We're still a few weeks away from the premiere of Arrow Season 3, when Oliver Queen and co. make their epic return to television. But there's one question lingering from last season that still needs an answer: is Sara or Laurel Lance the Black Canary? In season 2 lil' sis Sara was the Black Canary, but last we saw her she was getting the hell out of Starling City. Just before she departs for parts unknown, Sara takes off her crime-fighting leather jacket and hands it over to her older sister, Laurel, saying, "I think this would look good on you." Laurel smiles, and it's a nice moment between the sisters. It's also a HUGE Arrow moment, because anyone familiar with the DC comic series Green Arrow knows that Laurel Lance is actually the Black Canary, and Sara Lance doesn't even exist.
Let's take a second and talk about the character of Black Canary in the comics. I am a life long comic fan myself; give me a strong female superhero and I will read every issue (though, I'll admit I haven't read everything in the New Earth timeline, but that's another discussion.). Black Canary first appeared in Flash comic #86 in 1947. Like basically every comic book character, there's some continuity issues with her back story. She was first introduced as Dinah Drake, who married Gotham police officer Larry Lance, and became Dinah Lance. They had a daughter, named Dinah Laurel Lance (literally, just to make everything more confusing), and Laurel, much to the objection of her mother, took up Black Canary in her early 20s.
Probably just to mess with us some more, right around 2000, DC shrugged and went, "nah, nevermind," and re-did the entire back story of Black Canary. Now she's considered only one person, Dina Laurel Lance, who has superpowers, like her sonic Canary cry, which is the result of being cursed as a child. She has lots of friends, like Batman and Superman, and yes, she is romantically linked to Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow, and the two of them move to Seattle and she opens up a flower shop. See? Superheros lead exciting lives, too. Black Canary has been portrayed before, like in The WB's super short lived Birds of Prey... but in that rendition Black Canary was telekinetic and not dating Oliver Queen, so why bother?
Where was I?
Right. If Arrow is going to follow Green Arrow comic lore, then Laurel has to become the Black Canary. It was a bit of a shock at the beginning of Season 2 when suddenly 1) Sara was alive, and 2) She was the Black Canary. The nice folks over at Arrow certainly have the liberty to do whatever they want with the characters, let alone their back stories, but usually to please fans, they stick to what's already been laid out. We could probably start placing bets as to when Laurel fully ascends to the Black Canary throne, but in doing that, what happens to Sara? She'll be back as a recurring character in Season 3, but then what? There are three possible options for the younger Lance.
Sara becomes another character from the DC Universe
Deadline announced that J.R. Ramirez will join the cast in the third season and play the character of Ted Grant — who just so happens to be part of the Justice Society of America and once upon a time trained Black Canary. This kind of suggests that Sara's going to stay away for a while, and maybe Laurel's kind of itching to try firing that bow again. She'll need a teacher, and that's where Ted Grant steps in. Let's say Laurel becomes completely competent fighting with a bō staff, leaving Sara looking for a new masked alter ego. It doesn't look like Felicity will become Oracle, so maybe Sara could transition over to that role? Two crime-fighting Lance sisters are better than one.
Sara disappears. Again.
Caity Lotz is only recurring in Season 3, which means she won't stick around the whole time. Arrow is keeping its spoilers locked tight, so we don't even know which episode she'll first pop up in, or how long she'll appear. Maybe Sara shows up just to give Laurel her blessing as the new Black Canary, and then disappears again. There have already been two Canaries (it sounds like I've got a whole flock of little yellow birds), and maybe two Canaries are better than one. One is a part-time Canary (Sara) and only needed during emergencies (Like, Deathstroke).
Ugh. Deep down inside, I think we all know this is probably going to happen. Sara will suggest Laurel take on the masked role, and she will resist it. Then, the unthinkable happens and Laurel wonders what she could have done to prevent Sara's death. After this, she'll be drawn to joining Ollie and his team, with the death of her younger sister pushing her over the edge. She'll feel the need to not necessarily avenge her sister, but honor her memory. What better way to do that than to assume her vigilante persona?
As much as I hate the thought of losing Sara, it seems most likely. There's no way Laurel won't become the Canary at some point in time, it's just a matter of when — and then what becomes of Sara. So far, Arrow has stuck pretty close to Green Arrow, and it'd be weird for them to detour from that now. But, I really really hope she sticks around. Laurel can fully become Black Canary, and maybe Sara will open up that flower shop in The Glades, because we can never have enough tough females on TV.
Images: The CW; DC Comics