Seth Gabel Details ‘Arrow’s’ Version of Count Vertigo

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Arrow Seth Gabel as Count Vertigo Seth Gabel Details Arrows Version of Count Vertigo

Oliver Queen better prepare himself for a new type of villain, as The CW’s Arrow returns this month. We’ve known for some time that comic book nemesis Count Vertigo was going to be playing a role in the live action series, but now we have a few more details on the show’s take on the villain, and how drugs will fit into the picture.

Actor Seth Gabel (Fringe, Dirty Sexy Money) may not have revealed how large a role Vertigo (or whatever his name may be) will play in Starling City, but he did explain just how large a departure from the comic books fans are in for.

As we’ve learned, ‘Vertigo’ won’t refer to Gabel’s character, specifically – at least, not at first – but rather a new drug spreading across Starling’s streets. We don’t know if the storyline about Oliver’s younger sister Thea’s drug problem has been leading to this development, but it wouldn’t surprise us. Besides offering the perfect premise to introduce Roy Harper (Aka Red Arrow), the drug trafficking also grants Gabel’s character the chance to gain power – and more importantly – the attention of Oliver Queen’s nocturnal persona.

Arrow Oliver and Thea Seth Gabel Details Arrows Version of Count Vertigo

In an interview with IAR, Gabel provided some details on the version of Vertigo set to appear in Arrow. Unsurprisingly, the Count is merely the latest comic book villain being substantially re-imagined for the grounded style of the TV series. He may not be nobility, but it’s likely there will still be some nods to the comics:

“In the original comic book series his name is Count Vertigo and he’s a guy of eastern European decent. In this, I play a street thug/drug kingpin and instead of having super powers, whatever super powers I may have get manifested in the form of a drug called Vertigo that I found in the street of Starling City. I’m using that to acquire money, power and psychologically disturbing citizens of Starling City so that I could eventually take over.

“With that said, I wanted him to have special abilities in some way. I really wanted to make sure that he had a physically intimidating presence on the street and that whoever he goes up against; he ends up being a very worthy adversary for them…I threw myself into just taking big risks with the character, doing as much as I could to keep it grounded in reality, but at the same time not being afraid to be over the top. So I definitely have a voice of some kind or definitely some affectations, but they feel real and they were a blast to portray”

Some might cringe at such a drastic change, but we should remember that as recurring a villain as Count Vertigo has been to Green Arrow and others, his exact appearance and powers have varied greatly. Rather than quibbling over how he should be depicted (or who we always thought would actually be playing Vertigo), we’re just happy to see a certified Green Arrow villain adapted for the show. With Huntress, the Royal Flush Gang and Firefly, Batman’s rogues gallery has seemingly taken precedence. But not for long.

DC Comics Count Vertigo Seth Gabel Details Arrows Version of Count Vertigo

The question we find ourselves asking more and more: will the new nemesis be dealt with handily and summarily dismissed, or be sticking around to cause Oliver trouble down the road? At this point Gabel isn’t ruling anything out:

“It’s definitely open to be recurring. That’s how it was presented to me initially and we’ll see what ultimately really happens. I would love to continue on, it was so much fun to do.”

We’ve got our own theories on how Arrow may soon be drawing on more recurring villains, as well as token criminals on revenge kicks. It’s still too early to tell if those mainstay villains will let the writers delve into the fiction of other DC heroes and villains, but the possibility is there. And if ‘Vertigo’ really can use pharmaceuticals to control those around him, other ‘supernatural’ or magical villains might not be so unlikely to appear.

Arrow returns Wednesday, January 16, with ‘Burned’ @8pm on The CW. See Gabel arrive on the scene in Episode 12, ‘Vertigo’ January 30.


Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: IAmRogue

Follow Andrew Dyce on Twitter @andrew_dyce
TAGS: Arrow
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  1. I just started watching this show but if Arrow has a 5 year old list of guys to take out and new villains keep appearing to link the show to the DC archives the original mission could become an afterthought, even with Wassername messing with the drugs.
    As for quibbling about how the villain should be, I’d hate to be a bummer but I really liked Mr Mxyzptlk as a kid and when he showed up on Smallville as a Russian with luck powers, I wished maybe a little more fussing had occurred, if you know what I mean.

    • I think this show is taking a turn for the worst the more and more they try to be “realistic”. It’s no fun really.why take away vertigos powers? LAME , totally LAME.

      • If you want it to be exactly like the comics, I can recommend a number of comic series you could read….. I wish people would stop moaning when the creators of an adaptation decide to actually adapt things to fit the style of the story.

        If they want their version of Count Vertigo to be a drug dealer monikered as “the Count”, they have every right to. Take the character on its own merits, rather than compare again something drawn god knows how many years ago.

