Thanks in part to The CW, DC hero Green Arrow is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. The character first appeared in live-action on the long-running series Smallville, played by Justin Hartley. In 2012, a darker version of Oliver Queen, played by Stephen Amell, was introduced in The CW's Arrow. Currently airing its fourth season, the series has been a success for the network and Amell has come to embody the character for a number of fans.
However, the character's live-action presence almost took a vastly different turn, landing him on the big screen. In 2008, writers David S. Goyer (Man of Steel) and Justin Marks (The Jungle Book) were working on a script for a film titled Green Arrow: Escape from Super Max. The movie would feature the Emerald Archer being framed for the assassination of a government official, resulting in his public unmasking and landing him in a maximum security prison. He'd be surrounded by the some of the worst villains of the DC Universe and forced to work with a few of them to escape.
Unfortunately, the film never came to be. Despite initial positive buzz, things slowed down on the project considerably while Warner Bros. considered their superhero film options. Despite announcing they were looking for another writer to join the team in 2009, the film was ultimately put on hold, indefinitely.
Goyer recently spoke with Den of Geek about Escape from Super Max and why he feels the project was abandoned. The film was centered largely on a group of villains, something that gave the WB higher-ups pause. In light of the upcoming Suicide Squad movie, Goyer says his film was just "ahead of its time."
"By the way, everything I see about 'Suicide Squad' looks fantastic and it's a different story. But it was absolutely ahead of its time. You know, Marvel was considering doing the 'Sinister Six' and at the time, God, I think this was eight or nine years ago that we wrote a couple of drafts, but it certainly was like this oddball project at Warner Bros. at the time. They were like - even though the script was good - 'why would we make a movie about a bunch of villains? That makes no sense.'"
Goyer notes that the higher-ups that stalled the Super Max project are no longer at Warner Bros. The plans for the DC films changed drastically after the success of Iron Man and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The scripts for Super Max, however, were written well before The Avengers dominated the big screen, let alone films like Guardians of the Galaxy. After the success of Marvel's films, Goyer says it was "natural that someone eventually was going to make a villain movie."
Unfortunately, that film won't be Escape from Super Max. The project sounded promising, but the chances of it being revived are slim to none. The biggest disappointment about its cancellation is that it eliminates the best chance of seeing Green Arrow as a part of the DC Extended Universe. Given the success of Arrow and Warner Bros.' intention of keeping their films and television separate, there may not be an Oliver Queen gracing the big screen for quite some time.
Den of Geek also reported that Goyer would not be directing any of DC's upcoming films - though his involvement as a writer/producer (beyond being credited for his script work on Batman V Superman) remains unclear.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25, 2016; Suicide Squad on August 5, 2016; Wonder Woman on June 23, 2017; Justice League on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 23, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; Green Lantern Corps on June 19, 2020. Untitled Batman and Superman solo films will be coming at dates TBD.
Arrow season 4 is currently airing on The CW.
Source: Den of Geek