Stephen Amell Explains How The Dark Knight Inspired Arrow

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It’s hard to think back to a time before superhero TV shows were everywhere, but when Arrow first debuted on The CW in 2012, the comic book television boom had yet to fully begin. As such, the show had to work hard to convince audiences that it was a proper drama and not just for family audiences. The result was a first season that was as gritty as the genre had ever been.

It’s unsurprising, then, that star Stephen Amell has now revealed that Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight was a huge influence on the tone and aesthetic of Arrow when it first began. While speaking at Heroes and Villains Fan Fest London, Amell talked about how the seminal Batman sequel inspired the directorial choices on the show, in particular.

“When the show started the inspiration for the first season was absolutely, positively The Dark Knight. When I was sitting in [Arrow pilot director] David Nutter’s office, it was just photos of The Dark Knight. That was the inspiration for the first season.”

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to any Batman-savvy Arrow fan, as DC lovers have often poked fun at how much the series draws from the Dark Knight’s mythos over the years. Characters usually related to the Caped Crusader, such as Ra’s Al-Ghul and his League of Assassins – recognizable from Nolan’s Batman Begins – have even featured in major roles, for example.

Over time, Arrow has arguably lost its gritty edge, but it looks like new showrunner Beth Schwarz has worked hard to bring it back for the upcoming seventh season. That’s because the new run will see Oliver Queen far from his best, as he’s locked up in jail and forced to fight to survive while he’s surrounded by the villains he put in prison in the first place.

Be sure to catch Arrow season 7 – perhaps with a renewed Nolan-esque tone – when it returns to The CW on Monday, October 15th.

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