Some thoughts on Arrow’s mask

The showrunners for the new television adaptation of the Green Arrow comics recently revealead some of their inspiration and plans.

Yes, the creators of Arrow are looking to take Green Arrow and move him into the real world. Much of the planning around the show seems to revolve around examining how a green-glad robin-hood-esque vigilante could actually come to life.

Of course, Smallville was supposed to be a similar intent with Superman’s story, but that show, which began over a decade ago, was still too supernatural. So the Arrow showrunners have decided to the concept  a step further – and this is apparently one of the reasons they chose not to ask Justin Hartley, the actor who played Oliver Queen (Arrow’s secret identity) on Smallville. Clearly, they really wanted to disconnect themselves from that continuity.

“We certainly wanted to chart our own course and destiny,” said Marc Guggenheim, the show’s exec producer, at a press event at the Television Critics Association’s semi-annual press tour on Monday. He was careful not to dismiss the previous show’s version of the character, however, saying, “Justin is a terrific Arrow. Michael Keaton [as Batman] doesn’t affect your love for Christian Bale and Christian Bale doesn’t affect your love for Adam West … multiple iterations are possible.”

He also discussed this Arrow’s allowance for the death of his enemies in this version, something the fans of the comics will have noted, from the previews for the show, is quite different than the comics, where Oliver would never deliberately kill anyone.

“We’re exploring the nature of vigilantism … and well get into those [moral] issues,” he said. “The Arrow always gives the bad guy the opportunity to do the right thing … when he kills, he kills for necessity … it’s not just random violence … we’ll face the issues of his morality head on…that’s part of the fun quite, frankly, when telling a story about a vigilante.

“The people that Oliver is targeting are the wealthy and corrupt. There’s some echoes of the 1 percent and Occupy Wall Street …  he’s man of the people and taking it back for the little guy.”

We also got some hints as to the overarching plot of the show at Comic-con a couple weekends ago. In an interview with IGN, exec producer Andrew Kinsberg confirmed each episode of the show would have flashbacks to Oliver’s on the island. The story of his time as a castaway will be braided with the story of Oliver as a vigilante through the entire series, not just the first season. The first episode of the series is expected to include flashbacks to the shipwreck, while the final episode will feature flashbacks from the day he left the island. 

I’d guess that each of these flashback stories will be relevant to the subject at hand in the episode’s primary timeline. The flashbacks will show how he learned the skill he’s using, or where he came up with the idea for a philosophy he’s following or something like that; kind of like LOST in reverse.

You can see the rest of the interview here. Personally, I think it’s quite interesting that all three of the showrunners interviewed make direct reference to Christopher Nolan’s Batman, and how Arrow is going to be somewhat similar  – specifically in the way things which were portrayed as supernatural in the comics are being interpreted as mundane in origin for the show.

We also have a bit of casting news for the show, which includes a plot spoiler for the first season, so don’t read on if you want to be surprised by which supporting character from the comics will be making an appearance in the first episodes.

Canadian actor Michael Rowe will be playing the role of Deadshot for at least one episode. He’ll be the villain of episode three. For the uninitiated: Deadshot is essentially Green Arrow’s equivalent, but with guns; he’s a perfect shot with a handgun (sort of like Black Widow in the Marvel Universe, even similarly changes sides once in a while).  We also have word that additional first season villains will include Deathstroke and China White, all of which I would expect will be presented out of their usual costumes, as extraordinary people like Oliver who simply work for the wrong side.

Finally, we have this new set of promotional images for the show, including the one above which shows Oliver wearing a pace-paint-domino reminiscent of the mask form the comics.

Arrow premiers on The CW October 10th, 2012.