Laurel Lance
Black Canary (Katie Cassidy)
Katie Cassidy as Earth-1 Laurel Lance / Black Canary in Arrow season 3
Portrayed by Katie Cassidy
Aliases Black Canary (Earth-1 and Earth-2)
Black Siren (Earth-2)
Siren-X (Earth-X)
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Dinah Laurel Lance is the name of several fictional characters in The CW's Arrowverse franchise based on the DC Comics character of the same name, created by writer-artist team of Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino, and adapted by Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg for Arrow in 2012. Katie Cassidy portrays the several multiverse versions within the Arrowverse, all of whom are mostly referred to by their middle name "Laurel".

The first version of Laurel is introduced in the pilot episode of Arrow as a legal aid attorney and Oliver Queen's ex-girlfriend, who later becomes a vigilante and takes up the mantle of Black Canary in subsequent seasons of Arrow. The character also appears in a few episodes of The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow[1] and Vixen, all set in the same shared fictional universe.

In 2016, the penultimate episode of The Flash season two introduces an antagonist version of Laurel Lance from Earth-2 known as Black Siren.[2] This version of Laurel subsequently appears in Arrow season five for some episodes. The character is gradually redeemed to be a hero in the following seasons and eventually assumes the 'Black Canary' moniker, like the original Earth-1 version.

Cassidy is confirmed to reprise her role as the Earth-2 Laurel in the upcoming spinoff series titled Green Arrow and the Canaries, set to premiere in 2020 after Arrow airs it's current and final season.

Storylines Edit

Laurel Lance (Earth-1) Edit

Dinah Laurel Lance is first introduced in the pilot episode of Arrow[3] as a legal-aid attorney working at the CNRI (City Necessary Resources Initiative) in Starling City. This version (referred to by her middle name) is Oliver Queen's ex-girlfriend and detective Quentin Lance's older daughter.[4]

Over season one's course, Laurel pursues a relationship with Tommy Merlyn,[5] and works with "The Hood" at times, unaware that the vigilante is actually Oliver.[6][7] After her breakup with Tommy, Laurel briefly resumes her relationship with Oliver.[8] But Tommy's death during the events of 'The Undertaking' eventually causes Oliver and Laurel to part ways.[9]

In season two, Laurel becomes an Assistant District Attorney,[10] but also struggles with Tommy's death, leading her to fight her own battles with alcoholism and use of prescription drugs.[11][12] She learns that her sister Sara is alive.[13] She also learns that Oliver is the vigilante known as "The Arrow",[14] and her sister is also a vigilante, who she eventually names "The Canary".[15][16]

In season three, Laurel witnesses Sara's murder and resolves to become a vigilante to find her sister's killer and to help people as Sara did.[17][18] This leads her to begin combat training with Ted Grant,[19] and later Nyssa al Ghul.[20] Initially impersonating "The Canary", Laurel eventually assumes her own mantle as the "Black Canary" and joins Oliver's crusade.[21][22] As Black Canary, she uses a side-handle baton as her trademark weapon,[23] and later uses an updated version of her sister's sonic "Canary Cry" device designed by Cisco Ramon.[24][25]

In season four, Laurel is shown to be still active as a vigilante in Starling City (now renamed Star City) alongside "Team Arrow", consisting of John Diggle, Thea Queen and Oliver who resurfaces as the "Green Arrow" after a brief sabbatical.[26] Soon Laurel learns about the Lazarus Pit's power and attempts Sara's resurrection,[27] which succeeds with John Constantine's help.[28][29] Laurel later convinces Sara to join Rip Hunter's team later known as the Legends; Sara does so, adopting the moniker "White Canary".[30] Laurel is mortally wounded by H.I.V.E. leader Damien Darhk and later dies in the hospital surrounded by the team and confessing to Oliver that she still loves him.[31][32] At her funeral, Oliver reveals Black Canary's real identity to the public to stop Evelyn Sharp's impersonation from inadvertently labeling her as a criminal.[33] Laurel's death is avenged when Oliver kills Darhk.[34]

