Sara Lance

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Sara Lance
Arrowverse character
White Canary (Caity Lotz).jpg
Caity Lotz as Sara Lance / White Canary
in Legends of Tomorrow
First appearance Arrow:
"Pilot" (1.01)
October 10, 2012
Created by Greg Berlanti
Marc Guggenheim
Andrew Kreisberg
Portrayed by Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (2012)
Caity Lotz (2013–present)
  • 2012–present
  • The Canary
  • Ta-er al-Usfar (الطائر الأصفر)
  • White Canary
Significant other(s) Oliver Queen (ex-boyfriend)
Nyssa al Ghul (ex-girlfriend)
Abilities Master assassin, martial artist, and tactician

Sara Lance is a fictional character originally created for the television series Arrow. The character was created specifically for television by Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg, but incorporates character and plot elements of the Black Canary, a DC Comics superhero. Originally portrayed by Jacqueline MacInnes Wood in Arrow's pilot, she has been portrayed by Caity Lotz since the second season. She initially fights in Arrow under the moniker of The Canary, translated from her Arabic League of Assassins name Ta-er al-Usfar (Yellow Bird), and later adopts the codename White Canary on the Arrow spin-off Legends of Tomorrow.

Sara Lance has also appeared in a digital comic book series, and while the character was initially introduced as a recurring character on Arrow, Lotz has also appeared in the spin-off series The Flash, adjacent series Supergirl, and is currently a cast member on Legends of Tomorrow.



Sara Lance first appears in the pilot episode of Arrow as the younger sister of Laurel Lance. It's shown that five years prior to the beginning of the series, she was having a secret affair with her sister's boyfriend Oliver Queen and was with him on his family yacht when it shipwrecked.[1] Everyone on board was presumed dead but flashbacks in season two reveal that, like Oliver, Sara actually survived the experience. She was rescued by a research boat, the Amazo, and when Oliver was captured by the ship's crew, Sara helped him escape. Together, along with Oliver's friend Slade Wilson, they attacked the ship. Due to Slade's love for Shado, an ally who was killed indirectly because of Oliver's feelings for Sara, Slade betrayed Oliver and took over both the ship and Oliver as his prisoner. Oliver and Sara confronted him on the freighter and Sara was swept away in the current, causing Oliver to believe that she died once again. However, Sara was found by Nyssa al Ghul who took her to Nanda Parbat. She and Nyssa became lovers, and Sara became a deadly fighter with the League of Assassins under the name Ta-er al-Sahfer, roughly translated to "Yellow Bird" or "Canary" from Arabic.

In season two, Sara returns to Starling City after a six year absence as "The Canary" to protect her family. In keeping with a promise, she also befriends wayward teenager Sin and watches over her. Oliver manages to capture and unmask The Canary, revealing Sara to be alive. She eventually informs her father, SCPD Detective Quentin Lance, and looks after him and Laurel (who also later discovers she’s alive as is a vigilante). Sara joins Team Arrow and revisits a brief relationship with Oliver. She aids him and his colleagues Felicity Smoak, John Diggle, and Roy Harper in taking down a drug-enhanced Slade Wilson, with help from the League of Assassins, which requires Sara to return to Nanda Parbat.

In season three, Sara is killed on a rooftop with three arrows to the chest. Some time later, it was revealed that Thea Queen killed Sara after being drugged by her father Malcolm Merlyn/Dark Archer as part of a plot to pit Oliver against Ra's al Ghul. Meanwhile, Laurel takes up Sara's mantle to fight crime as the Black Canary.

In season four, Laurel resurrects Sara using the League's mystical Lazarus Pit. The process is successful, but Sara is brought back to life without a soul, making her feral and dangerous. Oliver calls his old friend John Constantine to assist them in restoring Sara's soul. Days later, Sara aids in rescuing Ray Palmer/The Atom from the hands of Damien Darhk, before leaving town to find herself, eventually joining the Legends along with Ray. During her time away with the Legends, Laurel is killed by Darhk and she is later made aware of it by Quentin when she briefly returns to present-day Star City at the end of season one of Legends of Tomorrow, where she and Quentin mourn her together.

