About two months ago at PaleyFest, Arrow executive producer Andrew Kreisberg was asked which characters from DC Comics’ roster of heroes he’d like to see on the show. Almost immediately, Kreisberg answered:
“Dick Grayson and Nightwing were always my favorite. I doubt we’ll ever get to that point. The bat-universe will never coincide with ours, but Nightwing would be my fantasy.” (Source: Comic Book Resources)
The mention of Dick Grayson/Nightwing is interesting considering how heavily Arrow borrows from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy in terms of its tone and aesthetic. The show is essentially the closest the CW will ever get to Batman without having Batman. That being said, it seems that most of the major players in the Bat-universe are off the table for Arrow because of licensing issues and restrictions on characters with possible ties to a movie deal. That doesn’t mean Arrow hasn’t done its damnedest to use characters and drop names within the DC Universe. Last week’s episode, “The Undertaking,” took us to Blüdhaven while Ted Kord, Ray Palmer, and Jean Loring were all mentioned within the flashback sequences. Actually makes you wonder why Ray hasn’t dropped by at this point since he and Ollie seemed to be friends five years ago.
Though Nightwing will sadly not be appearing in Season 2 of Arrow, even though Dick would completely make sense as an ally of Ollie’s within the universe of the show, there are still a fair amount of potential heroes and villains that could – and some that should – appear on the show. Here are some of those possibilities.
Of all the DC heroes who have the most potential to appear on Arrow, Ted Grant is, by far, the most likely! Pre-reboot in the comics, Ted was a former boxer turned vigilante who eventually became one of the most sought after trainers for new and experienced heroes within the DCU. The creators of Arrow wouldn’t even have to tweak him all that much since his back story actually ties into Ollie’s world perfectly through Laurel. In the comics, depending on the continuity, Ted trained Dinah before she took over the mantle of Black Canary from her mother who was a former colleague of Ted’s in the Justice Society of America (JSA). Arrow has been heavily hinting at Laurel’s heroic destiny, so it would completely make sense for Laurel to begin going to a gym owned by Ted Grant and start training under him. It would also give Laurel a father-figure to look to since I’m pretty sure Quentin Lance is not long for this world.
Ted could eventually be a guiding father-figure for Ollie as well. His relationship/partnership with Diggle is more brotherly with the two operating as equals in the field more than anything else. Ted could provide another avenue of storytelling with the seasoned veteran guiding the next generation, which could also be a way for Ted to make amends for past sins (Tom Bronson, anyone?). It would also be an interesting juxtaposition with Ted providing advice for Ollie when he eventually takes on Roy as a sidekick. Don’t act like you don’t know what’s happening!
Even Arrow co-creator Marc Guggenheim thinks Vic Sage would fit in perfectly on Arrow and I’m inclined to agree. Never mind the cosmic mumbo-jumbo going on in the New 52, The Question is a faceless P.I. searching for answers. Vic Sage’s original origin story was a brilliant actor turned vigilante using an experimental artificial skin called Psuedoderm to cover up his face while he hunted criminals. Dennis O’Neil later revamped his backstory a bit in the 80s, making Vic an investigative journalist for a television station who used the faceless mask to go places and find clues where his well-known visage could not. Like Ollie, he was also a ruthless vigilante and often opted to not save criminals should they find themselves in dire straits. Vic also has a clear intro point to the series through Helena Bertinelli (a.k.a. The Huntress) since the two were quasi-romantically involved in the comics (and Justice League: Unlimited) when Vic spent some time in Gotham City, so you could easily bring both of them in for a two-parter since we’ve already established Helena’s presence in Ollie’s life. Can you say “drama”?
Another possibility is Renee Montoya who Vic trained to replace him when he found out he had lung cancer. Though she is part of Batman’s universe of law enforcement allies, Renee really came into her own as The Question, so you could always have her arrive in Starling City as a disgraced or disillusioned cop looking for a fresh start as she follows the remnants of The Undertaking’s conspiracy. It also diversifies the cast on several levels.
Oh, Stephanie Brown, you’ll never go away, will you? NOPE! I’ve already spoken about how I think Steph should be the new Robin in the comics, so I’ll keep this one brief. When you think about it, Spoiler is like the female version of Nightwing. She’s light-hearted, but serious when she needs to be, skilled, but tends to overreach, and she has mob connections! Win-win, really. You could argue that Huntress and Felicity Smoak make up most of what distinguishes Stephanie as a character, but I’d argue that it’s Steph’s personality that sets her apart. Though Felicity has the awkward-ish nerd thing, Stephanie can bring tons of bravado and fun to being a vigilante in contrast to Ollie’s super seriousness. Watching them work together with Stephanie all pumped to do some crime-fighting could do wonders for bringing out Ollie’s lighter side.
Why the hell not? DC’s answer to Nick Fury (minus the eye patch), King is one of those agents that fits into whatever organization you need him to. Arrow has already introduced A.R.G.U.S., so why not throw King into the mix of Diggle’s former colleagues? Once The Undertaking has been taken care of, I imagine there might be some recruiting going on from various agencies looking to use “The Vigilante” or “The Hood” as a pawn in their own games across the DCU. In the comics, Ollie has been pulled into many an organization to carry out a mission or two, so it wouldn’t be out of the question for Checkmate or the C.B.I. to come a callin’ with King Faraday as their primary recruiter.
I hesitate to suggest yet another female assassin since Arrow already has China White and Shado will more than likely make an appearance in the present at some point. Plus, there’s always the possibility that Cheshire will show up since we now have Roy Harper in the mix. But screw it, Lady Shiva is awesome! The most respected and feared master of martial arts, Shiva is an assassin-for-hire who can be both friend and foe to Green Arrow. Like Ted Grant, Shiva was mentor to many heroes pre-reboot, training Black Canary, Robin, The Question, and even Batman after Bane broke his back. If Arrow continues with the Triad subplot, I could imagine Shiva showing up as another hired assassin to replace China White (in the most brutal way possible) or as an operator higher than the Triad who inspires fear even at the mention of her very name. To change things up, maybe she figures out that “The Hood” has to have some money in order to have all of those custom arrows, so she lets him make a counter-offer so she won’t kill him so long as she’s compensated. They form a tentative alliance/friendship and she shows up whenever some international flair is needed for the plot.
Yet another character that seems like a no-brainer, Hugo Strange, while a Batman villain, is still the foremost expert in criminal psychology since he is, in fact, a criminal who specializes in psychological warfare. Being a vigilante and living a double life has to take its toll on Ollie at some point and wouldn’t it just be fitting for world-renowned psychiatrist Dr. Strange to be visiting Starling City? His visit also happens to coincide with a string of crimes from people who otherwise would never commit such acts, so Ollie sees Strange under the guise of the billionaire playboy with problems, but then has the tables turned on him by Strange. Episode practically writes itself!
Obviously these are only a few possibilities, but I think you could make a case for all of them making at least a guest appearance at some point down the line. That’s what I like the most about Arrow. The show provides an avenue for lesser known villains and heroes to at least step out of the long shadows cast by Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman and give viewers other characters to get to know that may just grab a new reader or two for the comics.
Did I miss someone? Probably. Let me know if there are any heroes or villains you think could show up on Arrow. Go a little deeper and tell me how!