When someone says, “The Arrowverse,” they are clearly referring to the lineup of superhero shows that appear on the CW Network. Yet it gets the name Arrowverse because all of those shows come from the roots of its first show, Arrow. This show starred Stephen Amell in the title role of Oliver Queen. Amell became the patriarch of the shows and his impact is felt across each of them. Yet, there was the possibility that another actor could have first filled the role.
Justin Hartley (This Is Us) had previously played Oliver Queen on Smallville. With both shows set with CW, and given Hartley’s popularity in the role, Hartley felt like the logical choice to slide into the new series that would focus on the same character. However, those behind the series felt otherwise.
Smallville had already told Green Arrow’s origin story, explaining how Oliver’s parents died, and then had him marry Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack). The show also dealt with his own issues about the morality of killing, whereas Arrow‘s Oliver Queen had yet to go on any of these journeys.
Amell’s character, Arrow gave the writers and producers an opportunity to create new characters and new conflicts. By starting from scratch, Arrow was able to provide new stories that didn’t rely on Smallville.
Guggenheim noted the following comparison, adding, “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.”
Hartley was offered several cameos on Arrow, there was even a rumor that he was going to appear in the final episodes of the show as an Other Earth version of Oliver Queen, but he wasn’t able to make it work out scheduling-wise.
Although Amell had been cast as Oliver Queen on Arrow, he almost didn’t appear as the same character in the Arrowverse on Legend’s of Tomorrow. In an interview with Nerdist, Showrunner Phil Klemmer revealed that Stephen Lang, who is best known for playing Miles Quaritch (the antagonist in Avatar), was under consideration for the role. Klemmer told the publication, “There was a time where we were talking about what actor we were going to hire to play Oliver… We had casting sessions with all these strapping silver studs. It would have been totally fine if we had the Avatar actor, who played the villain, that guy (Stephen Lang) would have been a great 60-something Oliver Queen. But it all ended up working out so we could get Stephen and all the resources to make him legitimately look like a 60-year-old guy. That was the real achievement.”
There’s no doubt, it’s impossible to image anyone else as Oliver Queen than Stephen Amell. We’re certainly happy that he was chosen!
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Covering superheroes, anything dark, horror, and more! Lead writer for Fan Fest