On the latest seasons of The CWVerse, romance is everywhere. New couples have been teased on Batwoman, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and The Flash, but are they meant to be? We’ll find out in time.
A superhero property isn’t complete without a romantic sub-plot, and The CWVerse is no different. The first season of Arrow was all about Oliver Queen’s (Stephen Amell) desperate attempts to win back the love of his life, Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy). That pretty much set the foundation for how central love would be to the franchise. There have been couples aplenty since, and while some of these pairings have added high stakes to the narrative, occasionally, the romance was to the detriment of a character.
Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) were a popular fan ship who became canon on Arrow, but Felicity’s characterization diminished almost completely once she became ‘the girlfriend’. Other popular pairings like the above-mentioned Oliver and Laurel as well as Kara Danvers/Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) and Mon-El (Chris Wood) were quintessential toxic relationships. Mon-El accepting that he was a terrible boyfriend was even written into the third season of Supergirl. Even when the main romances haven’t been toxic, some of them have lacked chemistry. Nate Heywood’s (Nick Zano) romances with Amaya Jiwe (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) and Zari Tomaz (Tala Ashe) left many DC’s Legends of Tomorrow viewers scratching their heads. Both women deserved better than to be shoehorned into half-baked romantic sub-plots. The writers are still able to string Nate and Zari’s relationship along, but it’s hard to be invested in a pairing no one saw coming.
As we take a trip down memory lane to revisit some of the greatest romances in The CWVerse, be warned that some of your favorites may not have made the cut. For the purpose of this list, we’re focusing on romances between main or recurring characters, not every romance ever featured in The CWVerse (otherwise we’d be here forever). So, which love birds are you rooting for?
15. Caitlin Snow and Ronnie Raymond (The Flash)
Dr. Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Ronnie Raymond (Robbie Amell) worked together at S.T.A.R. Labs where they fell in love and later became engaged. Unfortunately, Ronnie was presumed dead after the particle accelerator accident but he’d actually turned into the superhero Firestorm. When they were reunited, Caitlin and Ronnie were obviously still head over heels in love with each other, but also respected one another as professionals. The little we got to see of Caitlin and Ronnie’s relationship showcased what a loving couple they were and the lost potential of their future together. Even after eight seasons, Caitlin still talks about Ronnie as her great love and it’s easy to believe her. Their romance may have been brief, but Caitlin and Ronnie proved that sometimes it’s better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all.
14. Roy Harper and Thea Queen (Arrow)
Oliver’s younger sister Thea Queen (Willa Holland) was a wild child till her bag was stolen by Roy Harper (Colton Haynes). They were the classic rich girl-poor boy combination at the start of their relationship but grew to be much more than that. The pair gave each other a whole new perspective on life, and that’s what makes them so special. Thea and Roy both risked life and limb to save and protect each other. What could have been a forgettable teen romance ended up being a lot darker because of their shared experiences becoming superheroes and dealing with the consequences of that life. Neither character received the development needed for viewers to be completely invested in their relationship, but by the end of Arrow they had earned their happily-ever-after.
13. Sara Lance and Nyssa al Ghul (Arrow)
Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) and Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law) had very little screen time, but their romance was a huge step forward for queer representation in the superhero genre. Viewers were left to intuit much of their relationship, but Nyssa was there to save and protect Sara when Sara had no one else. Nyssa rescued Sara from the island Lian Yu and nursed her back to health. When Sara joined the League of Assassins, Nyssa was smitten by Sara’s courage. Nyssa’s love for Sara was never-ending, even when Sara chose to be with Oliver, and especially after Sara was killed. Admittedly, they had their toxic moments, which was expected given Nyssa’s League upbringing, but that doesn’t negate how integral their brief relationship was. The best part was how Sara’s family accepted the relationship, which in itself was a ground-breaking moment in pop culture.
12. Brainy and Nia Nal (Supergirl)
Nia Nal (Nicole Maines) was the first transgender superhero played by a transgender actor. She joined Supergirl in Season 4 and it became obvious that her quirky geekiness was a match for Querl Dox/Brainiac-5’s (Jesse Rath) awkward nerdiness. They met when Nia stood up to bullies terrorizing Brainy. Though they didn’t always get the development and screentime that they deserved, Nia and Brainy’s relationship was a positive step towards normalizing transgender romances on screen. The best moments in the final season were the ones focusing on Nia helping Brainy get over his anxiety and stress, while he encouraged her to believe in herself. Brainy even sacrificed his destiny to be with Nia in the Supergirl finale, because she is his “dream girl.” These two are a cute couple who bonded over their mutual love for pop culture and their love of being superheroes.
