August 18, 2022

[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers]Superhero stories have plenty of deaths in them — some remain permanent, others don’t. The Arrowverse is no stranger to characters dying at an alarming rate. Villains being killed off is one thing, but the death rate for the Arrowverse heroes’ parents or parental figures is shockingly high. Even the heroes aren’t safe in this franchise. Though every death isn’t the most memorable, some are truly heartbreaking.

We take a look at 15 fatalities that made us gasp and cry all at once. Admittedly, some characters on this list have been resurrected since their untimely demise, but that doesn’t make their original death any less impactful. Get ready to bawl your eyes out.

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15. Leonard Snart


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Image via The CW

He was once a ‘robber of ATMs’, but Leonard Snart/Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) died a Legend. By the Season 1 finale of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Snart was well on the way to being a hero. He and Sara Lance (Caitz Lotz) had just begun dulling each other’s sharp edges, when Leonard decides to sacrifice himself to save the timeline. Snart’s demise is a little comical at first as three different Legends take turns offering to make the sacrifice, but Snart wins out in the end. He dies with his signature smirk on his face. Broken-hearted though we may be, at least Snart has become a beloved character in the franchise since his death.

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14. Eddie Thawne


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Image via The CW

There are some characters who you know won’t last a season, and Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett) was definitely one of them. Despite knowing his ultimate demise was closing in, Eddie’s death in the finale of The Flash Season 1 was still tragic. As a police detective, Eddie had high hopes for his future, only to learn that he would leave little to no legacy. Eddie turns this knowledge to his advantage when his descendant, Eobard Thawne (Tom Cavanaugh) is fighting Team Flash. Eddie shoots himself in the hopes of erasing Eobard from the timeline, leaving his girlfriend Iris West (Candice Patton) and the viewers in tears. Eddie may have been a single-season secondary character, but he still died a memorable hero in the Arrowverse.

13. Tommy Merlin


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Image via The CW

Much like Eddie, Tommy Merlin (Colin Donnell) had the hallmarks of a one-season-only character on Arrow. He was Oliver Queen’s (Stephen Amell) best friend and dating the supposed love of Oliver’s life, Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) — he had to go. But the Arrowverse is good at wrenching one’s heart while stating the obvious. As soon as Tommy learns that half the city is about to be demolished, he rushes to save Laurel who is in her office. Laurel gets out, but Tommy is impaled. With his last breath he makes amends with Oliver (who doesn’t deserve Tommy’s forgiveness). Tommy may have lived a hedonistic and forgettable life, but he made up for it in death.


12. Catherine Hamilton-Kane


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Image via The CW

Though Catherine Hamilton-Kane (Elizabeth Anweis) didn’t get much screen time on Batwoman, her death certainly left a mark on the characters and the viewers. A billionaire and philanthropist, Catherine was not perfect but when she and her daughter Mary Hamilton (Nicole Kang) were captured and poisoned by Gotham villain Alice (Rachel Skarsten), Catherine’s true colors were revealed. She insisted on Mary taking the only vial of the antidote and despite Mary and Catherine being at odds over some of the latter’s decisions, Catherine made amends with her daughter. Catherine was a complicated and morally ambiguous person, but she was brave and selfless when it counted most. Catherine died telling Mary that she was the best thing that Catherine had achieved in her life. Cue the tears.


11. Quentin Lance


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Image via The CW

The tough cop exterior of Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) was only matched by his paternal instinct. He was not only the father of Sara and Laurel Lance; Quentin was also a father figure to all of Team Arrow. In Season 6 of Arrow, this mainstay of the franchise took a bullet to save Earth-2 Laurel Lance, a woman he began caring for as if she was his own daughter. It took this heroic act for Earth-2 Laurel to realize that she did have a father, and she called Quentin ‘dad’ for the first time. Quentin died from his wounds, but he died knowing Laurel was on the path to redemption.

10. Sara Lance


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Image via The CW

Sara had been presumed dead alongside Oliver when the Queen’s Gambit was lost at sea—so her reappearance in Starling City as the vigilante Black Canary was a joyous occasion for the Lance family, who were finally reunited and ready to resolve their past conflicts. Sara was also a much-needed female superhero on Arrow, which made her sudden assassination in the second episode of Season 3 a shocking twist. It seemed like the Lance family could never catch a break. Sara’s demise wasn’t just a plot device; Team Arrow as well as her family mourned Sara’s death and the show eked it out to make sure that viewers felt her loss as deeply as the characters on screen did.


9. Rip Hunter


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Image via The CW

The original captain of the Waverider, and a rogue Time Lord, Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) was many things—but what he will always be remembered as is a Legend. Rip had struggled with the deaths of his wife and son, so his own untimely death was bittersweet. Nearing the end of his life, Rip was pretty much at sea—he was no longer with the Time Masters, he’d lost his position at the Time Bureau that he had formed, and he was estranged from the Legends. However, when the opportunity to save the Legends from the time demon Mallus presented itself, Rip didn’t hesitate to sacrifice his life. He told the Legends exactly how important they had been to him and made peace with the fact that he would finally be rejoining his family. It was a truly touching moment for the character and the show.


