With apologies to Rudyard Kipling: Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware of giving your heart to a ‘ship to tear.
On Saturday Wentworth Miller, who plays Leonard Snart/Captain Cold in DC’s Arrowverse, posted on Instagram that he’s currently shooting some of his final episodes as that character on Legends of Tomorrow and The Flash.
It’s the post that’s breaking a lot of hearts in several shipper fandoms for the two shows: CaptainCanary (my own fandom), ColdWave and ColdFlash. All of us had been holding on to hope that Wentworth would eventually be back to stay.
But apparently this is not to be.
This isn’t the first time Leonard Snart has gone and broken my heart. When the character was killed at the end of the Legends Season 1 episode “Destiny,” I didn’t cry… but I didn’t sleep that night either. Nor could I eat. I was stuck in stunned disbelief that wasn’t really relieved by the news reports that he’d be coming back in Season 2.
Then my heart was broken again by the news at SDCC 2016 that he’d be back in the Legion of Doom. I remember sitting in the press room with tears in my eyes because I was afraid of what would happen to the character, and what would happen to CaptainCanary. (As it happened, Legion!Leonard was worse for the ColdWave fandom.)
And now this.
I’ve had fandoms break me before; I spent sleepless nights after Doctor Who’s Ten and Rose were split apart in “Doomsday,” and after Torchwood’s Jack Harkness was emotionally broken in “Children of Earth.”
I’m in my mid-50s, a wife and mom and a working journalist. Most folks would think it’s ridiculous for me to get so upset over a fictional character.
But for me, and I think for so many others, fandom is more than just loving fictional characters and the actors who portray them. Fandom has been a source of creative inspiration, of incredible happiness and of new friends, including the team here at Fangirlish. CaptainCanary got me writing fics again for the first time in about a decade. My CaptainCanary Pops! traveled with me to Europe last spring and “posed” for a series of pictures in London, Paris and Rome.
This ‘ship has given me joy at a time when it’s been hard to find, working in the profession that I do, with all the leads I’ve had to write over the past year. It’s given me an escape from the anger, the sorrow and the too-frequent feeling of helplessness that comes whenever I have to write a news report about the burgeoning problem of homelessness or the political disputes raging across the nation or people dying at the hands of a deranged individual.
When sad news comes to me via fandom, it’s a bitter pill to swallow. I don’t want to lose that joy.
Please don’t interpret this as anger at Miller, however. He has to do what is best for him, and I truly hope that he has exciting new challenges ahead that keep him at the right frequency, as he likes to say. I am grateful to him, not only for his portrayal of Leonard Snart, but also for his willingness to share so much of himself through social media. I have learned so much through his advocacy for LGBT rights and awareness of mental illness.
I could rage just a bit at the writers and producers of The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow for how they used – or didn’t use – his character last season, teasing the fans in appearances that became known on Tumblr as “Snartbaiting.” I could get upset at the Legends team for not doing more with CaptainCanary, a ‘ship that had so many possibilities (and you can find nearly 1,600 suggestions for those possibilities on AO3 right now).
Instead, though, I think I will borrow the attitude of Miller’s other best-known character, Michael Scofield of Prison Break, and choose to have hope that we will get some kind of resolution for CaptainCanary in Season 3 and that Miller’s final appearance will leave us satisfied.
But if we don’t, we always have fan works, and now that I’ve gotten this out I might be able to get back to mine.
I do want to thank both Wentworth Miller and Caity Lotz for creating something so wonderful and inspiring. You tore our hearts – but I don’t regret a single minute.
Legends of Tomorrow airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on the CW.