It was only a few weeks ago when Oliver Queen, the hero of the CW television series Arrow, dropped a Batman-sized bombshell, where he mentioned “Bruce Wayne” in the second episode of Arrow Season 6. Now, actor Stephen Amell reveals the idea was his, and that it was a bit of a fight with DC and Warner Bros. in order to make it happen.
In a press conference with reporters on Wednesday, Amell revealed what went on behind the scenes for Arrow to have its own off-screen Batman (or at least, his alter-ego). Originally, the script — which was given to the actors just before San Diego Comic-Con in July — called for a celebrity to be named instead (Amell thinks it was Justin Bieber, but admits he can’t remember for sure). That’s when Amell found “a cool opportunity” to expand the scope of the Arrowverse.
“I’ve always thought that our iteration of Oliver Queen and the way that we built this character, obviously, has so many similarities to Bruce Wayne and Batman, and so much of the inspiration for the early parts of our show was taken from the [Christopher] Nolan [Batman movies],” says Amell.
After running his idea to name Bruce Wayne in the show with executive producer Greg Berlanti, Berlanti told Amell to talk to DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, telling him, “You’ll probably have better luck than I would.” At Comic-Con, wound up talking to Warner Bros. executives, including Peter Roth (WB TV President), Diane Nelson (WB Interactive Entertainment President), and Kevin Tsujihara, the CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment.
“I was like, ‘Guys, I have an idea! It will cost you nothing, I think it’d be really fun. It opens the door to a lot of possibilities,’” Amell recalls telling the executives. “I have this holy trinity [of executives] in front of me, and I pitched this idea. I’ve got all my follow-up points, and Kevin Tsujihara just goes, ‘Yeah, sure.’ I said, ‘Really?’ He said, ‘Yeah, that sounds fun. Do that.’ So we did it.”
Beyond being an actor on a popular TV show, Amell has thought out what it really means to have an unseen version of Bruce Wayne in his corner of the DC Universe. “I’ve always thought that Bruce Wayne would be an interesting ally on the show and an even more interesting villain — to Oliver, which … just means that they don’t like each other,” Amell told reporters, who also didn’t think the scene would be used anyway. “I didn’t actually believe that it would make it until I actually saw it in the locked cut!”
As of now, there are three live-action Batmen somewhere in movies and TV. There’s Ben Affleck, who stars as Batman/Bruce Wayne in Justice League, and David Mazouz, who stars as a young Bruce Wayne on the FOX television series Gotham. With Arrow inhabiting a separate continuity, its version of Bruce Wayne may not even be Batman. But Bruce wouldn’t be a good Batman if everyone knew his secret identity.
Arrow airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. Eastern on The CW.
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