Although The CW’s Arrow started off with only one masked vigilante - Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen/the Arrow - the show has introduced more heroes throughout its run. Both Roy Harper/Arsenal (Colton Haynes) and Laurel Lance/Canary (Katie Cassidy) have joined Team Arrow in seasons 2 and 3. Additionally, since the premiere of season 3 introduced Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), Arrow has been leading up to the introduction of The Atom.
Though it’s appeared on Arrow before in holographic form, Ray will officially suit up in his Advanced Technology Operating Mechanism (A.T.O.M.) armor in episode 15, “Nanda Parbat.” However, according to Arrow showrunner Marc Guggenheim, Ray will not have a smooth transition into vigilantism.
Guggenheim told EW that Ray will follow a similar path to that of Laurel since viewers will see him struggle to adapt to the life of fighting crime. This path will be different than Oliver’s, who demonstrated his vigilante skills in the pilot episode of Arrow and whose transition to the Arrow has been explored in flashbacks. Additionally, Guggenheim said a future episode will delve deeper into Ray’s motivations for creating and donning his A.T.O.M. exosuit.
Read Guggenheim’s full quote:
“He’s definitely a sloppy superhero in the sense of all of our characters don’t immediately have the easiest time fighting crime... I would say episode 19 really digs underneath what does it mean for Ray to be a hero. Is he a hero because of who he is? Or is he a hero because of the suit that he’s made?”
With potentially bigger plans for Ray and his A.T.O.M. exosuit (including a possible spinoff), it makes sense that Guggenheim and the writers are taking their time to develop his character arc from businessman/inventor to vigilante. Though he will officially don the suit in episode 15, it seems there will be a few more episodes before episode 19 truly explores his new role.
However, with Ray standing at the end of a rather lengthy line of characters who have turned into masked vigilantes, Arrow runs the risk of The Atom storyline too closely resembling others that have previously appeared. Not to mention that soon Arrow won’t have any characters left who aren’t a part of the crime-fighting Team Arrow in one way or another - though that may not be a bad thing.
That being said, while viewers have watched many characters, including Roy and Laurel, transition to heroes on Arrow, Ray may offer a new type of character story since his crimefighting will rely on his A.T.O.M. suit. At the very least, those who have enjoyed watching Ray’s progression through the first part of season 3 will likely enjoy his turn as a “sloppy superhero” in his A.T.O.M. suit.
Arrow airs Wednesdays @8pm on The CW.