In later seasons of Arrow, the Black Canary mantle is passed on to Dinah Drake,[35] while Laurel's civilian identity is assumed by her Earth-2 doppelgänger, Black Siren.[36]

In season 6, Laurel appears in Oliver's hallucination when he is drugged with Vertigo, accusing him of her death.[37]

In season 7, archive footage of Laurel as Black Canary is seen in Emerald Archer, a documentary about Oliver's vigilante activities.[38][39]

Laurel Lance (Earth-2) Edit

Black Siren (Katie Cassidy)

Earth-2 Laurel as Black Siren in The Flash season 2 episode "Invincible", her first on-screen appearance

Black Siren is introduced in The Flash season two penultimate episode "Invincible" as a criminal and member of Zoom's metahuman army.[2] Her scream is a metahuman power that she uses to take down buildings on Zoom's order, but is stopped by Barry Allen / The Flash's team and imprisoned at S.T.A.R. Labs.[40]

Black Siren later re-appears in season five of Arrow.[41] Initially posing as Earth-1 Laurel, she is revealed to be working for Prometheus. But her true identity is soon discovered by Team Arrow and they imprison her at A.R.G.U.S.[42] She later assists Prometheus again in kidnapping and taking Team Arrow to Lian Yu.[43][44]

In season six, Black Siren becomes a recurring menace for Team Arrow, as she works initially as part of Cayden James's cabal and then with Ricardo Diaz. She also becomes an archenemy of Dinah Drake for killing Dinah's partner-lover Vincent Sobel on James's order after he was revealed to be a double-agent.[45] She eventually goes public as Earth-1's Laurel with a cover story of being abducted,[36] and starts living with Quentin Lance, who remains optimistic about her redemption.[46] Quentin is later shot and killed by Diaz which leaves Laurel devastated and eager for revenge.[47]

In season seven, Laurel takes on her Earth-1 counterpart's position as District Attorney and becomes an ally of Team Arrow.[48] She gains Felicity Smoak's trust and the duo start a crusade to kill Diaz, but both eventually overcome their vengeance.[49] Laurel later learns from Ben Turner that Diaz was murdered in prison by Oliver's half-sister Emiko Queen,[50] who tries to discredit Laurel by exposing her criminal past.[51] She briefly relapses into her Black Siren persona but Felicity, Dinah and Sara manage to stop and convince her. Laurel then goes back to Earth-2 in pursuit of full redemption with Felicity giving her Earth-1 Laurel's Black Canary outfit.[52] A flashforward set in 2040 shows Laurel working with a female vigilante group known as the Canary Network while helping a resistance movement against Galaxy One.[53] She later returns briefly to help the team battle Emiko and the Ninth Circle, now operating as the "Black Canary".[54]

