Every San Diego Comic-Con brings it with panels and events that should capture more headlines but don't because of purportedly bigger news elsewhere.
For Time Warner (NYSE: TWX ) , a surprise teaser for Man of Steel 2 overshadowed what may be DC's best animated film yet -- Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox -- and important details for what's to come in season 2 of Arrow, a ratings winner for Warner's CW network.
Show creators Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim were uncommonly forthcoming in their Comic-Con panel. Specifically, they said Stephen Amell's Starling City vigilante grows to become more like the Green Arrow character from the comics upon which the show is based. He also gets help, as this Comic-Con trailer shows:
"The title of episode 201 is 'City of Heroes,' and that's really what this season is about. It's really about Oliver becoming a hero and going from the Arrow in season 1 to being the Green Arrow in season 2," Kreisberg said at Comic-Con.
The message? Expect a wider foray into the DC Universe of characters, a strategy Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS ) also plans to employ with Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which makes its debut Sept. 24. Season 2 of Arrow begins two weeks later, on Oct. 9.
Guggenheim says fans can expect appearances from classic comic-book allies and adversaries, including classic Teen Titans villain Brother Blood plus the Bronze Tiger, to be played by Michael Jai White. The assassin Deadshot also reappears.
Yet none of these measures up to the potential for Black Canary, a heroine who becomes Green Arrow's primary love interest in the comics. Actress Katie Cassidy plays the character most likely to assume the Canary's identity in Arrow. Kreisberg told the audience at Comic-Con that Season 2 explores the beginning of her story.
What's all this mean for investors? Opportunity. Now that Warner and DC Entertainment are taking more deliberate steps to create a bigger universe where characters interact -- Batman and Superman in Man of Steel 2, for example -- Arrow takes on greater importance. At the very least, it can serve as an interesting vehicle for teasing not only new DC characters but also storylines that have played well previously in the comics.
Or Warner could borrow from AMC Networks (NASDAQ: AMCX ) and handle Arrow as a distinct property. AMC's version of The Walking Dead is a ratings winner that differs in sharp and material ways from the source material. For example, Norman Reedus' character, Daryl Dixon, hasn't appeared in a single issue of the comic book series that inspired the TV show.
The good for fans of Arrow and Time Warner investors is that Kreisberg, Guggenheim, and their fellow writers and producers haven't pigeonholed themselves. Instead, they've introduced viewers to a big universe with thousands of nooks and crannies left to explore. Expect them to do just that when Season 2 kicks off.
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