TCA 2012: 'Arrow' Cast, Creators on Changes to the Mythos and 7 More Things to Know About the CW Drama

Arrow Pilot Episodic - H 2012
Jack Rowand/The CW

Arrow Pilot Episodic - H 2012

The CW's take on DC Comics' Green Arrow will use the long-running series as a jumping off point but won't strictly adhere to the mythos, the cast and creators told reporters Monday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour.

"We're definitely taking a lot of inspiration from Green Arrow: Year 1 and Green Arrow: The Long Bow Hunters," executive producer Marc Guggenheim told reporters of the inspiration for the series.

The comics, first created in the 1940s, have featured scores of different takes on the vigilante with producers using the those two series as a jumping off point and adding they've already injected drastic changes to the series about a vigilante in search of redemption.

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The CW's take stars Stephen Amell as Oliver/Arrow, a hooded vigilante who returns home five years after being presumed dead from a boating crash to carry out revenge upon the people who have transformed his hometown from the sprawling city it once was.

Producers noted they've already made some drastic changes to the mythos -- including keeping (spoiler alert!) both of Oliver's parents alive and giving the only child from the comics a younger sister.

"Green Arrow has an origin that's subject to a lot of interpretation," Guggenheim said. "We always start with the comic as our source of inspiration."

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Producers noted that they aren't worried about bringing a second version of the character to the CW -- following the Arrow/Oliver portrayed by Justin Hartley on the network's Smallville. Audiences, they said, are savvy enough to make the leap -- as they are with changes to other famed superheroes including Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and even James Bond. 

"We certainly wanted to chart our own course and destiny," Guggenheim said. "Michael Keaton doesn't affect your love for Christian Bale and Christian Bale doesn't affect your love for Adam West."

Here are seven more things to know about the upcoming CW action-drama.

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1. Amell, who read Superman, Lobo and Spawn comics as a kid, was the first person to come in and audition for the part. "After we met Stephen and he auditioned, everyone else paled by comparison," executive producer Andrew Kreisberg said. "Every step of the way it was Stephen … he was always Oliver Queen to us."

2. Speaking of superhero pedigree: Amell trained for the physically intensive role with the guy who was Henry Cavill's stunt double in Man of Steel where contestants for American Ninja Warrior work out.

3. After training for the role, Amell and company sent exec producer Greg Berlanti footage of what he was able to do -- which led to the salmon ladder scene depicted in the pilot. "It's a chin-up with a dance move," says Amell, who does a lot of his own stunts. "As a producer, it's a little frightening when your star is doing a quarter of his stunts; it's a little daring but it's what makes the show unique," Berlanti notes.

4. Arrow will explore the nature of vigilantism but it's really a story about redemption and executive producers said there won't be violence just for the sake of it. "Arrow always gives the bad guy of the week the opportunity to do the right thing, that's one of moral guidelines we're allowing," Guggenheim said. "When he kills, it's for necessity, it's not random violence. He'll have characters come into the universe that question those."

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5. Speaking of vengeance, Arrow has a list of people he's targeting but the series isn't a bad guy of the week effort. "The list is the jumping off point," Guggenheim allowed. "Circumstances aren't always the same; part of Oliver's evolution of a hero is moving from his mission of revenge to redemption and to help people and stop crimes and moving away from just the agenda of righting his father's wrongs to helping to save the city."

6. Producers and Katie Cassidy, who co-stars as Oliver's ex-girlfriend Dinah "Laurel" Lance, were coy when asked outright if she would follow in the comics' footsteps and become Black Canary. "Maybe!" is all Berlanti would allow.

7. There will continue to be flashbacks in every episode. Kreisberg noted Arrow is telling two stories: one set in the present day and the one set on the island where Oliver remained for five years and transformed into Arrow. "Every episode will be telling the chronological story of the island," he said. "Ideally by the last episode of the series, the last shot will be the boat coming for Oliver and being rescued."

Arrow premieres Oct. 10 on the CW.

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