In season eight, Laurel encounters Oliver on Earth-2, where she is shown to be actively working as Black Canary alongside Earth-2 Adrian Chase / The Hood. She is also reunited with John Diggle and the group works together to stop "The Undertaking", orchestrated by Tommy Merlyn / Dark Archer of this Earth. When Earth-2 is destroyed by an unknown cosmic wave, Laurel escapes with Oliver and Diggle to Earth-1[55] where she learns that Oliver is working for the Monitor to save the multiverse from a forthcoming crisis. She struggles initially with survivor's guilt but soon joins Oliver in the fight against the Triad in Hong Kong,[56] and later assists Team Arrow in fighting the Deathstroke Gang led by Grant Wilson in Star City. She also meets the time-displaced Team Arrow from 2040 and learns about her future and the Canary Network. The Monitor asks her to betray Oliver in exchange of restoring Earth-2.[57] Laurel realizes that Lyla Michaels is working with the Monitor, who she also agrees to work with by stealing plans to a weapon before Oliver can. She ultimately declines Lyla's offer to join her mission as Oliver and Diggle discover Lyla's betrayal, only to get tranquilized.[58] Laurel eventually woke up and discovered that the Monitor had put her and Oliver into a dream sequence reality with a time loop. She encountered Oliver and joyfully reunited with Quentin. Both Laurel and Oliver made several unsuccessful attempts to prevent Quentin from getting killed, with the time loop resetting after each time he died. The time loop reset a few more times, but Laurel eventually was able to be at Quentin's side as he passed. After admitting to Oliver that she had finally gotten what she wanted -- a chance to say goodbye to Quentin, The Monitor released Laurel from the dream sequence, followed by Oliver.[59] After awaking on Lian Yu, Laurel, Oliver, Diggle, Connor, Mia, and William were informed by Lyla of their penultimate mission for the Monitor. They waited for Dinah, Roy and Rene to arrive, but their plane was attacked during the landing. The group decided to split up, and Laurel and Oliver searched for the plutonium they needed, but were attacked by a resurrected Edward Fyers and his team. As Laurel was taking the plutonium to the base, she encountered Dinah, who explained to her that Lyla has brought Rene back to William and Mia to gave him medical assistance, while she, Connor and Diggle were trying to treat some wreckage to Roy's arm. However since some mercenaries were coming to them, Roy chose to have his right arm amputated instead. Back at their base, the group decided to activate the Monitor's weapon in order make all of the resurrected people disappear. Laurel, Oliver Dinah, John, Mia, Connor, Rene and the resurrected Yao Fei Gulong fought against Freyes men to distract them from noticing that the weapon was being activated. With their mission a success, the team prepared to return to Star City and presumably departed Lian Yu just before the Crisis began.[60]

Other versions Edit

  • In the Legends of Tomorrow season one episode "Star City 2046", the Legends accidentally travel to Star City in a dystopian future timeline, where Sara learns that Laurel had either abandoned Star City or died.[61] However, this future timeline gets erased, and is not connected to the flash-forwards shown in Arrow season seven.[62]
  • A dream-state version of Laurel is seen in a simulated reality created by the Dominators in Invasion! (the 2016 annual crossover and also the 100th episode of Arrow). In this reality, Oliver and Laurel are engaged and the pair never became the Green Arrow or the Black Canary.[63]
  • In an alternate re-written reality shown in the Legends of Tomorrow episode "Doomworld", the Black Canary (implied to be Earth-1 Laurel) was killed, along with many other heroes.[64]
  • An Earth-X version of Laurel, known as "Siren-X", is introduced in The Flash season four episode "Fury Rogue", her only appearance to-date. Siren-X is a metahuman assassin and a member of the New Reichsmen, who has an echolocation ability and an ultrasonic scream similar to Earth-2 Laurel Lance. She plans to avenge Dark Arrow and is followed to Earth-1 by Leo Snart. Barry and Snart manage to defeat Siren-X who is taken back to Earth-X to be imprisoned.[65] Her fate is uncertain after Earth-X is destroyed by antimatter.[66]

Development Edit

Creation and casting Edit

File:Katie Cassidy August 2016.jpg

In January 2012, after The CW ordered a television pilot for a potential Green Arrow series, its executive producers Andrew Kreisberg, Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim developed the character of Dinah "Laurel" Lance, based on the Black Canary from DC Comics. The official character breakdown pitched Laurel as "a 28 years old, smart sexy, legal aid attorney determined to use her life as a one-woman war".[67]

"Laurel is so good at what she does. At some point, when the Black Canary happens, it would be awesome for a woman to kick some ass and fight."

— Katie Cassidy in 2012, on the possibility of Black Canary.[68]

In February 2012, Katie Cassidy was cast for the role.[69] Regarding the differences between the characters on the show and in the comics, Warner Bros. Television president Peter Roth stated in an interview with TVLine, "We are working very closely with DC. We are making sure that each of the original characters are honored, are respected, and any changes that we make are being made with the sanction and endorsement of DC."[70]

In an interview given in October 2012, Cassidy stated that she loved the script when she read it.[68] She went on to say that, "It was everything that I wanted to get involved with, so I was beyond thrilled."[68]

