The Shadowlands is an alternate dimension of existence in The CW series, . The Shadowlands are a place of darkness, shadows, and emptiness that exists within humanity. It is fueled by humanity's negative emotions. It is also capable of containing powerful creatures.
In the mid-1800s, Richard Swift lived in London and was a notorious thief and con man. He was hired to procure a black diamond for a cabal called the Men of Tears, but instead, had a forgery made. The Men of Tears heard a story about the lost Diablo Island and a black diamond that could summon a powerful God from a shadow world. The ritual called for a sacrifice, so instead of paying Richard was he was due, the cabal kidnapped him and used him for the ritual. The diamond Richard provided the cabal was fake, with Eclipso already trapped in the real one. The ritual was botched but it opened a doorway to the dark power of the The Shadowlands. The fake diamond couldn't contain the power the Men of Tears summoned, but the dark energy still needed a vessel. The energy entered Richard and granted him power over the shadows and the Shadowlands, turning him into the Shade.
In 2010, the JSA member Dr. Mid-Nite battled against the ISA during their final battle. The ISA won the battle, but The Shade didn't want anyone to die. He tried to use his power over shadows to transport Dr. McNider out of the battle, but something went wrong with his powers and he accidentally set McNider to The Shadowlands. Everyone believed that Shade had killed McNider and never knew he was still alive until over a decade later, when he was able to connect with the next generations Dr. Mid-Nite.
Beth Chapel makes contact with a man through her goggles and asks the person to identify himself. He reveals that his name is Dr. Charles McNider and he's been trapped in The Shadows. Beth realizes that he's the real Dr. Charles McNider, not the AI she previously communicated with. He merely mutters the name The Shade as Beth realizes that he's alive. In The Shadows, Charles calls out for Beth Chapel as he wanders through a plane of nothing but dark shadows.
Once freed from his confinement in a Black Diamond, Eclipso used one of the shattered shards to open a portal beneath Cindy Burman's feet. Tentacles shot from the pool and wrapped around Cindy's wrists, pulling her into the darkness below. Stargirl attempted to save Cindy, though her efforts were futile as the pull of the portal was stronger than Stargirl.
Courtney awakened in The Shadowlands in a world that was black and white. It was eerily similar to Blue Valley, though the citizen who greeted her moved in slow motion. She walked the streets as saw the theater was temporarily closed. She came across Richie Rock's Diner where she peered inside. She saw the Zarick family inside laughing and enjoying their time together. The Zarick's welcomed her to Blue Valley. Joey revealed his plan to become a famous magician one day. Despite the overzealous laughter, everything seemed normal, though Courtney was aware it was wrong. Joey asked Courtney to pull a card in the exact same recall to their first meeting at Blue Valley High School. She pulled the same card as before, but before she can lie again that he got it right, Joey asked if she would lie again. He realized he would never be a talented magician and knew he messed up the trick. Things began to take a turn in the diner as the patrons advanced toward Courtney while Joey and the Zarick's threw insults. Courtney quickly ran out of the diner and into the next illusion.
She entered the halls of Blue Valley High School where she saw Principal Anaya Bowin and her son Isaac, both of whom had been killed during Courtney's escapades as Stargirl. Anaya quipped that new kids were always trouble, while Isaac merely missed his tuba. Before they could converse more, Courtney was attacked by Cindy Burman who donned her Shiv costume. The girls fought and Cindy sliced Courtney's arm. She then froze when she saw the blood. She realized Courtney was actually there and not an illusion, as no one in the Shadowlands ever bleeds. Their reunion is cut short when the illusion of Dragon King appears, ready to torture Cindy more. Cindy promptly shoved Courtney through another door they land in a little girls bedroom.
In the bedroom, Courtney learned that she was trapped in the Shadowlands. A place of despair and negativity where Eclipso was born. It fed off the darkness in humanity and tormented its inhabitants with memories of all the terrible things they had committed in their lives. All the people they've lost and all the mistakes they've made. She warned that Courtney would never survive the place as she's too good. She see things in black and white but the world is more grey than that. Cindy also pressed that there wasn't a way out. She had seen peoples souls be ripped apart by the things they endured in the Shadowlands. Though, Cindy viewed it as a personal paradise as she got to murder her father repeatedly. Courtney, fed up with Cindy's attitude, fled the room once again.
This time, she arrived in a memory. She was in an apartment where her mom prepared to work Christmas Eve yet again. She told a babysitter that Courtney asked about her father again, even though she's the one here and taking care of everything. She had a business degree and dreams, but all that stopped when she got pregnant. Courtney ruined her plans and future. She could have had something better if it weren't for her. Courtney tried to communicate with her mother but the effort was futile. Cindy abruptly pulled Courtney out of the illusion and back into the room of a little girl. Cindy remarked that it sounded as though Barbara was going to wish Courtney wasn't born. The girls eventually argue back and forth before Dragon King arrives with Cindy's mother. She was moved by the sight of her mother and became emotional as she witnessed her younger self speak to her mother. Cindy advanced toward her younger self who was about to hurt her mother, but Dragon King's henchmen arrived and kidnapped Cindy. Courtney ran after her but when she pushed through a door she arrived in an abyss of darkness.
