‘Arrow’ Star Explains Why Oliver Queen Is A Killer

Published 2 years ago by , Updated July 18th, 2014 at 9:56 am,

Stephen Amell as Arrow The CW1 Arrow Star Explains Why Oliver Queen Is A Killer

The CW has a hit on its hands with the darker-than-expected superhero series Arrow.  And while it has been enjoying high ratings, due in part to the endless tide of cameos and guest appearances by several familiar faces in DC Universe, the show has raised questions amongst some regarding the fairly controversial decision to have Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) kill his adversaries in order to achieve his goals as a hero.

In a recent interview with SFX magazine, Amell tackles the issue head-on by saying that Oliver’s quest to clean up Starling City isn’t one that can be done without accruing what he calls “collateral damage.” That points to the more “grounded” aspect to the series that the show’s creators discussed early on, but what’s more interesting is the intimation that Arrow’s penchant for taking lives is intended to be seen as a character flaw; one, for the time being, that is born of necessity.

In the interview, Amell states:

“The central character of all the great shows on television, and I don’t list these names to draw comparisons, but as an example – Tony Soprano, Walter White, Don Draper – these are all incredibly flawed people that do regrettable things, terrible things, unforgivable things. But as long as they’re pursuing an overall goal, and as long as they engage the audience, that’s why those shows resonate. I’ve always wanted to play somebody who was unflinching, who set up for something and followed through with it. That’s why we have to kill people on the show, because he’s trying to clean up the city. To think that there wouldn’t be collateral damage, that would be farcical.”

One of the first real complaints about Arrow’s use of lethal force likely came in the episode ‘Lone Gunmen,’ which saw Oliver face off against the familiar DC villain Deadshot. Much of the episode was spent building toward the inevitable showdown between the two, and after a small amount of fisticuffs, Oliver put Deadshot down with an arrow through the assassin’s trademark eyepiece. Even then, though, the complaint wasn’t so much about Oliver crossing some kind of moral line in the sand, but rather about the somewhat anti-climatic showdown.

Michael Rowe as Deadshot in Arrow Lone Gunmen Arrow Star Explains Why Oliver Queen Is A Killer

Well, as it turns out, Oliver’s arrows may not be as lethal as we think. Recently, writer and executive producer Andrew Kreisberg made this not-so-cryptic statement regarding Deadshot’s supposed demise: “I didn’t see him put in a body bag. So…” According to Kreisberg, the television equivalent of “pic or it didn’t happen,” mixed with the long-standing rule that no death in comics is forever, suggests there’s a slight chance Arrow and Deadshot will be crossing paths sometime in the future. If he does return, let’s hope Deadshot remembers to duck next time.

Many fans have already pointed out that while some of the methods Oliver has used to dispatch his enemies (such as the neck-breaking maneuver he utilized in the pilot episode) have been harsher than expected, the Oliver Queen from the comics isn’t necessarily harboring serious reservations about taking an enemy’s life. At any rate, as indicated by Amell’s comments, it seems as though the notion of a hero who kills wasn’t an arbitrary one, but rather an issue the writers intended to explore at a certain point in the series.

Recently, Oliver’s bodyguard-turned-partner, John Diggle (David Ramsey), referred to Oliver as a murderer, and later addressed his intention of helping to lower the bad guy body count in Starling City. With Diggle on the case, perhaps we will be seeing less “collateral damage” in future episodes of Arrow.

Follow along with Screen Rant as we review the first season of Arrow, which airs Wednesday nights @8pm on The CW.

Source: SFX, The Green Arrow

TAGS: Arrow
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  1. I’m glad Amell addressed this. I thought as much and agree with this overall character design.

  2. I think there should be a new drinking game every night that Arrow is on. Every time Oliver makes a reference to 1. being trapped on the island 2. being thought of as dead 3. needing to clean up the city and 4. talking about his dad’s damn notebook, everyone should take a shot. Granted some would be plastered before the opening titles, but it’d make for a heck of a game!

    • That is pure genius!

  3. i love arrow but arrow himself is meh.

  4. I actually like that he kills people, it makes him a more realistic superhero. Honestly, if you are a hero there will come a time when you have to put a few people down. So I agree with the ‘collateral damage’ line. Heroes that just let everyone live are kind of boring and they end up causing more casualties. We all love The Joker, but there’s something seriously wrong with Batman for letting him live (he only ends up killing more people). He’s the ultimate enabler :)

    • LOL No doubt. That last Superman animated movie started so well in looking at this issue from a complex moral standpoint, and then deviated into “the heros that kill turn out to be bad guys justifying Supermans moral position”.

