Arrow is well into its fifth season, and star Stephen Amell is well removed from Oliver Queen’s origin story introduced in season 1. The first season showed several flashbacks to Queen’s time spent shipwrecked on the island of Lian Yu, where he acquired his considerable skills. He has since returned home to repair broken relationships, fight plenty of crime, and eventually complete his full transformation into Green Arrow.
Despite Arrow being in the middle of its fifth season, Queen’s origin story has made recent headlines following the first promo for Marvel’s Iron Fist, starring Finn Jones as Danny Rand. In the new Netflix series, Rand loses his parents when he survives a plane crash near the mysterious city of K’un Lun. There, Rand trains with a group of monks and acquires the power of the Iron Fist, which he eventually brings back home with him to New York City.
Iron Fist’s origin story raised eyebrows with its striking, perhaps suspicious, similarities to that of Arrow — and one fan asked Amell for his thoughts on the matter. As first reported by Screen Geek, Amell hosted a Q&A on his Facebook page on Feb. 7 where he fielded various questions about himself and Arrow. A fan asked him if the recent comparisons between the origin stories of Arrow and Iron Fist have bothered him in any way. Amell offered a perfectly succinct, blunt response: “I could care less!”
The origin story for Netflix’s version of Iron Fist is similar to that of the original comics, which includes Rand’s early-life training at K’un Lun. The plane crash, however, is a departure from the original story — and it happens to be one of the most striking similarities to the origin story for Arrow. However, Oliver Queen’s beginnings are largely based on the story for DC’s limited series Green Arrow: Year One, which first came out in 2007.
Similarities aside, it’s important to note the biggest similarity between Arrow and Iron Fist: they both follow many elements of the classic “Hero’s journey” archetype, or the “monomyth.” Author Joseph Campbell popularized the concept in his influential 1949 book The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Many archetypal, arguably cliched hero journeys have featured some form of call-to-action, mentoring, transformation, and/or return home, some of which are used as part of the origins for both Arrow and Iron Fist. In other words, Stephen Amell shouldn’t care about the similarities.
Clearly, the overarching plot lines that Arrow and Iron Fist used to introduce and develop their main characters are nothing new. Despite the conspicuous similarity between the two characters’ life-changing accidents, both stories ultimately borrow principal elements from archetypes that have been part of narrative fiction for a long time. But Arrow has enjoyed a sustained run of success on the strength of its action and characters — and if Netflix’s success with Marvel shows so far is any indication, Iron Fist has a chance to do the same.
Arrow continues with ‘Spectre of the Gun’ on Wednesday @8pm on The CW, while Iron Fist premieres on Netflix on March 17.
Source: Screen Geek