Stephen Amell will be back behind the mask for a third season of Arrow. Credit: The CW/DC Entertainment.

Once more Arrow has hit the mark for Time Warner (NYSE:TWX). Yesterday, CW president Mark Pedowitz announced a third season for the show alongside reups for The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Supernatural, and Reign.

This can't be much of a surprise, can it? Not long ago, series co-creator Andrew Kreisberg told The Hollywood Reporter of plans to wrap season 2 with appearances by "great big villains, one after the  other." All signs were (and still are) pointing to a thrill ride of a cliffhanger this spring.

Building out the DC Universe
Importantly, the show has gained momentum while exploring the recesses of the DC Cinematic Universe, including a mini-origin for The Flash in episodes 8 and 9 of the current season. A spin-off pilot is in the works as of this writing and is expected to feature not only the scarlet speedster, but also one of his most dangerous adversaries.

Call it a foundation upon which other shows and movies can build. Here's just a partial list of characters lifted from DC Comics stories that have appeared on Arrow:

  • Amanda Waller (played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson)

  • Black Canary (played by Caity Lotz)

  • Bronze Tiger (played by Michael Jai White)

  • Brother Blood (played by Kevin Alejandro)

  • China White (played Kelly Hu)

  • Count Vertigo (played by Seth Gabel)

  • Deadshot (played by Michael Rowe)

  • Deathstroke (played by Manu Bennett)

  • Merlyn (played by John Barrowman)

  • Roy Harper (played by Colton Haynes)

  • The Huntress (played by Jessica De Gouw)

There's also David Ramsey's John Diggle, who proved to be so popular in season 1 that he made his first appearance in DC's "Green Arrow" comic book a few months back (issue #24). Don't be too surprised if Emily Bett Rickards, who plays computer genius Felicity Smoak, is next to appear in-panel.

Regardless, what's clear is that Arrow has become fans' de facto gateway to the DC Cinematic Universe. That, in turn, raises the bar not only for the current Arrow team working on the pilot for The Flash, but also for director Zach Snyder as he prepares to shoot the Man of Steel sequel, known to us as Batman vs. Superman. Not bad for a show that only a few months ago seemed doomed to be permanently overshadowed by Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. How do you rate the current season of Arrow? How do you see the future of the franchise and sister shows such as The Flash? Leave a comment in the box below to let us know what you think, and whether you would buy, sell, or short Time Warner stock at current prices.

Episode 14, "Time of Death," airs on Feb. 26. Sources: The CW/YouTube.