11. Alex Danvers and Maggie Sawyer (Supergirl)
The Supergirl showrunners made the bold decision to write a coming out story for Kara’s sister Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh) in Season 2, a realisation that wouldn’t have happened had Alex not met Detective Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima). Maggie was so comfortable in her sexuality, it helped Alex come to terms with her own. Maggie was the friend to lean on before becoming Alex’s girlfriend. They were a refreshing change in the romantic landscape and their first season together was a successful representation of a lesbian romance. Unfortunately, the writers chose to create a contrived wedge between them in the third season, mostly to accommodate Lima’s decreased screentime. Though their relationship fizzled, without Maggie, Alex wouldn’t be the incredibly happy person she ended up being when Supergirl ended.
10. Zari Tarazi and John Constantine (DC’s Legends of Tomorrow)
The CWVerse is excellent at making oddball couples work, and Zari Tarazi (Ashe) and John Constantine (Matt Ryan) personify that description. She’s a prim and proper social media influencer from the future; he’s a gruff master of the dark arts. Zari grew up sheltered; John had a rough life. We didn’t see this pairing coming but were instantly won over by John and Zari’s convincing performance as Romeo and Juliet. Their chemistry was off the charts and even though their relationship started off in quintessential rom-com fashion, they grew to be a compelling couple. They didn’t try to change each other despite being so different, but they always built each other up. John and Zari’s relationship added layers of care and understanding that would have otherwise been missing in their characterizations. In the end, circumstances meant that they couldn’t be together, and we’ll miss this dynamic duo.
9. Clark Kent and Lois Lane (Superman & Lois)
The first couple of DC Comics made a return to the small screen on Supergirl before headlining their own show. On Superman & Lois we see the couple as never before—a married couple navigating domestic life while juggling parenthood and their work commitments. Clark Kent (Tyler Hoechlin) and Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch) are settled in their relationship and that’s the best part about this couple. Their love is obvious in how much they know about each other and support one another. The writers have captured domestic bliss with these two—Clark Kent is an adorable husband who thinks the world of Lois, and Lois is a pillar of strength whenever Clark’s called away to be Superman. The two of them have distinct personalities but a shared history that makes each interaction that much richer. We can’t wait to see how much they grow over the seasons.
8. Ray Palmer and Nora Darhk (DC’s Legends of Tomorrow)
Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) was a boy scout superhero; Nora Darhk (Courtney Ford) was the vessel for a demon. Their first close encounter involved failed attempts to kill each other. Who would have thought these two would make one of the most adorable couples in The CWVerse? Trust the DC’s Legends of Tomorrow writers to make us cheer for this odd pair. Ray and Nora became closer when he was essentially her and her father Damien Darhk’s (Neal McDonough) prisoner. Ray always saw the good in her and desperately wanted to free her from her destiny. Eventually, the two of them were able to escape and become Legends together. These two were a match made in social awkwardness. It helped that actors Routh and Ford are married in real life and their easy chemistry leaped off the screen. Every scene with them together just made us go “awww.”
7. Joe West and Cecile Horton (The Flash)
Romance isn’t just for the young ones. Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) was a widow and Cecile Horton (Danielle Nicolet) was a single mom when they met. He was with the Central City Police Department; she was the District Attorney. Their paths crossed while on a case and they became friends. Joe and Cecile’s relationship evolved slowly into a romance and it’s powered by that initial friendship. While Joe is the father figure to Team Flash, Cecile is more the fun aunt and the two add a whole new dynamic to the team with their unique personalities. Though Joe and Cecile are often in the background of the story, the writers have cleverly chosen to allow both the characters to grow as separate individuals, instead of always being considered a single unit. How much they care for each other is obvious from little glances and dialogues. Joe and Cecile prove you don’t have to flaunt it when you have it.
6. Jefferson Pierce and Lynn Stewart (Black Lightning)
Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) and Lynn Stewart (Christine Adams) were happily married before Jefferson’s superpowers took a toll on him, and his marriage. Lynn walked out before later reuniting when Black Lightning was back. This couple were naturally a team, especially when it came to co-parenting. Jefferson and Lynn weren’t always a united front—he was a school principal and a superhero, she was a scientist worried about Jefferson’s powers literally killing him. They sometimes found themselves on opposing sides, but they weren’t adversaries. They fought hardest when they were the most scared for each other, and their daughters. In the final season, Jefferson and Lynn eventually went to couples’ counseling to work through their problems much of which came from dealing with the non-stop trauma of being a superhero family, Lynn’s recovery and their lack of communication. They got through it and realized they were stronger together. In the season finale, to the delight of their family and the show’s viewers, wedding bells were ringing again for Jefferson and Lynn. A happy ending that was a long time coming.