Characterization Edit

In DC Comics, Dinah Laurel Lance is one version of Black Canary, a superhero in her own right, and a love interest and eventual wife of the Green Arrow.[71] However, the series takes a different route and introduces the character as a legal attorney and childhood friend of Oliver Queen, with whom she shares a romantic past. The character is known by her middle name, Laurel.[69] Oliver and Laurel's relationship is one of the key plots in season 1, as she initially blames him for cheating on her and causing her sister's death, but later forgives him and attempts to rekindle their relationship.[citation needed]

Laurel's sister Sara Lance, an original character developed for the series, is introduced in season one and returns in season 2, as a female vigilante known as the 'Canary'.[72] In an interview with TV Guide, then-executive producer Andrew Kreisberg revealed that Lotz's character was the beginning of the Black Canary's story.[73] He further stated that, "Everyone knows that Laurel Lance is the Black Canary. But how we get from A to B is the story of our show – People will see how Caity Lotz fits into Laurel's journey along the way".[73]

Sara's story serves as a backstory for Laurel's eventual path to becoming the 'Black Canary', who is also a legacy character in the comics.[74][75] Before assuming the mantle, Laurel's character goes through various personal tragedies such as losing her boyfriend Tommy,[9] being kidnapped multiple times, dealing with her father's alcohol-addiction,[8] and then her own addiction[11] and finally witnessing Sara's murder in the season 3 premiere.[17] In an interview dated January 2015, Katie Cassidy stated that, "You can't just overnight all of a sudden be a superhero. You have to go through things and hit your rock bottom and then be able to come out on top and build character and be strong."[75]

Throughout the series, Laurel's motives, both as an attorney and as a vigilante, are shown as trying to clear the city of corruption, similar to Oliver's motives.[76][75]

Character death Edit

In April 2016, during Arrow's fourth season, the character was killed off in the episode "Eleven-Fifty-Nine".[77] The-then showrunners and executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Wendy Mericle cited the decision to kill off Laurel as a "creative choice", at a press screening.[78] They also stated that, "Death does not mean goodbye on any of these shows" hinting at a possible return for the character/actress.[78] Cassidy mentioned in an interview that she learned about Laurel's fate only two episodes before shooting began on "Eleven-Fifty-Nine". However, she explained that, "I've had such an incredible arc, so it made sense to me, creatively, that we've told Laurel's story".[79]

Multiverse, return to Arrow and character redemption Edit

In May 2016, Cassidy appeared as Laurel Lance's Earth-2 doppelgänger known as Black Siren on The Flash, which had already introduced the concept of multiverse in its then ongoing second season.[80] The alias "Black Siren" serves as a callback to the Justice Guild of America member from the Justice League animated series who herself was based on the Golden Age Black Canary.[81] In July 2016, Cassidy was promoted to a series regular across all Arrowverse shows, as part of a special contract that allowed actors to recur on multiple shows simultaneously,[82] previously signed by fellow actors Wentworth Miller and John Barrowman. In March 2017, it was announced that the actress would return to Arrow full-time from its sixth season and portray Earth-2 Laurel Lance.[83]

Towards the end of Arrow season seven, Earth-2 Laurel eventually finds redemption and takes up the mantle of Black Canary.[84] Regarding the character's new costume in season eight, Cassidy stated in an interview, "It really truly feels like the Black Canary. It feels like Laurel Lance. It feels almost truer to the comic book than we’ve seen, and I think that's really cool. I wish I had it sooner".[85]

Spin-off Edit

In August 2019, Newsarama reported that Katie Cassidy had pitched a Birds of Prey spin-off to the network. When asked about her previous interest in the team, Cassidy said, "I’ve pitched it. I think they should. It's time for women".[86] In September 2019, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that The CW are developing a female-led spin-off series, with Katherine McNamara, Cassidy and Juliana Harkavy as the leads, reprising their roles from Arrow,[87] titled Green Arrow and the Canaries.[88]

