have been working on for a few [episodes]. To be honest, it is very wild for me that at this point of my life I am now in that world - I am now a half-superhero!
"The character I play is half of Firestorm, so conjoined - together - they are Firestorm. It's been very wild and fun for me to do it... I think it's going to be a very fun ride. I really honestly can't tell you much about it except it is completely new and it will involve a lot of interesting people. We haven't filmed any of it yet - but, it is going straight to series. We start filming in August and it will be on [The CW] in January."
Exactly what the "something" is that the network has planned for the project's grand unveiling will whet fan appetites, but aside from a possible teaser composed of existing footage, some cast photos, or synopsis, a simple title seems to be the most likely result. At present, the show is simply being referred to as 'The Atom,' but word has appeared in multiple places online that a subtitle of Legends of Tomorrow could be planned - drawing on the building universe and subplots of time travel already confirmed.
The timetable offered by Garber also fits with previous reports that The CW would be launching the show in the 2015-2016 midseason (possibly starting as a replacement for The Flash and Arrow's winter break, a la Marvel's Agent Carter). Since Garber doesn't estimate of the length of the production, it remains to be seen if this ensemble series will have a condensed run - but it's most likely.
Unfortunately, the interviewer doesn't press about the potential of reuniting with the other half of his Firestorm identity, Ronnie Raymond - played by Robbie Amell (The Duff) - meaning Amell's absence from the spinoff remains as much a mystery as ever. The circumstances of his teased return to The Flash offer one possible explanation, but... it's one that fans may not like.
The same air of mystery surrounds the return of Caity Lotz, playing the now-deceased Sara Lance a.k.a. Black Canary (although we've got our own theories on her return as well). It may be too much to hope that those questions will be put to rest during the network's media upfronts, but at this point, fans will likely be happy for any official details.
Fans can now mark their calendars: the untitled Arrow/Flash spinoff begins production in August 2015, with the series set to debut on The CW in January 2016.