Although Stephen Amell was cast as a superhero, it wasn’t necessarily the one he would’ve picked. Asked Saturday at Seattle’s Emerald City Comicon which superhero he’d play if it were entirely his choice, the “Arrow” star name-dropped the Main Man.
“I’m gonna go with Lobo,” the Toronto-born Amell told a packed convention hall at the noon panel. “Lobo was my favorite comic as a kid. I loved Lobo. I was way too young to read it.”
In its first season, which began in 2012, “Arrow” returned Oliver Queen (Amell) to his native Starling City after five years on a Pacific island. He reappeared with a cut physique, deadly skills with a bow and a list of upper-crust ne’er-do-wells that needed killing. In the current, second season, Oliver has attempted to renounce deadly force, squaring him more with the nonlethal stunt archer of comics history.
The show’s success precedes several new DC Comics TV adaptations, which had threatened to go dormant with the end of “Smallville” in 2011. Now the CW action-drama has wedged open the door for “The Flash,” to air this fall on The CW, and “Gotham,” slated for Fox.
The show hinges on the remarkably physical Amell, 32, who arrived at the panel after shooting until 4:30 a.m. in nearby Vancouver, British Columbia, and then putting in a full morning autograph session for fans.
In an hour of genial give-and-take, Amell told fans that “Arrow,” with cooperative interaction from DC Entertainment, has grown beyond its original premise to deliver superhero action without the benefit of superpowers. That should be clear from this season’s guest shot from Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), originally intended as a backdoor pilot for the “Flash” show.
“When I sat down with the executive producers after the first season, they said, ‘You know that no-power rule?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ ‘Well, we’re not gonna stick with that anymore.'”
Also gone, apparently, for the time being: Oliver Queen’s repeated condemnation, “You have failed this city!”
“I miss saying that line,” Amell said. “I do. I’m bugging the producers. We’re hopefully gonna find a way to work it into the show sometime in the next season.”
Amell’s physique, and the workout showcased in “Arrow’s” credits on what one fan called “the bar chin-up lift thingy” (it’s actually a salmon ladder), were the subject of several questions. Many fans wanted to know how he maintains his fitness.
“First, you have to be faced with the prospect of being shirtless in front of millions of people on television,” he said. “It’s a very particular and paralyzing type of fear. So that in and of itself works up your metabolism.
“Secondarily,” said the new father, “I get to carry around an infant all the time. Good for arms. Really good for arms.”
He also tries to ensure that in those workout montages, it’s all Amell, all the time.
“Every once in a while, they’ll want it not to be me, and so my workaround there is, ‘Well, I’m gonna do it shirtless.’ They have a stunt double, but not a body double, right? ‘Cause, how could they?”
After the “Arrow” pilot won the show a series greenlight, Amell buried himself in multiple comics interpretations of Green Arrow, including Andy Diggle’s “Green Arrow: Year One” and Mike Grell’s “The Longbow Hunters” miniseries and “Green Arrow” monthly series. He sought to be fully aware of the universe Oliver Queen inhabits.
“You don’t want to be too measured and look like you’re telegraphing something,” he said, “but at the same time you want to know what’s out there in the world and what’s existing.”
With movement in the DC film franchises toward a “Justice League” adaptation, Amell has let it be known he’d like to again embody Green Arrow on the big screen — even as he remains dedicated to his weekly show.
“I’m completely overly competitive,” he admitted. “And the thought of somebody else playing Oliver Queen makes me want to smash that head through that table. But for the time being, it’s very difficult for me to look past filming our 22nd episode of the season right now.”
But if approached, he said, “I would definitely be open. And I appreciate all the support.”