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)