One things fans can never complain about when it comes to the CW’s Arrow is a lack of DC Comics characters. Over the course of the show’s two seasons we’ve seen countless villains and heroes from the comics, and that trend will continue as we head into year three. We’ve already seen characters like Ray Palmer a.k.a. The Atom (played by Superman Returns‘ Brandon Routh), the New 52 version of Count Vertigo (Fargo‘s Peter Stormare) and Katana (Sin City‘s Devon Aoki) join the ranks, and now we have two more names to add to that list.
The first new addition is Ted Grant, a.k.a. Wildcat, a championship boxer who served as a mentor and trainer to several younger heroes, including Black Canary and Batman. He’s a seminal member of the Justice Society of America, and has been seen in several DC animated series like Justice League Unlimited and Batman the Brave and the Bold.
Arrow star Stephen Amell teased Grant’s appearance on the show about a month ago, when he posted an image of himself in costume standing in the middle of a boxing ring. We’re not sure how he comes into the show, how long he’ll stay, or who will play him, but he’ll have “some interaction with Laurel,” which means he’ll likely train her to become the new Black Canary.
Our second addition is a big one, as it’s been revealed that the “Big Bad’ of season three will be none other than Ra’s Al Ghul. We speculated that Ra’s would be the villain of the season based on a recent character description, but the news was finally made official late Saturday night at the DC Entertainment/WB TV panel in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con. According to executive producer Marc Guggenheim, it’s actually something the show has been building toward for quite some time. When speaking to reporters, he said:
“It really happened very organically in the sense that we had this notion that in episode 16 we were going to reveal that Malcolm Merlyn was trained by the League of Assassins and that’s because that’s because of the comic book. We were like, you know what we’re going to do? We’re going to get away with a little reference about a guy in Nanda Parbat who changed his life. That was just the beginning.”
Ra’s easter eggs started showing up in season two, after the introduction of the League of Assassins. According to Guggenheim, that’s when things really started to come into focus:
“We just slowly started creeping towards it and creeping towards it. Then discussions started happening with DC and then Superman-Batman started happening and getting into clear focus. The character seemed to be available, as far as not being used in the movies. It was a very, very organic progression. That was what was fun for us, just how natural it happened.”
Whoever plays Ra’s will have big shoes to fill, as the character was a major focus in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, and was played by Liam Neeson. Guggenheim says they’re definitely keeping the comparisons in mind and handling the character with caution.
“We have a really clever way of doing Ra’s this year that is true to the comic-book origins but different form the way Ra’s was portrayed in the Nolan movies. You don’t want to compete with Batman Begins, even though we’ve always said Batman Begins was a big influence on us. We really wanted our Ra’s to be very different – at least our own Arrow-fied version.”
To celebrate the big Ra’s reveal, the CW released a new promo for Arrow‘s third season, which is almost identical to the one released a few days ago, but with a nice Ra’s tease at the end. Check it out below and let us know what you think.
Are you excited to see characters like Ra’s Al Ghul and Wildcat making their way to Starling City? Who do you think should play them? Sound off in the comments below, and make sure to tune in to Arrow‘s season three premiere on Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 on the CW.