Anyone wondering if Time Warner (NYSE:TWX.DL) intends to build an integrated DC television universe got their answer yesterday when Stephen Amell, star of The CW hit Arrow, appeared in the The Flash trailer.
"Take your own advice.... Wear a mask," Amell says. Shortly after, we see Grant Gustin's awkward police scientist, Barry Allen, become the superhero known as The Flash. To me, it's a transformation that seems destined to have far-reaching consequences for fans of the DC universe and Time Warner investors. Here are three reasons why:
1. The DC television universe is overtly connected. Counting the pilot for The Flash, we now have three explicit crossovers with Arrow, which kicks off its third season on Wednesdays this fall. New episodes of The Flash will air Tuesdays in the same 8 p.m. timeslot. Proximity and shared resources makes it likely we'll see even more explicit stabs at creating a shared DC mythos. (Arrow co-creators Andrew Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti are also actively involved with The Flash, as is DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns.)
2. The Flash will be a touchpoint for introducing more menacing meta-humans. Actor Tom Cavanagh plays S.T.A.R. Labs physicist Harrison Wells in the The Flash. In the trailer, he explains the vast repercussions of the superhero's birth. "A dimensional barrier ruptured, unleashing unknown energies into our world: anti-matter, dark energy, x-elements," Wells says. The message? Barry wasn't the only one transformed. Later in the trailer we see bank robber Clyde Mardon (played by Chad Rook) controlling the weather, making him the comic book villain fans will recognize as Weather Wizard and proving Wells' point.
3. More heroes are coming, soon. The Flash pilot also marks the second time we see a reference to Ferris Air in a CW show based on a DC Comics character, with the last appearance coming in the Arrow season one finale. There's a chance the show's creators are merely teasing fans here, but as fans themselves it's hard to imagine Kreisberg, Berlanti, and Johns not wanting to pay off the reference to Green Lantern at some point in either show. The mere possibility of an appearance should keep most of the core audience engaged.
Regardless, Warners' integrated strategy comes at a good time since DC, unlike Marvel, is still in the early stages of expanding its live action universe. Anything that helps further the fan base for that world is bound be good for investors.
Now it's your turn to weigh in. What did you learn from The Flash trailer? Do you envision one or more explicit movie crossovers? Leave your take below, including whether you would buy, sell, or short Time Warner stock at current prices.
Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Time Warner at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+, Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.
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