ARROW: Stephen Amell Explains The Need To Have Oliver Queen Be A Killer

ARROW: Stephen Amell Explains The Need To Have Oliver Queen Be A Killer

One thing a lot of fans have had issue with the CW series on is the decision to portray the "hero" as a cold blooded killer. In an interview with SFX, Stephen Amell uses the likes of Tony Soprano and Walter White as examples of tv show protagonists who also do "unforgivable" things..

Arrow is a few episodes in now and seems to be a hit with most fans, but there are still a few people who don't like the fact that the show portrays Oliver Queen as a ruthless murderer. Now as most Green Arrow fans should know, Queen has killed without hesitation in the pages of his comic books a few times but it certainly wouldn't be considered to be a staple of the character by any means - particularly in his later incarnations. So why the decision to have our protagonist in Arrow use lethal force so freely? In an interview with SFX Stephen Amell explains, and name-checks a few very popular tv favorites to help get his point across..

SFX: Was there much behind-the-scenes deliberation over Oliver’s decision to kill in order to accomplish his goals? It’s a bold direction in which to take a longstanding superhero.

Stephen Amell: “The central character of all the great shows on television, and I don’t list these names to draw comparisons, but as an example – Tony Soprano, Walter White, Don Draper – these are all incredibly flawed people that do regrettable things, terrible things, unforgivable things. But as long as they’re pursuing an overall goal, and as long as they engage the audience, that’s why those shows resonate. I’ve always wanted to play somebody who was unflinching, who set up for something and followed through with it. That’s why we have to kill people on the show, because he’s trying to clean up the city. To think that there wouldn't be collateral damage, that would be farcical.”

What do you think of this explanation? Sound off below.

Posted By:
Mark Cassidy
Member Since 11/9/2008
Filed Under "Arrow" 11/13/2012 Source: SFX
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spager45 - 11/13/2012, 5:14 AM
I really like the show. Would seem a bit silly if a guy with a bow and arrow didn't kill...
RorMachine - 11/13/2012, 5:16 AM
I don't care that he kills, I care that the show is [frick]ing pants!:)

Ah no it has its moments, but overall it's lacking.
charlie2094 - 11/13/2012, 5:20 AM
I never really gave a thought to whether or not Green Arrow should kill. He's trying to clean up his city, it's really the only way in some instances. Not like he's killed every bad guy, in the first episode alone he "missed" whoever he was after. Besides, he always tries to talk to the bad guys first, threaten them and tell them what to do, which never works. Whilst I know it's different, look at Batman. Couldn't count the amount of times villains have broken out of Arkham or gone bad again and start scheming as soon as Batman lets them go.
SuperSomething616 - 11/13/2012, 5:20 AM
Ermmm so far the only time ive seen him kill is the deadshot episode...when he killed deadshot in self defense...

And we havent had it confirmed he died as he was shot in his eye through his head mounted eye scope...

Can anyone give another example of when ollie has killed?
SuperSomething616 - 11/13/2012, 5:22 AM
Also how can anyone moan about Green Arrow killing in a TV show when so far Iron Man has killed all his villains in his solo films...maybe not directly but still let it happen...

RorMachine - 11/13/2012, 5:22 AM
Lots..think you need to re-watch the early episodes. The most graphic example being the neck snapping in the pilot.
SuperSomething616 - 11/13/2012, 5:24 AM
...and Batman in Batman Begins let Ra's Al Ghul die...something that Batman of the comics would never let happen...

So really take all this to heart and just enjoy the show cause it obviously doesnt make a difference!!!
charlie2094 - 11/13/2012, 5:24 AM

Exactly, the only people he's really killed have been henchmen working for the guys he's after. He always tries to talk first, threaten, have themselves turn in etc so it's not like he instantly turns to killing. He gives them a chance at least.

Yeah, I agree about Deadshot too. Hoping they'll bring him back some way, I mean, that was a pretty huge eye piece., but it did look like he was dead.
JordanKing - 11/13/2012, 5:24 AM
I don't have any problem with the killing, but he can't have it both ways. Why is some no-name henchman's life less important than the people on his list? Leaving those guys alive doesn't automatically make him redeemable, and I wish they'd stop pretending otherwise.
SuperSomething616 - 11/13/2012, 5:25 AM
@ RorMachine - I must have missed that...i'll rewatch them over and check it out...thanks for the example Ror ;)
SuperSomething616 - 11/13/2012, 5:28 AM
@ Charlie2094 - Totally agree...they havent portrayed Ollie as a cold blooded killer...that would just be totally un-heroic and defeat the point of the show...

I really liked the portrayal of Deadshot...especially his arm mounted machine gun...straight out of the comics that...not even the Smallville Deadshot had that...

I am generally enjoying Arrow so only gripe is that his Mum is still alive and he has a sister...but i guess they did this to bolster the cast...
Shadowelfz - 11/13/2012, 5:32 AM
I don't have a problem with him killing. He does it in the comics (at times). He's suposed to be like Robin Hood, right? Robin Hood killed people too for the greater good. I'm just worried theyre doing it to make him 'edgy' rather than for fan-service.

Also finally saw this show. I was VERY disapointed. The action was good but the acting, writing, plot and cinematography were all AWFUL. The part in the pilot were he's talking to Laurel and then suddenly becomes an asshole made me want to turn it off. Even if he was just trying to get out of the situation there is much better ways than becoming a complete prick.
Happy11 - 11/13/2012, 5:34 AM
Why are ppl.quick to slag this show off they complain when there is no cb based shows then when we get one they rip it to shreds take it for what it is an hour of mindless cb action it isn't meant to solve the worlds problems its meant to be fun.
SuperSomething616 - 11/13/2012, 5:37 AM
@ Happy11 - Well said...thats exactly how i'm taking it...i approached Smallville in the same way...

