The internet is buzzing with rumors that Green Arrow will be made into a pilot for the CW. Nobody asked but I’m going to offer my two cents. When it comes to comic book TV and movie projects you can’t assume anything. So if Team Green Arrow has already had this discussion then congratulations you’re off to a good start.
The series has two ways it can go; young Green Arrow or Older Green Arrow. Both versions offer strengths and weaknesses.
With Young Green Arrow you might be thinking this is easy, it would be a continuation of the Smallville series. Except that that Smallville was no longer Smallville by the time it ended. Hell it technically came to an end when Green Arrow appeared IN COSTUME. Remember the primary concept of Smallville originally is this was Clark Kent before he put on the mantel of Superman. The moment Green Arrow showed up Smallville essentially became its own sequel as it was about young heroes in costume; except for Clark who for some reason put off donning the Superman cape for another 5 years. So a continuation would actually be a continuation of Smallville 2.0, young heroes in love. This can work because of one character, Black Canary. The Green Arrow/Black Canary pairing is one of comicdom’s greatest. It’s been going on since the ‘70s. It’s provided loads of sex and is the main reason IO9 ranks it No. 1 on its list of comic book movies that should be R-Rated. But like all good couples there’s been plenty of friction and conflict over the years. They’ve broken up, found new love interests (always another costumed vigilante) only to come back together again. So this would be nothing like Smallville in tone or focus. Think Fraser vs. Cheers. Same character but the show completely changed once Fraser Crane became the focus.
Black Canary will be such a central figure in this show, unless you DON’T want the massive built in audience to tune in. This is a chance to correct a major TV injustice. A decade ago the then WB announced Birds of Prey based on Gail Simone’s hit comic book. The TV writers thought they knew better, didn’t consult Ms. Simone at all and proceeded to create one of that season’s biggest flops. Do yourselves a favor an have a much publicized sit down with Gail Simone to talk about the characters, particularly Black Canary. That alone will give you early points with the fan community. Believe me you’re going to need them because you’re going to rub some fans the wrong way no matter what you do.
And for the love of God please don’t do a Smallville prequel and show how Oliver Queen eventually took up the bow. Prequels suck. It didn’t work out for George Lucas. Do you think there’s a huge fanbase out there that wants to know what Oliver Queen was doing before he was Green Arrow?
Now some on the internet fret whether this show will be Gossip Girl with Weapons. That actually is a good description of the current Green Arrow “family.” You have the two sexy parental figures Green Arrow and Black Canary. Then you have younger characters like Roy Harper, Arrowette, Mia, Connor Hawke. This wouldn’t be a bad set up. The younger characters have diverse backgrounds. Mia was living on the streets and is HIV positive. Arrowette had a privileged upbringing but an overbearing mother. Then there’s Roy Harper and your chance to redress a huge outrage. Roy Harper was an amazing character; a recovering drug addict who was also a single father to an adorable little girl, Lian. But then DC decided to kill Lian off because they wanted to make Roy more “intense.” The result was enormous fan backlash and the new “intense” Roy Harper was something of a joke. For some reason comic books are the one industry where it’s okay to cause massive fan outrage. Don’t expect the same courtesy. Fans will keep shelling out hard earned money for comics but they’ll drop a show they can see for free if they don’t love every second of it. If you put Lian Harper into your show you’ll have a ton of goodwill from fans.
So good luck. I’m hoping this project gets picked up and that it does right by the characters. No matter what you choose to do, there are opportunities. But there are also pitfalls.