CW's Arrow Pilot Likened to Jason Bourne Films

Similar to how all eyes were on NBC’s Wonder Woman costume almost a year ago, comic-book fans now have their sights set on the pilot for The CW’s Arrow, which is being produced by Warner Bros. TV and stars Stephen Amell (Private Practice) as Oliver Queen aka Green Arrow.

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For one, leaked synopses of the pilot script have some purists calling into question tiny yet niggling changes, such as the setting being Starling City versus Star City. Similarly, Oliver’s onetime flame — and the ostensible one-day Black Canary — is going by Laurel Lance versus Dinah, while Ollie’s younger sister carries the nickname of “Speedy,” though Green Arrow’s eventual sidekick, in any incarnation, never was kin.

TVLine asked Warner Bros. TV president Peter Roth about such modifications, which of course bring to mind how the studio’s own Smallville often had to skirt certain references (out of deference to WB’s feature film division).

“We’re working very, very closely with DC [Comics],” Roth answered. “We’re making sure that each of the original characters are honored, are respected, and any changes that we make are being made with the sanction and endorsement of DC.”

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Arrow, as mentioned, is headlined by Amell, whose credits also include a run on HBO’s Hung. (Again we must remind: Justin Hartley was never in consideration, as this new series is not envisioned as a Smallville spin-off.) The cast also includes Katie Cassidy (Melrose Place) and Paul Blackthorne (Dresden Files) as Laurel and her police detective dad Quentin, Susanna Thompson (Once & Again) and Willa Holland (The O.C.) as Oliver’s mother Moira and sister Thea, and Colin Donnell (Pan Am) as Oliver’s best bud Tommy Merlyn.

Also, Jamey Sheridan (Law & Order: Criminal Intent) plays Oliver’s father, Robert, who is seen in flashback as the backstory of the gents’ ill-fated yachting expedition is recounted. That tragic, formative incident, from which Oliver spends five years recovering, sets the stage for the young millionaire’s mission of costumed, vigilante-style justice.

But in unspooling this new take on Green Arrow, will the pilot deliver Nikita-style grittiness or adopt a lighter, comic book-style feel a la Smallville? “I would say that, tonally, the show probably lives most closely – in terms of analogy – to the world of Jason Bourne,” Roth told us.

David Nutter, who has directed the pilots for shows such as Smallville, Supernatural, Dark Angel and Roswell, is set to helm Arrow‘s first outing.

Arrow begins production next week in Vancouver, British Columbia. (With reporting by Vlada Gelman)

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  1. Jake says:

    im ok with the changes their doing. if this was a new comic book coming out instead of a pilot for a show people wouldnt be complaining about those changes as much.

    • murley says:

      i disagree. if they relaunched the green arrow in the new 52 with dinah lance’s first name being changed or the city being switched to starling city i would have been really annoyed. i don’t mind alterations to the story or the origin to make it fresh and unique but arbitrary changes where you could instead pay tribute to the source material just get on my nerves. i am still going to check this show out and be open minded about because i am a comic book nerd and i hope end up enjoying this as much as i did smallville but little changes like the ones mentioned are definitely annoyances that i will have to get over in order to enjoy the show.

      • jericho says:

        “i don’t mind alterations to the story or the origin to make it fresh and unique but arbitrary changes where you could instead pay tribute to the source material just get on my nerves.”

        My sentiments exactly. There is no need to alter the little things that do not require it. There is a real reason why Smallville was accepted. Even though they changed fundamental things about the Superman world, they left the core alone. Every character was named correctly. Every core relationship was serviced in a manner that was an homage to the original material. By changing core names and “relationships” it may as well be called Red Pointer, the Chinese rip off that always eventually happens.

    • GGMustDie says:

      I’m not into Smallville or Green Arrow… for that matter (I enjoy superhero movies). However, I will check this out because I fully support the CW and I think that the show will become a HUGE HIT for them. As long as they pair the show with Nikita on Tuesdays (a female-driven night for ABC, FOX & NBC), two action packed shows may work out.

  2. Renee says:

    As long as they don’t do the shaky camera I’m good.

    • Danielle h says:

      THIS. I cannot watch so many shows on TV because the cameras shake or move tooo much. This is a terrible convention of newer TV.
      But.. I bet they will, which means that even though I really want to, I won’t be able to watch!

  3. Tucker says:

    The changes aren’t really has dramatic or detrimental to Ollie’s story has the naysayers are complaining they are. (Though, Dinah going by Laurel and working for an organization called CRNI does make me bristle a bit. The costume description also leaves a bit to be desired, though I’ll reserve judgment until we actually see pics of it.) This version sounds truer to the comics than Smallville‘s was, much as I enjoyed Justin Hartley in the part.

    Roth was a big champion of Smallville so it’s good to get such enthusiasm about the project from him. And I think a Bourne tone might work best for a Grell-inspired Green Arrow series.

  4. Little Scarf Girl says:

    Interesting. I don’t think it matters which name Dinah/Laurel/Black Canary goes by, although I was sort of hoping Roy Harper would show up at some point, so I’m not sure if the little sister having the nickname Speedy sort of nixes that. I liked The Bourne Identity, so that sounds good, too.

  5. Sarah says:

    Hmm, if it is tonally darker, I’m more into it. And I do like Katie Cassidy, she is a better actress than I gave her credit for, as evidenced by her short stint as Ruby 1.0 on Supernatural. But the biggest name to make me sway towards watching this is Paul Blackthorne. That Brit is just like a beacon and I go where there’s his signal.

  6. Shelly says:

    Glad to see David Nutter at the helm of the pilot! Sounds like this is one I might try.

  7. K says:

    Maybe Laurel has a cousin named Dinah who dies tragically and she changes her name as a tribute. I’m calling it the Linah theory. ; )

  8. Tony P says:

    I’m pretty sure Laurel is Dinah’s middle name. They are most likely using her middle name so the ahdience won’t confuse her with her mother whom also has the name Dinah.

  9. Josh says:

    So basically it’s devoid of an original ideas. How nice!

  10. pv says:

    Anyone else excited that the Borg Queen (Susanna Thompson) is going to be on this show? Lol

  11. sladewilson says:

    This is either going to be another huge hit or a colossal fail for the CW. They are playing somewhat fast and loose with the “orgin” and some characters. Plus no Roy Harper as Speedy? UGH… I actually liked the prison breakout script that was floating around better than this…

  12. Griffen says:

    Just because Speedy is being used by his sister doesn’t mean no Roy Harper. Roy has also gone by Red Arrow and Arsenal. They may just jump to one of his other names or even be called Speedy as an inside joke of being treated like he is as useful as Queens younger sister. I see nothing in here that says no Roy.