“Arrow,” the CW’s new superhero show about the iconic comic character Green Arrow is darker than the typical CW show. Premiering on Wednesday, Oct. 10 (8/7c), the premise involves the iconic Green Lantern/Oliver Queen character methodically working his way through a hit list of people who are responsible for his father’s death. (In this version of the Green Arrow story, his mother is still alive, and possibly evil.) Unlike “Revenge’s” Emily Thorne, his brand of payback involves killing his enemies. It’s a premise that has taken on a deeper resonance in light of the tragedy in Aurora.
Executive producer Marc Guggenheim emphasizes that the show will not glamorize violence, but will rather examine and critique it. “We’re certainly exploring the nature of vigilantism and one of the things that our storytelling affords us is the opportunity to really dig into those issues,” Guggenheim told reporters Monday at TCA. The show does not argue that violence is a valid way to solve problems. “One of the things that you’ll see in the early episodes is that The Arrow always gives bad guy of the week the opportunity to do the right thing. That’s certainly one of the moral guidelines we’re establishing but also when he kills, he’ll kill for necessity, for a reason. It’s not random violence.”
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Moreover, The Arrow will not be viewed as a hero by everyone. “He’ll also have characters that are coming into the universe that are questioning his moral judgments so we’ll face the issues of his morality head on,” Guggenheim added. “The fun, quite frankly, of dealing with a vigilante is dealing with all the different facets of that.”
The Arrow’s goals will soon evolve to be about a lot more than vengeance. “You’ll see pretty early on that while he has this list that drive the story, the bad guys of the week are not always the same,” said Guggenheim. “Part of Oliver’s evolution as a hero is moving from this mission of revenge to a mission of redemption. That means moving off the list and starting to help people and stop crimes and move away from just the agenda of righting his father’s wrongs to a more broad global agenda of ‘I have to save the city.’”
There will also be flashbacks to Oliver’s earlier life, in which his plane crashed on an island and he had to fend for himself, relying on his skills with a bow and arrow to survive. “There will actually be flashbacks in every episode,” Guggenheim admitted. Unlike “Lost,” the flashbacks will be linear. “Every episode will be telling the chronological story of what happened to Oliver on the island. So ideally by the last episode of the series, the very last flashback will be him seeing the boat that rescued the pilot. So we’re actually telling two stories at once in every episode. Every week is sort of its own origin story.”
Fans have wondered why Justin Hartley, who played Green Arrow on “Smallville” is not starring in this show. (Hartley stars in another new CW series, “Emily Owens M.D.“) Stephen Amell, who is known to CW viewers for playing Brady the werewolf on “Vampire Diaries” takes on the role. Said Guggenheim, “We certainly wanted to chart our own course.. Justin’s a terrific Arrow… Michael Keaton doesn’t affect your love of Christian Bale.”
“Arrow” premieres on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 8/7c on The CW.