Oliver Queen has been a popular character in comics since his inception back in 1941. He’s had some incredible storylines that have stood the test of time and still manage to impress in the modern era. The Longbow Hunters still proves to be a favorite amongst many fans. Kevin Smith, Mike Grell and Judd Winick are just some of the creative forces behind some classic Green Arrow stories. There’s just something about the Emerald Archer that continuously brings fans in. His current run in DC Rebirth is proving to be incredibly successful, whilst also paving new roads for the character.
So it’s no surprise that his live action series is proving just as successful. In fact, The CW managed to create a whole universe out of the show, bringing The Flash, the Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl into the fold. But because the shows have to be relatively family friendly whilst also being grounded, there are plenty of things that don’t make it into the live action. Because Oliver has such a long comic book history, some of those things are silly character moments that go back to the Golden Age and others are more controversial. Here are 15 things The CW don’t want you to know about Green Arrow.
15 PROMETHEUS BLEW UP STAR CITY
During the explosive season five finale, Prometheus made Oliver’s life become extremely complicated. He even killed himself so that the bombs he’d planted across Lian Yu would explode with all of Oliver’s friends still trying to make their escape. Ultimately, he didn’t really do that much damage -- the only people that died were Malcolm Merlyn and William’s Mother. Oh well.
But during the ‘Cry For Justice’ storyline, Prometheus’ plan concluded in the destruction of Star City itself. His plan used devices that would transport various cities through time, meaning that millions of people would be lost. But the device in Star City malfunctions and destroys the majority of Green Arrow’s home aswell as killing Red Arrow’s daughter. The stakes were definitely higher during the Justice League comics.
Where would Oliver Queen be without John Diggle? Dead most likely. The two have formed a brotherly bond over the course of the last five seasons of Arrow. They’ve saved each other countless times, and have pushed each other to be better people. And thanks to Oliver, Diggle even has his own vigilante code name, Spartan. But he’s not actually a comics character.
He was written specifically for the live action series. Although luckily, DC decided to bring him into the fold during The New 52. He and Felicity (who rejoined the comics in a role similar to the TV series) actually recruited other superheroes to help Oliver when he was going up against a powerful enemy. It seems that these three characters do work best when they’re together. Diggle has also made a reappearance during the DC Rebirth Green Arrow stories.
We’re not saying that Green Arrow is a similar character to Batman, but he kind of is. They do share some noticeable similarities; human without powers, extremely wealthy, dead parents and they both dress up in costumes to fight crime. Their personalities couldn’t be more different, but their toys are also similar.
Batman has the ‘Batmobile’, Green Arrow has the ‘Arrowcar’. It had various gadgets and modifications to aid Ollie in his crime fighting career. It even included ejector seats in case of emergency. We prefer Ollie’s method of swinging between buildings with his arrows though, much cooler. Plus, there’s the added safety of not having to deal with traffic and pedestrians. It would be a lot cheaper too, given how many times Ollie had to buy a new car after each one got wrecked.
12 BILLIONAIRE, PLAYBOY, ARCHEOLOGIST?
We all know Oliver Queen’s back story. He was a famous billionaire who came from an extremely wealthy family with many businesses under Queen Industries. After he’s shipwrecked on an island, he has a change of heart after being forced to survive, becoming the Green Arrow. But what if his origin was more family friendly?
Back in the Golden Age of comics, it was actually Roy Harper who became stranded on an island, not Oliver Queen. Ollie was actually an archaeologist with specialist knowledge of Native American history. To escape a group of criminals after they burnt his museum to the ground, Ollie travelled to the same island that Roy was stranded on. The two fought off the assailants using bows and arrows, deciding to take up the fight against crime using their new skills. Jack Kirby went on to change the origin during the Silver Age.
11 STARFISH ISLAND
Over the course of the Arrow TV series, we’re frequently shown flashbacks of Oliver’s time on the island that he was shipwrecked on. It’s shown to be a brutal and unforgiving land, filled with dangers that Ollie has to navigate in his attempt at redemption. It’s called Lian Yu, also known as purgatory. So it’s a pretty bleak place.
What isn’t so bleak, is the name it has in the comics. Ollie was originally stranded on ‘Starfish Island’. We’re sorry, but that sounds like the type of place that the playboy Oliver Queen would buy during a drunken night out and forget by the next morning that he bought an island. Lian Yu/Purgatory is a much more intimidating name than ‘Starfish Island’. One sounds terrifying, and the other sounds like a beach resort.
10 ROBERT QUEEN
And no, we’re not talking about Oliver’s dad. We’re actually talking about his son, also called Robert Queen. In the aftermath of The Longbow Hunters, it was revealed to Oliver that Shado had actually given birth to his son. She explained the controversial nature of how the baby was conceived, but told Ollie that he was to have no part in his life.
That was until the comics revealed that he had Leukemia. Working with Dr. Sivana, Shado was tricked into believing the villain could help. But he actually aged up the young Robert to being 17 years old and that his leukemia had been cured. It also led to Connor Hawke being given to Dr. Sivana, leaving him in a near braindead state. It’s not easy being the son of Oliver Queen, clearly.
9 ADDICTIVE SIDEKICKS
Green Arrow, like many superheroes, had a sidekick that eventually broke away from his father figure. Green Arrow worked with Speedy, aka Roy Harper, whilst the sidekick also worked on the Teen Titans. But like all partnerships, it had to come to an end. But it did so in a very controversial way.