Reception Edit

Critical reception Edit

The character received mixed response from the critics during initial seasons of Arrow.[89] David Hinckley of New York Daily News wrote, "Cassidy starts off well and is likely to get better as Laurel starts to figure things out", in his review of the pilot episode.[90] Other critics wrote Laurel as "a scrappy legal aid attorney"[91] or "plainly a good girl".[92] Laurel's character was often compared to Rachel Dawes from Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy, with some critics calling Laurel as Arrow's version of Dawes.[93] Jesse Schedeen of IGN included the character among "hit and miss" characters in his Arrow season one review.[94] Shunal Doke of the same website criticized Cassidy's portrayal for making the character "unlikable" but appreciated the motivations behind the character and wrote her as "eventually proving worthy of becoming a costumed heroine."[89]

The critical response towards the character improved in subsequent seasons.[95] In IGN's review of season three finale, Schedeen praised Laurel's team-up with Nyssa and wrote, "It seems Laurel has finally graduated to the big leagues, and she didn't even need to rely on her Canary Cry."[95] Writing for Entertainment Weekly, Chancellor Agard observed in his review of season three, that "Laurel, who was once the show's biggest problem, came into her own this season".[96]

In his review of season four episode "Eleven-Fifty-Nine", Schedeen called Laurel's death a "huge emotional moment" and her final conversation with Oliver as Cassidy's finest moments on the series.[97] Writing for TV Overmind, Andy Behbakht criticized the decision to kill off Laurel, feeling the character was underutilized and "The Black Canary was in many ways one of ArrowTemplate:’s big hearts and seeing the show losing that character, makes the series lose a lot of its remaining magic".[98] Eric Francisco of Inverse called the decision "a bold move that would have been a good one for the show... if it had been handled with delicate care. But Arrow is not delicate."[99] Laurel's death also drew criticism from some fans, prompting an online backlash.[100]

The Earth-2 version of the character – Black Siren received positive reviews.[101] Angelica Jade Bastién of Vulture wrote in her review that, "The Flash better serves Laurel than Arrow did in several seasons – Black Siren has swagger".[102] Schedeen also praised the character and wrote, "It was refreshing to see Cassidy cut loose and play a twisted version of her character".[101] The Arrow season seven episode "Lost Canary" focuses primarily on Earth-2 Laurel's eventual redemption, which mainly garnered positive reviews. Scheeden wrote in his review, "We see Laurel at her best and truly embodying the redemption being Black Canary offers."[103]

Accolades Edit

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref.
2013 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress: Fantasy/Sci-Fi Katie Cassidy Nominated [104]
2015 PRISM Awards Performance in a Drama Multi-Episode Storyline Katie Cassidy Won [105]

In other media Edit

Print media Edit

  • The Earth-1 version of the character appears in the season one digital tie-in comic series Arrow,[106] and also in Arrow: Season 2.5, a bi-weekly digital comic series that bridged the gap between seasons two and three.[107]
  • Both the Earth-1 and Earth-2 versions of Laurel are mentioned in the tie-in novel Arrow: Fatal Legacies, co-authored by Marc Guggenheim and James R. Tuck, which bridged the gap between the seasons five and six of Arrow.[108][109]

Web media Edit

Vixen Edit

Cassidy provided the voice for the Earth-1 version of her character in the second season of the CW Seed Arrowverse animated web series Vixen.[110] In the story, Laurel (Black Canary) provides assistance to Mari McCabe (Vixen), along with Ray Palmer (Atom), in capturing Mari's sister Kuasa in Star City. They later help Mari in combating former warlord Benatu Eshu in Detroit.[111]

The Blu-ray and DVD re-release of the first two seasons was combined into a single story as Vixen: The Movie. It added fifteen minutes of never-before-seen content, including a few scenes of Earth-1 Laurel that were not included in the CW Seed release.[112] The third season of Legends of Tomorrow ultimately changes the continuity of Vixen, resulting in an altered timeline where Mari McCabe now shares the 'Vixen' mantle with Kuasa. It is unclear to what capacity the events of Vixen season 2 get affected.[113]

The Chronicles of Cisco Edit

The Earth-1 version was mentioned in The Chronicles of Cisco Post 9 "Chapter Seven: Hannibal Bates",[114] and a video footage of the Earth-2 Laurel is seen in Post 40.[115]

See also Edit

References Edit

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