Even casual comic book fans realized that The CW wasn't kidding around with its DC Comics properties when they revealed that Arrow's Season 3 would be getting a new central antagonist in the form of Ra's al Ghul (a part made famous on film by Liam Neeson in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy). Not long after Neeson claimed he'd be happy to reprise the role, the actual actor set to bring the character to life has been revealed: relative newcomer Matt Nable (Riddick, Killer Elite).
According to Deadline, the Australian former-Rugby League footballer has landed the part after arriving on the scene in his first role in 2007. The actor may be best known to our readers for his role as 'Boss Johns' in the latest Riddick movie, taking on a leadership role with another group of hired killers (while showing he's not afraid of getting his hands dirty).
Little is known about how this version of Ra's al Ghul will differ from those previously seen on film or in the comics, but Nable fits the physical description that the showrunners were looking for quite well. And despite his relatively short resume, Nable's ability to convey a likable and believable bounty hunter (in an American accent, no less) made him a standout in the action-focused Riddick.
As far as Arrow's version is concerned, the leaked casting description sounds like the showrunners are staying faithful to the source material:
"An iconic villain from the pages of DC comics. Leader of the League of Assassins. Regal, mysterious, of a bygone era. Proud and unforgiving. Ra's is a ruthless strategist, a master of martial arts, and a shaper of history. He carries the wisdom of the ages, and protects some of its greatest secrets.Think the character of Bane from The Dark Knight Rises. Someone just terrifying. Not a lunkhead, but a smart and physically imposing man."
Nable will make his first appearance in the role in Arrow's fourth episode, titled "The Magician." The limits of his power aren't yet known (nor whether he'll one day make an appearance in The CW's other superhero series), but the fiftieth episode of Arrow looks to be a special one for DC Comics fans, and Batman enthusiasts in particular.
As the leader of the League of Assassins, Arrow viewers have already seen Ra's play a significant role in the lives of several characters, sending his forces to Starling City in varying numbers, with varying purposes. Season 3 looks to make that threat even greater, building off of the introduction given to the warlord's daughter Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law) after making the trip to Starling City. It's unclear if Nable's performance will be set in the present day or the past, but with Oliver Queen's history being elaborated upon by the week, anything is possible.
What do you Arrow fans make of the casting? Is Nable an intriguing choice, or an unknown one? We're willing to see what he can bring to such a commanding role, since a character of his stature within DC's TV universe isn't going to be disappearing any time soon.
Feel free to speculate on what kind of voice Nable will be adopting for the role, since it seems a long shot that his native Aussie accent will be maintained. On the bright side, Liam Neeson has offered a few words of advice for his successor. Are there any other actors you were hoping to see land the part, or are you keeping an open mind after Liam Neeson's indelible turn in the role? Sound off in the comments.
Arrow season 3 premieres October 8th, 2014 @8pm on The CW.
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