Roy Harper became addicted to Heroin. Tragically, the sidekick was pushed away by Green Arrow and the Titans. Black Canary was the one to keep him upright until he got through withdrawal, but he was left to his own devices from there. And although we saw a very conflicted Speedy during the Arrow series, (including Thea) they never took it that far. Fortunately, after some time working alone, he took on the ‘Arsenal’ identity and became a vigilante once again.
When Arrow introduced us to Danny Brickwell, he wasn’t exactly like the comics villain of the same name. Vinnie Jones took the place of all the gangsters and criminals that had been murdered and arrested across Oliver’s attempt to rid Star City of crime. But he didn’t have the rock hard skin and red coloured appearance that the comics version had. But during the comics, the two enemies are almost friends.
During ‘One Year Later’, the villain was actually something of a vigilante. He patrolled the Glades and the rest of the city ruins defeating crime he didn’t find appropriate. Especially rooting out the drugs that were wiping out his customers. Because of this Green Arrow and Brick had something of an uneasy truce, knowing that he could be a force for good occasionally.
7 ROBERT AND MOIRA QUEEN WERE KILLED BY LIONS
TV shows strive to create drama and storylines that truly push their characters to the brink. And when Robert Queen killed himself during the very first episode of Arrow, it showed the desperation of Oliver as he was alone on the island. And when Deathstroke returned, he murdered Moira Queen right in front of Thea and Oliver. It was heartbreaking.
But had they followed the original deaths of the characters we wouldn’t have had those dramatic moments to drive Ollie forward. In fact they’d have both died at the same time, being mauled by lions. It’s not the most grounded of deaths, so it’s understandable that the series chose to stay away from it.
6 A LEAGUE OF HIS OWN
Oliver Queen, social justice warrior. He knows what he is and isn’t afraid to play into it. But sometimes he does need a helping hand. During DC Rebirth recently, he definitely needed the help of the Justice League, and they stepped up to save him. He even managed to impress them so much that they offered him a spot on the team.
But he declined. He works best on his own, and even confessed that he wasn’t a great team player. They do come to a compromise in which he’ll be something of a ‘rogue operative’ if they need him. But he doesn’t make the commitment of being in the official roster of the superhero team. Essentially, Oliver Queen does not want to rely on anyone else other than himself.
5 TRAINING PARTNERS
Arrow connected Oliver Queen and Slade Wilson in a genuinely compelling way. As a shipwreck survivor who has no training experience at all, Slade whips the former playboy into shape. He teaches him unique fighting skills and also they bond together in a near brotherly way. But in the comics, Oliver Queen had a different mentor, but was still tied to Slade.
Looking to enhance his skills, Oliver meets a man named Natas who brutally beats him in every single fight that they have. It’s revealed that he’s the man who trained Deathstroke himself. He shows the hero how killers think and fight so that he could predict how a fight was going to play out as well as how to counter their moves. Although it takes some time, eventually Natas teaches Green Arrow the skills he needs to be a formidable fighter.
4 BETWEEN THE EYES
During ‘Cry For Justice’, Prometheus set in motion a plan that would end up wiping out thousands of people and causing near irreparable damage to Star City. But Prometheus was allowed to go free so that other cities wouldn’t be affected by the devices he’d planted.
But Green Arrow wouldn’t let him get away with it that easily. Once the villain had crawled back to his lair, Ollie snuck up on him. He does what he does best, and fired an arrow right through Prometheus’ head. After all, he did deserve it. But after Oliver took on the vow of not killing anyone else, it would seem pretty irresponsible for him to then murder Prometheus. After all, he’s learnt to be a better hero as well as a better person because of it.
One of the biggest draws of Green Arrow is that like Batman, he’s a regular person. He doesn’t have any superpowers, enhanced senses or cybernetic enhancements (aside from The Dark Knight Returns of course). And sure, the majority of us may not have the resources to have all the gadgets and cool cars that Ollie has, but theoretically we could learn archery to a master level.
Or could we? Because the DEO seem to think that because of Green Arrow’s incredible archery skills, that his senses must be heightened in some way. He can shoot 29 arrows within a minute. He’s able to fire his arrows down the barrels of guns whilst leaping from rooftops. It’s not hard to see why the DEO might come to the conclusion. But don’t expect to see Oliver as a metahuman in live action or in comics anytime soon.
One of the biggest storylines during the Arrow series has been that Oliver Queen is a killer. During the first two seasons he was killing henchmen left and right whenever he engaged in a fight. He’d do it without even thinking. Killing came back to bite him during the fifth season when a victim’s son came for revenge. But Oliver Queen once killed one of his best friends intentionally.
Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen had been best friends for years, they’d been through some incredibly dramatic events together. But when Hal had become Parallax and was driven mad, Ollie had to shoot him in the chest to stop the nightmare of a rogue Green Lantern. And although the series wants us to know how formidable but conflicted Ollie is, they don’t want us to think he’s capable of murdering his best friends.
1 SHADO ASSAULTED HIM
During the Arrow series, we were introduced to Shado as a love interest for both Oliver and Slade, although she didn’t reciprocate feelings for Deathstroke. The relationship between Oliver and Shado is cut short when Professor Ivo shoots her. But after The Longbow Hunters, their relationship was extremely different.
When Oliver managed track down Shado when being blackmailed by the CIA, but she shot him with an arrow thinking that he was there to kill her. He was in and out of consciousness as she healed his wounds, and proceeded to sleep with him. She said at a later date that she had no idea that he wasn’t completely conscious throughout. That is until he said Dinah’s name instead of hers. It’s clear that he wasn’t completely compliant. This is when Shado conceived their son, Robert.