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The CW’s Arrow may have the cardinal “no superpowers” rule, but that doesn’t mean that the Justice League’s Superman and Batman won’t have a presence on the freshman series.
From executive producers Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg, the Stephen Amell starrer revolves around Oliver Queen/Arrow, a hooded vigilante who returns home to Starling City 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.
The series is an adaptation of the long-running DC Comics title with backing from the comic publisher. “DC has been incredibly supportive and so open with us playing in their sandbox that we really do have a lot of access to some of their great characters,” Kreisberg tells THR.
Further proof starts Wednesday night when China White (Kelly Hu) makes her first appearance. The villain was featured in DC’s Green Arrow: Year One — one of DC’s Green Arrow arcs that the CW series draws from.
“We’re open to anything and everything; I’m not entirely sure you’ll be seeing characters like Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman because they’re much more fantastical and right now we’re focusing on Oliver Queen as being the only hero,” Kreisberg says. “That being said, we’re looking forward to bringing on other DC Comics characters and characters that people have never really seen before or lesser-known characters. That’s what’s been fun for us; Superman will always get his due.”
In addition to China White, Deadshot (Michael Rowe) and the Huntress (Jessica De Gouw) others booked to join the series at some point include Felicity Smoke (Britt Eckert) — a DC Comics character from the Firestorm universe who on the CW series will play IT girl at Queen Consolidated who brings on a lot of humor into the mix.
Guggenheim — who with Berlanti penned the Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern adaptation– says he’s open to bringing the Justice League into the fold in some fashion, even if Batman, the Flash, Green Lantern and company aren’t seen on screen.
“We’ve got a lot of different characters and then there are characters you may not recognize unless you’re a diehard comic book fan,” he says. “One of the things we’ve done, mainly because we’re fans, is we’ve thrown in a lot of Easter eggs for the hardcore fans. If you’re a big fan of the DC Comics universe, you’ll see a lot of familiar names and places: Big Belly Burger, which is a hamburger chain from the Superman comic books makes a regular appearance on our show and we have a Big Belly Burger franchise as one of our standing sets.”
Also be on the lookout to see Oliver outside of Starling City and venturing to other corners of the DC universe — which could include Batman’s Gotham City and Superman’s Metropolis.
“You’ll still hear about characters from those worlds and from those cities. We’re imagining a DC universe without super-powered characters but that doesn’t mean that in our parallel universe that there isn’t a Metropolis or a Gotham City,” Guggenheim says. “There are references to places like Corto Maltese (a wartorn island) and Markovia. I would listen and watch carefully if you’re a comic book fan because some of the references are really subtle and will go past a lot of people.”
Real fanboys will also pick up on nods to the comics and the creators behind them, Guggenheim notes. Among them: characters named after Andy Diggle, whose Green Arrow: Year One heavily influenced the CW’s take, and Longbow Hunters‘ Mike Grell.
“There’s a Judge Grell references in the pilot,” Guggenheim says. “In fact, Mike Grell drew the police sketch that Oliver is shown in the beginning of the third act of the show.”
For his part, Berlanti is open to anything and everything so long as it’s not a stunt.
“When we bring characters from the DC universe into the show, we’re careful about doing it right and having a reason to and not just doing it to say because we can bring in a specific character,” Berlanti says. “As time goes on, hopefully we’ll do some of the biggies.”
Star Amell, meanwhile, has his sights set on one iconic character. “I want to see General Zod, or at the very least Terrence Stamp in some way shape or form,” he says. “People have speculated that maybe Hal Jordan would show up in Starling City before he gets the ring. There are a ton of people that we could see.”
Which DC characters would you want to see on Arrow? Hit the comments with your thoughts. Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW.
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