Arrow Casts Aussie Riddick Actor as the Ruthless Ra's al Ghul — What Advice Does Liam Neeson Offer?

Arrow Ra's al Ghul Cast

Aussie actor Matt Nable has landed the pivotal recurring role of DC Comics villain Ra’s al Ghul, in Arrow Season 3.

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The leader of the League of Assassins and father to Nyssa al Ghul (played on Arrow by Katrina Law), Ra’s (as I call him) is described as “proud and unforgiving, a ruthless strategist, a master of martial arts, and a shaper of history.” He carries the wisdom of the ages, and protects some of its greatest secrets.

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Nable — whose credits include the big-screen action flick Riddick and the Aussie crime drama Underbelly — will make his Arrow debut in Season 3, Episode 4, which is titled “The Magician” and also marks the CW hit’s 50th episode to date. A onetime rugby player, when his pro career ended he took up boxing and fought for the “state light-heavyweight title as an amateur” in England.

Liam Neeson, who played Ra’s al Ghul in Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, recently told MTV he’d revisit the role on TV “in a heartbeat, if it came my way.” But short of that, he advised any small-screen successor to “believe in [the character's] philosophy,” saying: “Ra’s al Ghul absolutely believed what he was doing was ultimately saving civilization.”

Arrow Season 3 premieres Wednesday, Oct. 8 at 8/7c.

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41 Comments
  1. Ritch says:

    I wanted Liam Neeson :'(

    • L says:

      I’m sure they couldnt afford him, and he probably wouldnt want to do it.

      • Newo says:

        actually Neeson was quoted just this week saying “No, I haven’t [been approached], I haven’t at all. I would, in a heartbeat, if it came my way, yeah, very much so.”

        • Playhouse says:

          I’m still not convinced, in watching the video and the way that the question was presented, that Neeson was fully aware that he was being asked about a TV show. It seemed like that part of it got lost in the shuffle. I think he ended up just hearing about being asked to do the part again and if he would consider it.

      • Jean says:

        Actually, he said he would act on Arrow. “I would, in a heartbeat, if it came my way, yeah,” actor Liam Neeson told MTV News about playing the role on “Arrow.”, but having him should be really expensive and movies and series are separated universes (at least for now). Also, he said that a few days ago, when the creators of Arrow were already casting. If you don’t believe this, google is your best friend :)

    • Caitlin says:

      If he first appears in episode 4, that means he was cast before Liam Neeson said he would do it. Even though they didn’t announce that Matt Nable would be Ra’s, they filmed episode 4 weeks ago.

  2. Drew says:

    Or is this just another one of the people that Ra’s has pretending to be him? I still think that they should find a way to get Liam Neeson onto the show, since he seemed up for it.

    • Tess says:

      Wouldn’t that be a nice twist… I mean, I’m sure the guy they did get is fine and all, but surely if Liam Neeson was on the show it would raise their cred quite a bit. I can only assume the casting director never approached him because they never for a second thought he would be someone they could actually get. And sure he said he’d love to do it but it’s plausible that he may not even have been available for as many episodes as they would’ve needed him for too… but still, would’ve been amazing if they could’ve gotten Neeson and if it were still possible then throwing in that sort of twist would be just fine with me!

  3. JoeTV says:

    Liam Neeson or Oded Fehr would have been better, but I’m willing to trust in the writers.

  4. first time I hear of this actor, I hope he does great tribute to the wonderful villain is Ra’s al Ghul, I believed that the revelation were going to be later in the season, but it’s good that the legend has a new face and I want to know how he will be introduction

  5. Yasmin says:

    Bravo for whitewashing another character. UGH. Terrible casting.

    • Patrick says:

      Two freaking times a white guy plays a character named Ra’s al Ghul. *shakes head* dumb casting choice AGAIN.

      • Drew says:

        Why care about this any more than when they made Pete Ross black or Lana Lang Asian on “Smallville”?

        Wait, was she Asian? I never got whether or not we were supposed to notice that she wasn’t white.

        • Kacey McNatt says:

          Don’t forget people complained when the Kingpin was black as well. People act like they never have gotten a character wrong before.

