The Green Arrow on TV and the Green Arrow in comics are almost totally different characters. In the comics and most animated media, Oliver Queen is a snarky, bleeding heart liberal superhero. But in The CW series Arrow starring Stephen Amell, Mayor Queen is a brooding vigilante who has flip-flopped on whether or not he should murder to achieve justice. This week, Amell argued that it’s just fine for the TV show to stray from the comics because that way it can tell fresh stories.
In a conversation with EW, Amell said, “It would be a pretty two-dimensional world if you simply followed with what the comic [has done].” Exhibit A — for Amell and Arrow — is the show’s treatment of one key character: Dinah Lance, aka Black Canary.
The Black Canary was originally Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), but her character was written off and replaced by Dinah (Juliana Harkavay) earlier this year. In modern comics canon, Laurel and Dinah are the same person, and that character has been in a longtime romance with Green Arrow. There’s no such spark between Dinah and Oliver, at least for now. “To me, it could happen, it could not, but it’s certainly not destined to happen or predesigned to happen,” Amell said.
The actor further argued for the show’s fan-favorite characters who were, for the most part, not direct adaptations from comic books. “There are elements that you find in a TV show that make the show what they are [like] Oliver’s relationship between Felicity and Diggle.” Diggle, played by David Ramsey and has his own subreddit, was an homage to Andy Diggle who wrote Green Arrow: Year One, which served as the basis for the series. Amell also brought up Thea Queen, played by Willa Holland, who does not exist in comics but has also become an important character in the Arrowverse.
In general, Arrow has played Lego with the Green Arrow’s comic book mythology, using and replacing elements here and there. But Amell assures that the show works closely with DC and that the publisher would have interfered if Arrow was doing something too drastic. “We’ve always consistently had the creative team behind DC as a partner, and they sign off on stuff for us,” said Amell. “If they thought that we were destroying their comics’ mythos, I’m pretty sure they would have said something by now.”
Arrow airs Wednesday nights on The CW.