Oliver Queen may have enjoyed a little time away from Starling City in the interim between the Arrow season 1 finale and the season 2 premiere, but there’s no rest for those who oppose the wicked and the vigilante formerly known as “the Hood” in back on form and ready to face a whole new breed of both friends and enemies.

Now that Oliver’s alter ego is interacting on a regular basis with friends and acquaintances of his public personality, it’s becoming increasingly distracting that, for example, his ex-girlfriend Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) is incapable of recognizing him simply because the top quarter of his face is painted green. Not only that, but his new ally Black Canary (Caity Lotz) and previous guest vigilantes like the Huntress (Jessica De Gouw) have been shown sporting a standard domino mask that offers them better concealment than Oliver’s simple smear of eyeshadow.

Soon, however, Oliver will decide to sport an extra level of protection as he continues to wage a war against the criminals of Starling City. Entertainment Weekly has revealed two new images of the Green Arrow mask that Oliver will be wearing by the end of season 2, and also has some details as to why he’s going to bow to peer pressure and get a proper mask like the rest of the cool kids. First of all, let’s take a look at the design.

Very nice. Admittedly it doesn’t do much more to disguise Stephen Amell’s sculpted chin and jawline, his mouth, his nose or really anything farther south than the tops of his cheeks, but his enemies will definitely no longer be able to see what his eyebrows look like. At the very least it’s in line with what comic book logic generally requires of a costume designed to conceal its wearer’s identity.

One thing that the upcoming introduction of the mask highlights is that Oliver Queen isn’t yet Green Arrow. He is on his way to becoming the infamous vigilante, but he’s not yet using the title and is still continuing to mature into the role that he has chosen for himself. In many ways, season 2 has been a continuation of Green Arrow’s origin story as he struggled to decide exactly what role he should play in bringing justice to Starling City, and what his persona should be.

According to executive producer Andrew Kreisberg, the new mask is more than just an aesthetic choice. A lot of time and effort was put into making sure it was exactly the right fit for the character, and the actual introduction of the mask will apparently be part of a significant plot point with some build-up to it:

“Conceptually, it was something we wanted to do because Oliver himself is evolving as the Arrow–  from vigilante to hero, sort of from Arrow to Green Arrow — and we wanted to see that progression in his costume as well. As Oliver is embracing being a hero, being a hero means stepping out of the dark and being more of a symbol, so he has to take steps to conceal his identity more.

“A lot of our early attempts were very, shall I say, Joel Schumacher-esque… I think what’s so wonderful about the design that Maya came up with is that it really is very simple, and it feels as if it’s been part of his costume since the beginning…once we finally had this mask and put it on Stephen, even Stephen was like, ‘This is the right one.’

“He doesn’t just put on a mask. It’s actually a big plot point in an episode, and there really is a story behind, not only the need for the mask but also who provides him with it. It’s going to be a little bit of a surprise, and once they see how the mask comes into creation, I think people will be really excited about it.”

Of course, the other iconic element of Green Arrow’s character design in the comic books was his luxurious blond goatee, but this feature is distinctive enough that it would probably undo the benefits of concealing Oliver’s eyes behind a mask. There’s nothing more awkward than being interrupted in the middle of a mysterious voice-distorted speech by someone saying, “Oliver, that’s clearly you under there; I recognize your beard.”

That’s not to say that the goatee should never grow organically into the show, but for now the combination of the sleek-looking costume from the comics and the beautiful custom compound bow (thanks, Felicity) are working together to make Oliver feel more and more like a superhero with each episode. Tell us in the comments if you approve of his new look, or if you think TV’s Green Arrow should have been left unmasked.

Arrow continues next Wednesday with ‘State vs. Queen’ @8pm on The CW.

Source: Entertainment Weekly