When Is This Show/Movie Set?

With all the reboots projects that may or may not be part of the Arrowverse or the DCEU, we get a bunch of different creator’s takes. BUT, if you tried to figure out where a show or movie falls within a character’s timeline, what would you look for?

For example, with Batman, you look at 1) is it pre or post-Dick Grayson’s time as Robin, 2) Is Barbara Gordon Batgirl, Oracle, or apparently fully recovered (e.g. Batman Beyond), and 3) what is James Gordon’s job title?

For Superman, seems like you look at whether Lex is yet known to the world at large as a scumbag, though there may be indicators I am not aware of

Lynda Carter’s Wonder and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman time lines both start out with the origin, and immediately get confusing (Gadot’s “past” is five years after Carter’s"present day", neither of which correlate to WW’s comics chronology??)

Most Arrowverse shows seem to be set, at least initially, at the character’s origin, but is there an identifiable point in their comic book history that they work up to?

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So, what are we discussing here?

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I think if I’m understanding this correctly, basically the movies and TV shows are almost never in the same universe as the comics. And usually if they’re far enough apart, the different adaptations of movies and TV shows are separate as well. Like, Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman is not in the same universe as Gal Gadot’s.


Um… I will assist???

The most simplest answer I can give is that they are separate universes and worlds.

Phoenix’s Joker is it’s own thing. It has no correlation to the DCEU or the Arrowverse, if you were wondering about that.

As for the Arrowverse, during the Crisis Crossover back in 2019 Kevin Smith hosted some sort of aftershow thing where guests would come on and do interviews and such. Some were writers and producers from the shows, some were actors like Kevin Conroy, etc. Anyway, on the show, there was somebody who made up a chart of the multiverse and which shows were set on those worlds, hence why I know that Titans and Doom Patrol are set on 2 different earths. Titans is set on Earth 9, and while there is a version of the Doom Patrol on Earth 9, the actual show Doom Patrol takes place on either earth 11 or 19? (I can’t remember exactly, okay?). This might even be the reason why we don’t see Jane on the Titans and DP crossover episode, and why the DP show don’t acknowledge Gar being on the team, its because the earths have a different timeline and events. The Batman 66 show is set on Earth 66, the Tim Burtonverse is set on Earth 89… and that’s all I can remember if I’m honest.

I hope this helps, and I’m sorry if I made this confusing, but this is the most simplest way I can give an answer and sort it out for myself. Some of the Arrowverse shows are not set on the same earth that Flash or Arrow take place (I think even Stargirl is set on a different earth but I could be wrong, and don’t ask me which one because I don’t know). The DCEU is it’s own timeline, and I think spin-off movies (such as BoP and Suicide Squad) technically are apart of the DCEU, but the filmmakers are specifically making them to where you don’t have to necessarily watch the first movie (especially if it’s bad). To those that hate it when these characters are different from their original source material, all I can say is that the multiverse and different timeliness are the in-universe explanation for that. As for what goes on in the moviemaking reasons, we will never know.

I hope this helps? At least a little bit?


WOJT, thanks for the reply and the information!

I think I’m approaching it from an assumption that’s it’s all one “DC universe” but some filmakers are less faithful than others. I know they established the opposite in Crisis on Infinite Earths, but a whole new universe for ,most TV shows of the last 80 years doesn’t strike me as any better or worse than just mashing everything into one timeline.

Superman is pretty basic to make a single unified chronology for. Clark first meets Lois in high school in Smallville, they get romantic in Superman TAS, he marries her in Lois & Clark, and is long-married to her in Superman & Lois. Regardless of how many discrepancies you have to sweep under the rug, placing them on a single timeline is easy.

We know that WW84 occurs before the JLU series, as well any project where Cheetah shows up as a longtime foe (at least, we do unless there’s a strong argument that the Maxwell Lord in JLU is pre-WW84)

With Flash 1990 vs. Flash 2014, was Gustin’s season one any farther along on a recognizable comic book timeline than John Wesley’s season one?

Did Smallville’s Green Arrow hit points in comic book Green Arrow’s chronology that would allow a timeline comparison to events in Arrow?

That seems more complicated than it needs to be. I mean, fair play to you if that’s your head canon, but this is the very nature of adaptation. Movies and shows are doing their own spin on the source material rather than directly translating word for word in animation and film. Each interpretation brings something new and, in some cases, influences the comics, which influence the adaptation, and so on.

What you’re proposing collapses quickly if you’re trying to make different pieces from different puzzles fit together.


Here is the multiverse at the end of crisis


I think as @superby1 said, you’re making it more complicated than you need to. At the end of the day, it’s established that most shows/movies take place in a separate universes featuring different versions of the characters. @Jay_Kay , @TheWifeOfJasonTodd , and @TurokSonOfStone1950 have all done a good job at breaking that down and explaining how it works. So I won’t waste much more time focusing on it.

I think all I’ll add is something I’ve said recently in a separate thread and that’s to just not worry about continuity all that much. When it comes to comic book/superhero characters, some things just don’t line up (whether intentionally or otherwise). I say as long as the continuity doesn’t get in the way of the narrative, then try not to focus on it too much. Just try and grade the DC media you consume individually on how well it accomplishes its goals and tells a compelling/well-written narrative. I promise it’s a lot more fun and less confusing than trying to piece every single release together into a Frankenstein of a timeline.

Absolutely nothing wrong with head cannons and trying to make it all fit if that’s your thing, but if you find trying to do so is getting in the way of you enjoying the story being told, then I say just don’t worry about. But, hey, that’s just my unrequested two-sense haha.


The originial purpose of having a Crisis on Infinite Earths was to - somehow - collapse co-existing multiple universes into one universe.

The Arrowverse, by virtue of specifying the existence of additional universes, so that it could then destroy them in the crisis, did the reverse: enlarging the number of universes.

But that’s not my quesiton. My question is basically do the various TV shows & movies using Green Arrow, Flash, Supergirl, Wonder Woman re-enact incidents from particular portions of the character’s official DC chronology? Do they establish details about the characters that suggest they’re borrowing some characteristic from a particular run of the comics?


Allow me to address both points you brought up with one specific example: Crisis on Infinite Earths.

In the comics, the original idea for Crisis was to consolidate various earths to one single earth aka survivors from the alternate earths who had their home destroyed would be relocated to the main DC Earth in the comics aka Earth-1. The whole rebooting history thing really kicked off with John Byrne’s Man of Steel. The other characters and concepts got reschuffled so now the Post-Crisis Earth was a canvas for creators to re-do and modernize old concepts.

With the shows, Crisis is a perfect example of the writers using an event from the comics and adapting it. It’s not a one-to-one adaptation but rather using the basics of the comic as a blueprint to tell their take on that story. You’re watching how that story unfolds within the context of that show. There may be differences due to the characters they have, the budget, time or even the writers wanting to zag when we know a character zigs in the comic version. It may work, it may not work, but it’s still entertaining to see.

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Smallville’s GA was closer in personality that A

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