Sara, along with Ray and the rest of the Legends, return for the season five crossover “Invasion!” when Barry Allen/The Flash and his team contact her, informing her and the Legends that them and the rest of the heroes in the present day need help fighting an invasion from an alien race known as the Dominators. The Legends arrive and meet up with Team Flash and Team Arrow, then introduce themselves to Barry’s friend from Earth-38 Kara Danvers/Supergirl, whom he had brought over to help combat the Dominators. After Oliver appoints Barry leader of the group, they all spar with Kara to practice fighting aliens, and are repeatedly defeated, while Sara develops an attraction to Kara. When Barry is forced to reveal that he had went back in time to save his mother then reversed the decision which now altered some of the group’s lives a bit, Sara scolds him and everyone except Oliver and a few others lose faith in him. Kara leads Sara and the others while Barry and Oliver stay behind to rescue the president from the Dominators, which ends up with the president being killed and the Dominators using a device to mind control the entire group. She returns with the rest of the mind-controlled heroes and attack Barry and Oliver, until Barry tricks Kara into destroying the device, freeing them. They regroup and after they reaffirm their faith in Barry, five of them (Sara, Oliver, Ray, Thea, and Diggle) are abducted by the Dominators and placed in pods which puts them in a shared dream world, where Sara, Oliver, and his father never got on the Queen’s Gambit and all of Oliver fallen friends including Laurel are still alive. Oliver and Laurel are engaged and Sara helps Laurel get ready for their wedding, and begins having memory flashes of her actual life. She later saves Oliver and Diggle from a manifestation of Deathstroke, and the three realize that the world they’re in isn’t real. They later rally Ray and Thea and attempt to leave, but are forced to fight manifestations of Malcolm, Slade, Darhk, and their mercenaries before killing all of them and Sara and Oliver share a heartbreaking goodbye with Laurel. They wake up on the Dominator ship in the real world and escape in a pod before being rescued by the Legends’ timeship Waverider. They conclude the dream world was a distraction meant to keep them busy while the Dominators probe their minds for information on metahumans. They return to earth and as some of the Legends along with Felicity and Cisco Ramon head to the past and attempt to abduct a dominator, Sara, Barry, Oliver, and Ray confront a group of secret service agents who attempt to kill them, but are defeated. Their leader informs them that the Dominators are after metahumas due to being aware Barry’s changing of the timeline and perceive them as a threat. After Barry attempts to surrender himself to the Dominators in exchange for them leaving earth, Sara and the rest of the heroes persuade him not to, and she pilots the Waverider with Cisco to hold the Dominator’s freefalling metabomb in place using a tractor beam while Jefferson Jackson/Firestorm transforms it into harmless water and the heroes on the ground use a pain-inflicting device to force the Dominators to flee. Sara and the other heroes are honored by the new President later that night and celebrate, before sharing a hug with Oliver and returning to the Waverider with the rest of the Legends.

She briefly returns in season six when she receives a call from her sister’s doppelgänger, the recently reformed criminal from Earth-2 Laurel Lance/Black Siren, who informs her that Quentin had been seriously injured in the battle against Ricardo Diaz and is in the hospital. Sara arrives and meets her deceased sister’s doppleganger (whom had developed a genuine father-daughter relationship with Quentin and they refer to each other as such), and she thanks Earth-2 Laurel for calling her after Laurel thanks her for coming. Laurel tells her that the doctors are optimistic he’ll make it and asks Sara if it’s weird seeing her which she replies that it is a little. Sara asks if she’s like her Laurel, which Laurel replies she hardly is at all, visually disappointed with herself. The two witness Oliver being arrested for being the Green Arrow per the condition of his agreement with the FBI in exchange that they help fight Diaz and his allies. The doctor comes and informs everyone present that Quentin had died from lack of oxygen in his head during surgery, leaving Sara, Laurel, Oliver, and the rest of Team Arrow devastated. Later as Oliver (under the direction of the FBI) announces to the world he is the Green Arrow on live TV before being taken to prison, Sara and Laurel mourn together over Quentin’s body.[2]

Legends of Tomorrow[edit]

In the spin-off series, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Sara is recruited by Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) to a time travelling team of rejects aimed at defeating the immortal villain Vandal Savage (Casper Crump). Before she departs, Laurel gives Sara the White Canary name and outfit to signify her new start. Over the course of the first season, Sara continues her battle with blood-lust; sets in motion the events that will lead to her own rescue by Nyssa; romances many women throughout history; and develops a flirtatious relationship with Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller), with the two sharing a kiss in the penultimate episode of the season before Snart sacrifices himself for the team. The Legends return to 2016 a few months after they left and Sara is devastated to learn of Laurel's murder. Sara wants to go back and save her sister but Rip tells her that would only get herself and her father killed.

In season two, Sara becomes captain of the Waverider and leader of the Legends following Rip's disappearance. She mercilessly hunts her sister's killer, Damien Darhk, throughout history before accepting that she cannot bring Laurel back due to the delicacy of time. In the "Invasion!" crossover event, Sara and the Legends return to 2016 to aid Team Arrow, Team Flash, and Earth-38's Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) in repelling the Dominators' alien invasion. In the second season finale, Sara is forced to use the Spear of Destiny to save reality from the Legion of Doom. While tempted to rewrite her own tragic history, the Spear briefly reunites Sara with a projection of Laurel, who encourages Sara to do what's right and make peace with her death. Sara then chooses to render the Spear itself inert, foiling the evil plans of Eobard Thawne (Matt Letscher) and allowing him to be killed by the Black Flash, who has been hunting him all season.