      The reason I like Arrow is because it is a rational approach to A) being a vigilante and B) what someone actually would do in this given situation. I don’t think of arrow as a ‘hero’ but as a vigilante who operates in a morally gray area.

      Superman and Batman saying the don’t kill is only allowing more innocents to be killed so exactly how is that ‘heroic’.

      • i say that batman killed ras al ghul in BB by not saving him. he could have kept him from falling with the train, hauled his @$$ to jail and let him stand trial for his crimes. to me, letting him die in the train crash was the same if he pushed him off a cliff or shot him point blank. he had the means to save him but chose not to. i think there may be laws in some or all states that it is a crime to not render aid to anyone in need. i’m not in law enforcement so i’m not 100% sure if i’m accurate.

        • Your right about that law jeffro. I’m a corrections officer at a little county jail, and even I have the obligation to stop and help people in distress.

          I’ve always thought GA as an anarchist so to have collateral damage is a given. Next up the royal flush gang tonight.

    • I caught hell one time by mentioning almost the exact thing.. Batman actually caused more deaths by allowing some villains to live namely joker but pretty much most of the big time Gotham villains.

  5. He has to kill people for it to be believable. He’s not coming back from that island only to let people get away, or be wounded. He’s serious, he’s a vigilantly, vigilantes kill people. I find it refreshing to watch a bad guy get his neck snapped instead of hauled off to jail. And it’s not like he’s killing all of them, some do go to jail. This show is great and continues to impress each and every week. Oh and by the way, the Green Arrow kills people in the comics. They should bring Deadshot back, he and Arrow need to square off again.

  6. My buddy and I were talking after the Deadshot episode. He was a bit surprised to see Deadshot was killed off, but I pointed out what I thought was a clear hint. “If he was truly dead,” I said, “why didn’t we see any blood pooling on the ground around his head.” More importantly, if ya look at the comparisons between the DC and Marvel universes and their characters, there are some characters that just are mirror images. Examples being Batman and Iron Man(superheroes that rely not only on their financial backings but also their intelligence yet the only superpower they have is their money), Aqua Man and Submariner(both being aquatic-based heroes and Kings of Atlantis). To me, Green Arrow has always been the equivalent of The Punisher. Never afraid to take justice to the degree where sometimes the law itself can’t(or won’t, depending on how ya view it) go.

    • This was so insightful. I 100% agree.
      #Marvel universe Muthfugga!

    • This was so insightful. I 100% agree.
      #Marvel universe!

    • The Punisher was actually a Batman parallel, he is just devoid of the moral issue with killing.

      • And without the money, all the cool gadgets, without being a genus detective, and without all the citizens and cops liking him. But other than that there just alike.

  7. Plus, you know, kind of hard to not kill people with arrows. There’s that.

  8. love this show!!

  9. Well, a rough job, but someone’s gotta do it!

  10. I’m more of a Marvel comic guy, but I love this show! I think Stephen Amell is great in this role too! Rating are good, the show is good, acting is good.. If it’s not broke don’t fix it!


    • Some of the acting is terrible.

  11. This series has turned out much better than expected.I like the fact that they have decided to keep it somewhat dark and gritty.

  12. All the rationalizing is fine, but at the end of the day they should have just created a new character. Yeah, Oliver Queen in the comics knocked off a few people, but it was almost always treated (at least for the majority of the character’s existence) as a big thing, done in extreme cases. It has never been standard operating procedure. And even if they evolve the character into a non-killer, the fact remains the guy still has extreme amounts of blood on his hands, not all of it necessary (as per the actor himself using the term “collateral damage”). If they came out and made The Joker into a hero, it wouldn’t hide the fact the guy is still de facto a murderer, and the same can be said of the TV version of Oliver Queen. It’s been enough that I stopped watching the show (and I see they’re doing similar character assassination to Black Canary and Huntress) and my hopes for the Flash being anything like the comics I’ve read for decades are slim. He’ll probably start filling body bags from episode 1, too. I just wish these people would actually read the comics they’re adapting; when Wonder Woman (in extreme duress and after taking the ultimate “needs of the many” argument into account) killed one man, not only did it turn her life upside down it literally changed the entire DC Universe. Similarly, when Oliver in the comics killed one man there were major consequences. There was a series called Checkmate that focused on a superhero team that did have a licence to kill and many of its early issues featured the debates over morals and ethics related to that. In DC – and in Marvel – villains kill, heroes don’t unless they absolutely have to. And those that do – like The Punisher – are rarely actually glorified.