        • I think I’m in between you both on this issue. It is a bit of a bummer whenever one of my favorite characters is ‘re-imagined,’ but at the same time, just seeing it translated from page to screen is kind of denying another creative team the chance to impact it.

      • its not lame, it’s good. As for why it’s grounded in reality, thank your buddy Chris Nolan.

        • No…it’s lame.

  2. nice nice

  3. Sounds Disappointing to me ! They take to much away from the Comic book style in this show. For a while it was fun,but now it just gets bad how they re-imagine all those Iconic Comic book villains into cheap real drug lords and what so ever !:(

    Would like to have a more comic book feel to it,with real heroes and powers !

    • Thank you, that is exactly how I feel about this.

    • I understand what you mean but they are evidently gong for the grounded route with the show. I hope that they don’t just make him a crime lord as that would suck, I do agree. Maybe they could have the vertigo drug as an addictive substance that is laced with something that count vertigo can choose to harm the taker with therefore blackmailing them into taking more. I also hope that his costume has some sort if cloak too.
      I don’t mind them using no powers but maybe instead use some advanced science as we can then at least get some comic book element eg the awesome fight scenes with deathstroke (i know there is no science there but it feels fairly comic booky). I back this grounded approach but they have to vary it sightly and some slightly unrealistic science I think is the way to do it. Sorry if I repeated myself anywhere!!

    • It’s a double edged sword, remember they only have a tv budget to do anything “super”…

  4. I like the show, but I utterly hate the no-powers thing, the Nolan batman trilogy stealing, and the relationship crap. But still, really good show.

    • Indeed. There’s some good stuff in there, but the whole CW vibe kills it for me. Emulating Batman isn’t good either (I mean, is Ollie Queen supposed to be Bruce Wayne, part deux? Some how, I doubt it).

      I do like the catch phrase, though: “You have failed this city!”. Makes me laugh for some reason.

      • Exactly! +1

  5. Why can’t they just stay true to the source material? there is nothing wrong with that at all.

    • Read the comics if you want the source material. I quite enjoy it when they actually adapt the characters in their adaptations…

  6. How can they even call this guy vertigo when he has absolutely nothing in common with source character. I get trying to go for realism, but completely changing every aspect of the character so much as to make him unrecognisable is stupid. If your not gonna use anything of the character just call him something else.

  7. Next will be Darkside but instead of a cosmic godlike being, he will be a excon kingpin but with a dark past

    • I once posted a nearly identical remark on another site, about another series.

  8. Is this show better or AS GOOD as Smallville? Smallville’s awesome at what season I’m at!

    • Compared to Smallville’s first season, I would say this one is head and shoulders above in terms of acting (Rosenbaum excluded). That’s just my opinion, but the more grounded approach to Arrow makes Smallville’s ‘Kryptonite makes everyone evvvvvvil!” monster of the week formula seem even more ridiculous.

    • Better, MUCH better.

  9. It would make a “grounded style” sense if he uses some kind of blown powder or sonic weapon that has the effect of disorienting / causing vertigo to his enemy. That’s easier, right? No need for superpower.

    • This show is great, flat out. To all the haters out there, relax. It’s the first season, the show runners are getting their bearings, seeing what works & what doesn’t, and listening to fan feedback. If you don’t like it, give it some time. Nothing is ever going to be perfect, especially for comic book fans, but for what they have to work with budget wise, and what they have done this first season, the show is remarkable good. Patience people, patience

  10. Glad they’re actually using Green Arrow villains again instead of stealing from Batman’s lesser known villains. So far we’ve only seen Drakon and Merlyn. Hoping we’ll see Brick, Onomatopoeia, Clock King, and Cupid in the future.

    • Although Drakon is kind of a throwaway in his episode. I hope Drakon’s not dead yet. They can utilize Darren Shahlavi better than this!

  11. Kind of stupid, but wouldn’t it be cool if they connected this show to the Dark Knight Trilogy.

  12. I actually really like where the show is going. Its still first season. So they are still establishing characters. They aren’t going to please everybody though, obviously. And like someone else said, it is a tv show and they probably dont have the budget for ‘superpower’ effects.

    The thing I find kind of humourous though, is that all the people that seem to hate the show, are people that are still probably watching it every week, which in turn keeps it on air because people are still watching it. So if people hated it so much, don’t watch it. Then you wouldnt have to see it anymore. But then again, there would be nothing to complain about anymore.

    But like I said, I really like the show. Yes, its more grounded, but its different, isnt that why people liked Nolans Batman? And I don’t see the argument about stealing batman villians? Yea they used characters that people usually associate with batman, but they all are part of the same universe. There is even some crossover in the actyal comics.

  13. I personally loved Arrow’s version of The Count. (Leaving behind my love for Seth Gabel since Fringe) He has been one of my favorite villains so far. I can’t wait to watch season 2!