Arrow Bosses: We're Taking the Super Out of Superhero
Stephen Amell | Photo Credits: Jack Rowand/The CW
Look up in the sky! It's an actual bird. And there's an actual plane! And there's a hooded figure jumping from one rooftop to another! Seems plausible? That's because in the world of The CW's Arrow, everything — even Oliver Queen's trick arrows — is grounded in a reality unlike anything viewers have seen on a superhero series before.
Let's just start off by shooing the metaphorical elephant out of the room: Arrow is not the new Smallville. Sure, both Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and Clark Kent are members of the Justice League, but the similarities between these shows end there. While Smallville focused on an alien on a path to becoming the world's savior, Arrow is set on a less epic scale, following the exploits of a wealthy playboy who was stranded on a deserted island for five years where he honed his archery skills to survive, birthing his alter ego, Arrow. Upon his return to civilization, Arrow will attempt to clean up Starling City while trying to get redemption for his (and his family's) mistakes.
Bringing a different superhero to life so soon after Smallville bid farewell to the same network hasn't been a challenge for executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg. In fact, they don't even see Arrow as a superhero. Through their eyes, this is a very different Oliver Queen from the one viewers saw on Smallville, especially since there will be no supervillains like General Zod or Brainiac running around.
But if there are no "superheroes" on Arrow, where does that leave the Justice League? To get the answer to that and many more burning questions, TVGuide.com sat down with Guggenheim and Kreisberg to talk all things Arrow, including how soon Dinah "Laurel" Lance (Katie Cassidy) will be stepping into those iconic Black Canary fishnets, which other comic-book characters may show up (Hint: Superman, no. Batman, maybe?) and more!
Why Green Arrow? Why choose him to follow in the footsteps of Superman on The CW?
Marc Guggenheim: Well, I think [executive producer] Greg [Berlanti] was the one who said, "Hey, how about Green Arrow?" I think his rationale, if we understand it correctly, was he's one of the untapped DC characters who's very iconic. He's a member of the Justice League. He obviously was on Smallville. But the nature of that character being a street-level hero really lends itself to television. It's a lot easier to do than Metamorpho or Superman, where it's visual effects and everything. It can be a very grounded story. We're always saying it's not a superhero show. It's a crime thriller, which is something you can't do with a more fantastical character.
The show will obviously draw comparisons to Smallville, but how do you keep Arrow grounded in reality?
Andrew Kreisberg: We don't think about the show as a superhero show. We think about it as a crime thriller and a crime drama and a family drama. The character of Oliver Queen that Justin Hartley played on Smallville was a reaction to Clark Kent and Superman, living in a fantastical world with fantastical characters. In our world, none of that exists. It's only Oliver Queen and his quest and his crusade. Just from that element of it, it's a very different take on the character. I mean it's the same sort of headlines, but the fine print is very, very different.