5. John Diggle and Lyla Michaels (Arrow)
Another couple who needed two tries to make it work is John Diggle (David Ramsey) and Lyla Michaels (Audrey Marie Anderson). Dig and Lyla met while serving in Afghanistan and they were married while still on tour. Though their marriage didn’t survive civilian life, Dig and Lyla were reunited while he was part of Team Arrow, and Lyla was a high-ranking official at A.R.G.U.S. The two of them haven’t always seen eye-to-eye; Dig has a strong moral core that doesn’t waver, irrespective of his mission. Lyla has stooped to questionable means to get what she needs. They’ve fought about it, reconciled and in the end, found the middle ground needed to be happily married parents to their children. It’s hard to argue how much they love each other considering Dig allowed himself to be arrested in Russia once just so that he could free Lyla and he has seemingly given up the opportunity to be a Green Lantern to remain with his family. And Lyla offered to work with the Monitor, Mar Novu (LaMonica Garrett), to ensure her family was safe. Lyla is the only one who calls Dig ‘Johnny’ and that reflects a playfulness to their relationship that feels natural and understated.
4. Barry Allen and Iris West (The Flash)
Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Iris West (Candice Patton) are a long-standing couple from the comics, but they took some time getting together on The Flash. Iris was in a different relationship when the show began, but Barry had been smitten with her for years. Despite being the fastest man alive, taking it slow was how Barry finally won Iris over. Ever since the showrunners expanded Iris’ characterization, she and Barry have been a power couple in The CWVerse, leading Team Flash from the front. They’re not a cutesy pair as much as they are homely and comfortable. They’ve known each other since they were children, and they were both raised by Joe West, that commonality is an undercurrent to how convincing their relationship is on screen. Barry and Iris continue to lean on each other for all the big—and small—decisions. They aren’t perfect, but which couple is? The show has reached eight seasons, and Barry and Iris feel like they’re going to be together forever. After all, Iris is Barry’s lightning rod, and as Barry sang to Iris when he proposed to her, he’ll always come “running home to [her].”
3. Anissa Pierce and Grace Choi (Black Lightning)
Anissa Pierce (Nafessa Williams) was a bit of cad when she was first introduced on Black Lightning. She was in a less-than-happy relationship when Grace Choi (Chantal Thuy) caught her eye. We can’t blame Anissa for immediately turning tail. Anissa and Grace’s romance had a few more ups and downs than most of the others on this list. They endured tough times together in the beginning—Grace was a meta-human with shapeshifting abilities that were triggered during moments of extreme stress, and she battled that with Anissa’s help. Anissa was also discovering her powers at the time, and Grace was beside her as she became the superhero Thunder, then Blackbird. Later, when Grace fell into a coma, Anissa refused to leave her side, but she didn’t wallow in her grief. Eventually, the two of them were a force to be reckoned with in the field when they tag-teamed as a vigilante duo in the final season of the show. Though Grace wasn’t given much screentime in the first few seasons of Black Lightning, the chemistry between the two characters was always electric.
2. Alex Danvers and Kelly Olsen (Supergirl)
After Alex Danvers and Maggie Sawyer broke up, it seemed like love had eluded Alex for good, but then came Kelly Olsen (Azie Tesfai), sister of James (Mehcad Brooks). A psychologist and former soldier, Kelly and Alex had an instant connection. They met during a particularly stressful time in their lives—James was dying after being shot—and their bond was forged in fire. They supported each other, and most importantly listened to each other. The reason their relationship has lasted is because they have similar goals, which they discussed prior to popping the question. Alex and Kelly’s love story was a well-deserved one for both the characters. They had suffered loss and death in their lives and they needed a win. The fact that they knew each other so well was especially obvious in the final season of Supergirl. Both Alex and Kelly had the idea of booking Al’s Bar to propose to the other, and they chose the venue because they both realized that was where they had fallen in love with each other. In the end, they rode off into the sunset with their adopted daughter Esme.
1. Sara Lance and Ava Sharpe (DC’s Legends of Tomorrow)
Sara Lance and Ava Sharpe (Jes Macallan) are co-captains of the Waverider and co-captains in life. They personify the old adage, opposites attract, but Sara’s chaotic leadership has been a perfect foil for Ava’s no-nonsense rule-following. The two of them grated against each other when they first met, but as we all know, in pop culture bickering is the first step to love. Watching these two characters fall in love and stick together through thick and thin has been an absolute joy. Once, Sara was the first—and only—queer character in The CWVerse, and now she’s happily married and part of a renaissance of queer representation in superhero properties. The best part of Sara and Ava’s romance has been how easy it is. Sara was guarded about her emotions but now she openly admits to her mistakes and being afraid. Ava only knew how to do her job, but when her world unraveled when she learned she was a clone, it was Sara who reminded Ava that she was still an individual. They’re time-travelers who have a blast going on missions together, worrying about each other, and solving problems together. They are true couple goals!