    • wordsmith says:

      Depending on how they style him, I think he could pass for vaguely Arabian. And I wouldn’t say that Ra’s has traditionally been drawn in a particularly ethnic way.
      If they went blonde and blue-eyed, I might complain, but I can live with this.

  6. Moment says:

    How eerie, we were only just talking about this yesterday, and this guy gets announced.

  7. Alan says:

    underbelly is not a sitcom, unless they recently redefined what the word meant, its a crime drama.

  8. Alan says:

    neeson was never going to be anywhere near the role and anybody complaining about that set themselves up for disappointment by thinking that was anything other than neeson giving some platitudes in public so he doesnt look bad.
    anyway oded fehr is perfect for the role, i really feel like they are missing out with this casting.

  9. Dominique says:

    literally everyone an dhis grandmother wanted oded fehr for this role… as did I. I don’t know Matt Nable, but I trust the casting directors on this one.
    Still upset tho that Oded wasn’t cast.

  10. joao says:

    even if they could afford liam neeson, i’m sure his screen time would have to be minimized (because well, successfull movie actor with very difficult schedule to work with) and I think everyone wants ra’s al ghul to be a big part of the season

  11. Lou says:

    NO. Just no. This is so wrong, not least because he’s not old enough to play Nyssa’s father.

  12. Joey Padron says:

    Looking forward to see how actor does as Ra al Ghul on Arrow. It would have been cool if Liam got to play the character again.

  13. Luis says:

    The CW couldn’t afford Liam Neeson, at this point.

  14. JC1 says:

    Very disappointed with this casting. :(

  15. MP says:

    How do you all pronounce Ra’s? I love Arrow, but am not a comic book person and when I looked up Ra’s online people seemed to pronounce it differently.

    • Josh says:

      either Ra-s, or Raysh. and i think they make a point of pronouncing it both ways on the show as well.

      • Delirious says:

        I’d say it depends… I’ve always thought the proper way was “Raysh Al Gool”, but I’ve heard it as “Rahs Al Gool” in some places, even DC-related. And of course, it depends on the country, here in Spain, it’s normally pronounced “Rahs”. But I’d assume both are OK.

  16. Josh says:

    and another american tv role goes to an aussie.

    oh and that picture might make him seem very white, but if you look up his aussie credits, he actually does have a little bit of darker, indigenous blood in him. Can easily see him being related to Katrina Law.

    • Alicia says:

      I’m less worried about whether he is going to be played as Arabic or not, but rather can they make me believe that he is old enough to have a thirty year old daughter.

      • Josh says:

        well the lazarus pits will probs be a thing in the show (they werent in the “realistic real world” dark knight movies…

        it will be interesting to see the way matt nable portrays the character. i think he will be playing older/wiser/smarter in demeanour, even if his physical age doesnt support it. thats a guess though, im fascinated by what theyll do.

      • Rob Watkins says:

        Ra’s age is moot. He has the Lazarus Pits which bring him to the age where he was his physical peak. I’d also like to note that Nyssa is a lot older than she looks. In the comics she has also been in the Lazarus Pits. If I recall correctly, she’s around 200 years old

  17. Covell11 says:

    Liam Neeson would have been great and since TDK trilogy is separate from the new DC movies it would’ve been cool to create some continuity by using him without sacrificing what they are trying to accomplish now. Still Matt Nable stood toe to toe with Vin Diesel without looking like a chump physically in Riddick so you know he has presence and he really has this steely look to him like a new school Charles Bronson. The producers of Arrow/Flash have earned my faith with casting decisions so nothing but high hopes ad plus side he cannot be as in demand as Neeson so maybe after they are done with him we can get a little spin off or tv movie going with him, and the league of assassins. Bring back Katrina Law and reunite her with Manu Bennet as Deathstroke(Spartacus) and you have a great cast..maybe even set it a couple years down the road and cast someone as Damien even if they only throw out occasional references to the Detective/spem donor

  18. Josh says:

    i kinda was hoping they cast neeson (although it was never gonna happen logistically…) because even though DC movie-verse and tv-verse are different. I do however think that TDK trilogy and the tv verse could have been in the same universe and would have been a great way to do fan service.

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