8. Moira Queen


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Image via The CW

Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson) was a complex and imperfect character. In the first two seasons of Arrow, the Queen matriarch went through a lot, and just when she was getting her life back on track as well as rekindling her relationship with her children, Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) captured the Queens to avenge the death of his beloved, Shado (Celina Jade). Slade made Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) choose between the lives of his mother and sister Thea (Willa Holland). Moira instead volunteered herself so that her children could live. She died as the courageous mother and Starling City hero that she was, and her shocking death was especially heartbreaking as her children were forced to witness the event.

7. Henry Allen


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Image via The CW

For the majority of his life, Barry Allen’s (Grant Gustin) father Henry (John Wesley Shipp) was falsely imprisoned for the death of his mother Nora (Michelle Harrison). In Season 2 of The Flash, Henry was finally exonerated and was looking forward to living life and finding work as a free man again. All that came to a sudden end when season villain, Zoom (Teddy Sears), murdered Henry right before Barry’s eyes. Henry died stoic and comforting Barry, but his death was devastating and sent shock waves through Team Flash as well as the viewers. It was an unexpected turn of events for the character especially since Henry had already lost so much of his life to incarceration.


6. Nora West-Allen


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Image via The CW

The original version of Nora West-Allen (Jessica Parker Kennedy) was probably one of the best characters to appear on The Flash. The future daughter of Barry and Iris, Nora traveled to the past to be with her father but ended up becoming an integral member of Team Flash. She worked with the team to make sure her father wasn’t killed by the villain Cicada (Chris Klein), only for the future to be changed to the extent that Nora herself ceased to exist. Even though Nora was given an option to ensure her survival, she chose not to go down a dark path. Nora died in the arms of her loving parents, and she died a hero.

5. Oliver Queen


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Image via The CW

Oliver Queen died twice in the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover, but it was his first death that left us all reeling. Few expect Oliver to die in the very first episode of the crossover—there were still four episodes of the event left, not to mention the final half of the final season of Arrow. Oliver died the only way he knew how, as a hero fighting to save people. He succumbed to his injuries surrounded by his friends and loved ones. Oliver was the first hero in the franchise and his death, despite being forecast an entire season prior, was still impactful and heart-rending for the characters around him and the viewers watching him.


4. Barry Allen (Earth-90)


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Image via The CW

The Arrowverse has successfully merged almost every DC Comics television adaptation into its sprawling multiverse, which meant Barry Allen/The Flash (John Wesley Shipp) from the 1990s show, The Flash, joined forces with the rest of the heroes to fight the Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) in “Crisis on Infinite Earths”. The crossover featured several deaths, but Barry had seemingly escaped certain doom when he fled Earth-90 to continue the fight with the rest of the main heroes. But, Barry’s bravery was not meant to last. Barry was captured and eventually made the decision to take Earth-1 Barry’s place on the Cosmic Treadmill, even though it would lead to a painful death. Earth-90 Barry was already a beloved figure among fans and the heroes, so his heroic end was especially heartbreaking.


3. Beth Kane


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Image via IMDB TV

Technically, Beth Kane is still alive as Alice on Batwoman, but we’re talking about the other Beth Kane who landed up on Earth-Prime from a destroyed multiverse. She was everything that Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) had wanted—this Beth had lived a full life and loved her twin sister. Beth was such a kind and wonderful person, the polar opposite of murdering psychopath Alice. Kate was willing to sacrifice her real twin to let Beth stay alive, and it was heart-breaking when Alice’s childhood captor shot Beth, robbing Kate of the loving sisterly relationship she wanted (and deserved), thereby unleashing the wrath of Alice. Though she only appeared in a few episodes, Beth was a tragic glimpse at what life could have been like for Kate and Alice had circumstances been different.


2. Martin Stein


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Image via The CW

Dr. Martin Stein (Victor Garber) was another father figure in the Arrowverse—and beloved by the rest of the Legends. When actor Victor Garber announced that he was leaving DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, most expected Martin, or Gray, as his FIRESTORM half Jefferson Jackson (Franz Drameh) liked to call him, would simply retire. No, that wasn’t meant to be. Instead, Gray heroically attempted to save the universe despite being shot by Earth-X Nazis. In the end, Gray allowed himself to die from his injuries, so that Jefferson could live. We were right there with Jax as he cried for Gray. Martin Stein’s death was completely unexpected and probably one of the most moving moments in all the Arrowverse.

1. Laurel Lance


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Image via The CW

Laurel Lance’s death still stings. She’d spent the first season of Arrow as the love interest and the second season fighting alcoholism; Laurel finally took control of her life and was settling into being the new Black Canary when Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) stabbed her. Had she died on the spot, it would have been bad enough, but the writers went with a bait-and-switch—Laurel seemed to be recovering in the hospital, thereby giving viewers hope that the superhero would make it. But then, she died anyway. And worse, she died telling Oliver that he was the love of her life. The squandered potential of what could have been is the most heart-breaking part of Laurel’s death. She deserved so much better!


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