Comic Book Casting: The Green Arrow TV Series, ‘Arrow’

After years of being the dominant force when it comes to comics-to-Hollywood adaptations, DC has been lagging in second on the movie and television front but a new show idea could put the company back on target. Earlier this month iFanboy shared news that CW is nearing a decision to greenlight a Green Arrow live-action series titled simply Arrow. CW was the long-time home of DC’s Smallville, and although Green Arrow appeared on that show in numerous occasions this new series is not connected to that rendition, or the actor behind it.

Although no casting news has come out yet, last week saw the leaking of a casting sheet describing the main characters they had in mind. But before it goes to far, we wanted to throw our two cents in and give Hollywood and idea of what we’d like to see on the big screen.

The Concept:

Smallville worked because it delivered a new take on the classic Superman mythos, in effect delivering a 10-year long prequel to the story of Superman as the mainstream public knows it. But using that formula for Green Arrow wouldn’t work so well, as Oliver Queen has arguably no mainstream public awareness, not to mention matching the stature of Superman and Batman. By not having that built-up knowledge, the CW show needs to build the hero in the mind of the viewers — it’s a good thing archery has long been one of the most trusted and amazing skills in a film-maker’s arsenal.

For this, I would use eye-opening archery shots as a sizzle to open up a Joseph Campbell-esque “Hero’s Journey,” using the recent Green Arrow: Year One series as a template for a two-hour tv movie pilot. Some of you may be too young to remember it, but skilled archery was one of the key selling points for the Kevin Costner Robin Hood movie — capture that, in a modern 2012 context and you’d have something unique.

For Oliver Queen’s origin itself, it stands apart from the typical DC fare and is more in line with Marvel’s pathos — a slightly maligned person learning the error of their ways and having that last sin work as a furnace to forge a hero. Using that, while introducing Black Canary — first in her alter-ego Dinah Lance — as well as an extended cast such as Queen’s mom could really set-up a interesting show. Seeing a bow-wielding vigilante in the inner city streets would be something.

The Cast:

Green Arrow /Oliver Queen – Matt Barr: This 27 year old Texas native has made some blips on the radar cast in short-lived shows like Harper’s Island, Hellcats and the current Necessary Roughness remake on USA, but he’s yet to find a role to break him out into a leading man. He’s shown an edginess that could really work if channeled into the guise of Oliver Queen — van dyke or not.

Black Canary / Dinah Lance – Lucy Hale: After standing out in the short-lived Bionic Woman remake, Lucy Hale stepped into the leading light with the ABC Family series Pretty Little Liars. Although it may not be the kind of show most iFanboy readers would (admit) watching, it’s a interesting piece of teenage mystery/drama. Hale could definitely fit in perfectly as Black Canary. And for those chiming in to say Black Canary needs to be blonde, remember in the comics she’s a brunette who wore a blonde wig and later dyed her hair.

Tommy Merlyn – Chace Crawford: The aforementioned casting sheets puts Merlyn as the re-occuring antagonist of the prospective CW Arrow series, and I have no problem with that. But like Lex Luthor and the Joker, no one outside of comics know this Green Arrow arch-nemesis. I’d give actor Chace Crawford of Gossip Girl the chance to delve into the role. He’d need lots of screen time to get over, but I think he could really work in the ensemble.

Moira Queen – Polly Walker: If we skew a Green Arrow series to a younger Oliver Queen, I’d use the opportunity to bring in Oliver’s mother Moira as the controller of the Queen fortune and not so sure about her son’s return after seeming death. Rome actress Polly Walker could fill in this role perfectly, and really balance out the cast and amp up the intrigue of the show.


  1. Do me a favor. Don’t ever recommend any actors or actresses from an ABC family series again. Ever. EVER!! E-V-EE-RRRR! I’m starting to feel like Gary Oldman here. I cannot forgive the network that originally put Bristol Palin on TV. Damn Disney!

  2. The best thing DC could do for Green Arrow is get him out of the DCU. Same goes for a TV series in my opinion.

    Set it in a dystopian future where Oliver Queen uses the remains of fortune to help the less fortunate and, as Green Arrown, fight warlords would be more compelling.

    If the show’s set in a close facsimile to our modern times, I don’t think people will go for it. Too implausible.

  3. Base the first ep on green arrow year one and you’ve got me.

  4. Man thats awfull casting. It looks like you want the show to get the ax. Why not just put the fuy from smalville bacj in the role.

  5. The only superhero shows that actually work are those based on a successful serial formula that then adds a superhero element on top. Perfect example: Incredible Hulk that was juat The Fugitive with The Hulk added to it.

    Smallville worked because it was a ‘freak of the week’ show ala Buffy and now Lost Girl/Sanctuary and countless other sci-fi/fantasy shows, that was then simmered over a teenage angst/soap-style melodrama structure (ie the sort found in every vampire/werewolf show). That provided the serial framework on which you could hang superhero themes (in between the ‘which girl will he choose..?’ and ‘nobody understands me’ emo stuff). It was that structure that made it palatable for mainstream audiences.

    For this show to work they’re going to have to do the same. But what’s the drive of this show? What’s going to successfully serialise the episodes without making it a joke?

    Personally, I’d sell the show as a modern day Robin Hood story NOT a superhero who uses a bow story. Mainstream people know Robin Hood. They get him. He’s a bloke who steals from the rich and gives to the poor and adventure ensues. Make the stealing from the rich part the drive of the show, not the clever use of a bow and arrows thing cause that will be a lot harder to believe. Put him in a dark green leather jacket with a hood and the goggles and bandana around his face to hide his identity and then give him plenty of believeable gadgets but don’t feel any pressure to constantly have him using a bow in an urban environment, just have him stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.

    In that same vein I’d make the show a heist series much like Mission: Impossible. Every episode he has a rich company to break into or a hedge fund manager he has to bring to justice etc and he cases out the joint, puts his team together, and then does the mission with mixed results. To complicate things you’d have blokes like Arsenal etc show up and try to manipulate what’s ging on to their own advantage.

    It also means you can put together a ‘band of Merry Men’ to be regular guests on the show, other vigilante heroes who share Ollie’s mission and help him out, and then you can bring in Black Canary and other love interests etc when the need arises. Finally, because Barbara Gordon is no longer good enough to be Oracle I’d bring back Chloe as all-round tech guru and communication support as a regular to help narrate what’s going on and link all the characters. Make her Ollie’s ex, player that he is, and then create a love triangle between Canary, Ollie and Oracle that will have the requisite CW tick of approval.

    And then for a season you can throw Ollie in jail and we can get a season of that SuperMax movie that never got released.

    Whatever they do it will need to have a strong drive to it with a very efficient form of serialisation otherwise it won’t find an audience fast enough. But I haven’t really heard much that would suggest this was the case. I’d love to see it work but without the mainstream appeal this will lose potential viewers much faster than a Superman story will and end up like The Cape, No Ordinary Family et al.