In season three of Legends, Sara continues to lead the Waverider crew as they track down and repair anachronisms throughout time, working in an antagonistic partnership with Rip Hunter's new bureaucratic organization, the Time Bureau. In the four-part crossover "Crisis on Earth-X," Sara travels to 2017 to attend the wedding of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Iris West (Candice Patton), where she has a one-night stand with Supergirl's adoptive sister Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh). The assembled heroes work together to repel an invading Nazi army from the alternate world of Earth-X. While confronting the demonic entity Mallus (John Noble) alongside her old friend John Constantine, Sara and Constantine hook up, despite her ongoing romantic tension with Time Bureau agent Ava Sharpe (Jes Macallan). Ava and Sara become girlfriends in subsequent episodes, but break up after Sara is temporarily possessed by Mallus through the death totem and reasons that, given her history with death and destruction, she poses a danger to Ava.

Creation and development[edit]

Jacqueline MacInnes Wood was cast as Sara Lance in March 2012.[3] Caity Lotz was announced to be playing Arrow's version of Black Canary during July 2013. During the same month it was revealed that her character is Sara, who had survived the Queen's Gambit shipwreck.[4][5]

According to Arrow producer Andrew Kreisberg, Sara was originally meant to be Ravager but they decided to give that role to Summer Glau's character Isabel Rochev instead. After the switch was made, Sara was made into the Canary.[6]

After the character's death during the shows third season, it was announced in February 2015 that Caity Lotz would become a cast member on Legends of Tomorrow,[7] though it was not until May that they revealed she would continue to play Sara instead of a new character.[8]


The revelation in the season two episode, "Heir to the Demon", that Sara is bisexual and has been in a relationship with Nyssa al Ghul was positively received by critics as it made her the first character from either Marvel or DC to be explicitly shown as queer in either the movies or TV shows.[9][10] IGN's Jesse Schedeen praised the relationship between Sara and Wentworth Miller's character Leonard Snart, as well as the chemistry between Lotz and Miller, calling their "faint romantic tension that existed between [them] since the first episode" containing more weight than many of the other relationships on the show.[11]

In other media[edit]

  • Sara Lance also features in the tie-in novel Arrow: Fatal Legacies which was released in January 2018. The novel focuses on events between the fifth season finale and sixth season premiere of Arrow[12] and is co-authored by Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim and author James R. Tuck.[13]
  • White Canary is a playable character in the mobile-exclusive edition of Injustice 2, with her Legends of Tomorrow attire available as an alternate skin for Black Canary.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Pilot". Arrow. Season 1. Episode 1. October 10, 2012. The CW. 
  2. ^ "Life Sentence". Arrow. Season 6. Episode 23. May 17, 2018. The CW. 
  3. ^ Byrne, Craig (March 27, 2012). "Jacqueline MacInnes Wood To Play Sarah Lance In The CW's Arrow Pilot". KsiteTV. Retrieved December 13, 2016. 
  4. ^ Abrams, Natalie. "Exclusive: Arrow Boss Sets the Record Straight on Black Canary Casting". TVGuide. Retrieved December 13, 2016. 
  5. ^ Prudom, Laura. "Black Canary On 'Arrow': CW President Mark Pedowitz Shares More On The Superhero's Origin Story". Huffington Post. Retrieved December 13, 2016. 
  6. ^ Moore, Trent. "Arrow producer explains shocking final scene (+ who ALMOST played Ravager)". blastr. Retrieved December 13, 2016. 
  7. ^ Andreeva, Nellie. "Arrow/Flash Superhero Team-Up Spinoff In Works At CW; Brandon Routh, Victor Garber, Wentworth Miller, Caity Lotz Star". Deadline. Retrieved December 13, 2016. 
  8. ^ Rowand, Jack. "DC's Legends of Tomorrow reveals Caity Lotz's character". Retrieved December 13, 2016. 
  9. ^ Rude, Mey. "Black Canary is a Totally Bisexual Superhero on "Arrow," Kissed A Hot Lady On TV Last Night". AutoStraddle. Retrieved December 21, 2016. 
  10. ^ Abrams, Natalie. "Arrow Producers Talk LGBT Storyline, Ra's al Ghul and Reveal Deleted Scene". TVGuide. Retrieved December 21, 2016. 
  11. ^ Schedeen, Jesse. "DC's Legends of Tomorrow:"Destiny" Review". IGN. Retrieved April 11, 2017. 
  12. ^ Wickline, Dan (August 12, 2017). "Marc Guggenheim To Write Novel Connecting Arrow Seasons 5 and 6". Retrieved November 19, 2017. 
  13. ^ "Arrow: Fatal Legacies". Penguin Random House Retail. Retrieved May 30, 2018.