Comic-Con 2012: Things Are About to Get Real with Arrow

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The CW has a potential new hit franchise in Arrow, a drama based on the DC Comics character that also appeared on the network's Smallville. The hero will share some backstory with the classic comic version, for instance, both washed up on an island after a shipwreck and that experience shapes their future. But the men behind the show want to make one thing clear: this is a very different take on a classic, and where the Green Arrow you're familiar with is more Peter Pan than Robin Hood, this Arrow is down and dirty and up to his neck in the real world.

"There are no superpowers, there are no aliens," said co-creator Andrew Kreisberg. "We really took a page out of Chris Nolan's The Dark Knight, you know giving a basis a reality for all of the characters, even Batman. We say that Oliver's only superpower is that he's not afraid to die. And if you're not afraid to die, you can do amazing things. We looked more to Jason Bourne and Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible as our template for the character more so than previous incarnations of The Green Arrow."

And like Nolan's Batman, Kreisberg hopes that their take is equally accepted by old fans and new fans alike. "[It's] like with what Chris Nolan and Joe Nolan did with Batman, taking familiar characters or characters that people have seen 100 times and putting a grittier realistic take on the characters. DC Comics has been amazing about letting us play in their playground, and we're going to have characters not just associated with The Green Arrow but other characters in the DC Universe appears but in a way that you've never seen them before. If you're [already] a fan, you're going to be excited, but if you're not a fan, you'll be coming into it fresh."

That difference comes from the characters' humanity. These won't be people bounding from building to building and putting their day-glo leotards and capes to the test with one-liners and fans gawking at their heroics. These will be real people doing extraordinary (but within the realm of reality) things, promises co-creator Marc Guggenheim. In fact, Oliver Queen will never be referred to as The Green Arrow or Arrow in Season 1, though police scanners might give him nicknames like "Hood" or that dude who keeps shooting bad guys with arrows. And any familiar character from the DC Universe will be treated similarly.

Each of the creators also told us about the flashback structure of the show. Guggenheim estimated that the show would be about 80 or 90 percent in real time and 20 or 10 percent flashing back. Ideally, the first season will cover Queen's time on the island until a particularly monumental moment, and Guggenheim was practically giddy about a five-year plan for the flashbacks. He also stressed the idea of the story on the island thematically matching what is happening in the present with Queen as the vigilante. I'm all on board for that!

And what of new uber-hunk Stephen Amell as the title character? I can confirm that he is indeed super-hunkish and chiseled out of the bedrock of Mount Olympus, as well as well spoken and intelligent in case you ladies actually hear the words that come out of your mouth. The Toronto-born actor was featured in Hung but couldn't wait to star in the show, turning other offers down because of Arrow's darker tone and the way it would push his physical limits. And in all but three scenes in the pilot, it's him doing the stunts (insurance issues limited him from doing everything, but he claims he can what his stunt doubles did). Yes, the man with the Tahoe Lake blue eyes and Tahoe mogul abs can also fire off insane amounts of pull-ups like a PX90 video on fast forward and jump off walls like a Parkour champ. He's a star in the making.

Look for Arrow this October on The CW.


Psst! Check out our complete Comic-Con coverage for the latest news, photos, and more.

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