As the shadows consumed her, Courtney was pulled to safety in the JSA headquarters by Dr. Charles McNider, who wore his Dr. Mid-Nite suit. She was shocked to see him but also worried that it wasn't real. He confirmed that everything was an illusion but assured her that he was real. He confirmed his previous communication with her friend Beth. Courtney wasn't convinced so he offered his goggles to show her how the Shadowlands appear without Eclipso's illusions. He asked her to hurry as she put them on. The JSA headquarters faded away to reveal an abyss of darkness and shadows. She returned the goggles and asked how he could bear to look at that for a decade. He admitted that time moved differently, but it was also better than what he heard without the goggles - the screams of his daughter. Over the years, he managed to hack into the real world using his goggles, but he only ever received snippets of news. It wasn't until Beth activated his secondary pair of goggles that he held hope of escaping. He also believed The Shade didn't put him in the Shadowlands on purpose, but rather, in an attempt to save his life and didn't know he had been trapped. Charles than delivered a message to Beth that both he and Courtney were together in the Shadowlands.
This information was enough for Beth, Pat, Barbara, Mike, and Jennie to locate The Shade. They asked him to open a doorway to the Shadowlands so they could save Courtney and Charles. Shade was surprised that Charles was in the Shadowlands and felt remorseful for having placed him there unknowingly. Despite his weakened state, Shade agreed to open a doorway using the movie screen in front of them. With much focus, he succeeded in opening a door where the two dimensions could see each other. Courtney and Charles prepared to leave when Courtney remembered that Cindy was still trapped. She refused to leave without Cindy, and Charles pressed they had to hurry in saving her. Shade struggled to keep the doorway open long enough for them to return.
Courtney tried to focus on Cindy in the hopes the Shadowlands would take Courtney to her, but her first attempt was futile. She instead walked into Yolanda's bedroom where she saw her friend sit on the bed with the bible. She looked depressed. Eclipso, in the form of a young Bruce Gordon, greeted Courtney and asked if she wanted to play a game. He tried to make her feel guilt over Yolanda's state, as he assured her this was a real manifestation of Yolanda in the real world. He toyed that Courtney ruined Yolanda's life and made her do horrible things. Courtney refused to played and left through a bedroom door.
She arrived in the Blue Valley prison where she saw Rick behind bars. Eclipso taunted that the monster was in a cage now because of Courtney. She retorted that Eclipso did that, not her. Eclipso then realized her true feelings toward him and tried to bait her into admitting her hatred of him. She refused and tried to leave again, this time, she walked into the Whitmore-Dugan House. Eclipso stood on the steps and gloated over having hurt her family, friends, and everyone she cares about. He complimented her locket but knew it came from her estranged father. She claimed to be over him but Eclipso knew that wasn't the truth. She felt the same way about Sam that she does about him. He and Sam both hurt Courtney, after all. Eclipso continued to goad her and asked how she about him. She admitted in a whisper that she hated him. He only have her a twisted smile.
Courtney was then taken to Dragon King's lair in the Blue Valley Tunnels, where she witnessed Cindy be injected with a syringe. Dragon King knew Courtney didn't have her staff and prepared to attack her with a sword. Dr. McNider appeared and told Courtney to ignore him as he wasn't real - he won't have any power if she ignored him. She did just that and Dragon King vanished into smoke as she walked by. She quickly freed Cindy, who was then consumed by an illusion of her dead mother. Courtney told her it wasn't real as Cindy cried for the loss and apologized for having murdered her. When Cindy realized it wasn't real, her mother's body and the body of a young Cindy faded away. The trio hurried to the JSA headquarters where they pushed through the barrier The Shade had created. Courtney pressed through the film first and transitioned from black and white to back into color. Dr. McNider followed soon after, with Cindy having crossed through last. When all three were safely returned, The Shade closed the portal.
- Dr. Charles McNider/Dr. Mid-Nite (December 24, 2010-July 2021)
- Cindy Burman (June-July 2021)
- Courtney Whitmore (July-July 2021)
- Joey Zarick
- William Zarick
- Denise Zarick
- Anaya Bowin
- Isaac Bowin
- Dragon King
- Suzanne Ito
- Young Cindy Burman
- Yolanda Montez
- Rick Tyler
- Barbara Whitmore
- Dragon King's Minions
- Screams of Rebecca McNider
- Blue Valley (town)
- Justice Society of America Headquarters
- Cindy's Childhood Bedroom
- Courtney's Childhood Apartment
- Additional Season 2 appearances include being mentioned in "" and "".
Notes and Trivia
- Eclipso is from The Shadowlands and draws his power from the dimension.
- Richard Swift also draws power from The Shadowlands, but his powers are limited to the environment of the realm; darkness and shadows, as opposed to Eclipso's more complex abilities.
- Time works differently in The Shadowlands, though the full extent of its abilities are unknown.