People need to get off their high horse...
CapsUnknownSidekick - 11/13/2012, 5:47 AM
I have issue with him killing. Two out of three of the characters her listed as examples above fall into traditional villain categories (Mafia boss and drug trafficker) I get that vigilantism breaks the law; but heroes like GA are supposed to have a code. I don't like that he is being portrayed as he is.

And before everyone poo-poos on this, let me just say; if this show was called "Bat" and starred a re-imagining of Bruce Wayne who went around killing folks I think there would be an absolute uproar!

GA is one of those characters who kills WHEN HE HAS TO! It's not a tool in his everyday game. So, you can count me out on this one; for the duration.
retr0g0dfather - 11/13/2012, 5:50 AM
I like the show, its enjoyable so far. I just wished he wore a mask and not eyeliner across his eyes lol.
GuardianAngel - 11/13/2012, 5:52 AM
Well all of the Avengers kill, so I don't see what the big deal is. Plus he has a bow and arrow. You can't expect to be shooting arrows at people and not kill them.

And I was pretty disappointed with the first two episodes, but since then the show has definitely improved.
gmoney0505 - 11/13/2012, 5:56 AM
@Happy11- Totally agree except for the mindless cb action. This is a smart show and the writers know what they are doing with telling the stories on the show. I would have just been fine with mindless action but they gave us some really good stories and characters to go with it.

@CapsUnknownSidekick- YEah he only killed when he had to and those were the 3 henchmen in the first episode so people could not know what really happen when he broke free and also they killed that innocent person when they kidnapped him.

3 or 4 people killed out of about 40 to 50 people he encountered in about 5 episodes is not alot of people. Now if he was in the 20 to 30 people killed range then these people would have something to complain about. Everyone he shoots with an arrow is not automatically dead unless they get shot in the head, heart, or throat.
JohnnyKrypton - 11/13/2012, 6:17 AM
"...Tony Soprano, Walter White, Don Draper..."

Comparing your 'hero' to mafiosi and meth dealers may be indicative of a problem...maybe he should be doing a Deathstroke series instead?
marvel72 - 11/13/2012, 6:18 AM
i've given up with the show,i said i would watch the deathstroke episode & thats it.well guess what,i've downloaded that episode & still haven't watched it.
Minghagz - 11/13/2012, 6:27 AM
I love the direction of the character ("kill when necessary") and I'm enjoying the show so far.
mowood28 - 11/13/2012, 6:28 AM
we say we want more comic book based shows and movies, and then when we get them we call them sht shows and whine and bitch about them before, during and after they come on.
Its one thing to speak intelligently and give criticism, but its another to sound like a spoiled entitled cry baby.

Lets not be the reason why shows get cancelled. Trust me, the powers that be are watching and reading.
UltimaRex - 11/13/2012, 6:29 AM
Damn you Smallville
Vapes - 11/13/2012, 6:50 AM
...did he seriously just rationalize Green Arrow by comparing him to an Italian mobster?

CapsUnknownSidekick - 11/13/2012, 6:56 AM
Well, I want more QUALITY comicbook based shows. To my thinking and IMO; Arrow has missed the mark.
Reo5150 - 11/13/2012, 6:58 AM
And let's not forget the poor, defenseless grouse from last episode. Stone cold! ;)
polarkyle - 11/13/2012, 7:00 AM
but nobody ever complains when wolverine kills people
GodzillaKart - 11/13/2012, 7:21 AM
The show is good, and the action is great. A little cheesy, but I didn't expect much more from a TV show.
RorMachine - 11/13/2012, 7:40 AM
Really? I expect a HELL of a lot more from a tv show in this day and age when a lot of tv series' outclass movies.
RorMachine - 11/13/2012, 7:42 AM
In fairness to Amell, he says he's not comparing them directly, but using them as examples of characters audiences still root for even though they cross lines..I realize most of us stopped rooting for Walt a while ago though!
RedeyeJedi - 11/13/2012, 7:54 AM
I root for Walt in the way that I hope he realizes what kind of monster he's become. But I guess that's not really the same thing as rooting for him to succeed.
RedeyeJedi - 11/13/2012, 7:56 AM
@fearitself- Maybe, if you're into Smallville. I found it to be pretty atrocious.
miggyman24 - 11/13/2012, 8:01 AM
it a good show and its find its feet, but i guess some people will just keep finding problems were theres not really none to complain about, someone dont get bows and arrows pulse to kill and oliver queen is realizing there are better ways and some of the villians on it are just to dangerous to keep alive, what it comes down to is comparing green arrow with other heros in dc comics like batman and its just stupid, they have there own ways of doing things, and the action sinces are the best bits
HWNSuperman - 11/13/2012, 8:28 AM
I think that if he meets up with someone else from the Justice League and they teach him that killing is wrong or he realizes later in the show that what he's doing is wrong, it could make for a GREAT plot to follow. Right now he's kind of an anti-hero in my opinion (similar but not nearly to the scale of The Punisher). I also think the reason people have been so up in arms about Ollie killing people is because that is a code of the heroes in most the DC realm, that they will not kill. @SuperSomething616 I think that you are absolutely right by stating that Batman would never have let Ras Al Ghul die. He would have saved him and thrown him into Arkham Asylum. Good catch there...
GLprime2814 - 11/13/2012, 8:32 AM
Show has great fight sequences for a TV show.
Tymminator - 11/13/2012, 8:33 AM
Marvel: take the challenge. Make a Daredevil TV show where he does not kill anyone but make it damn good. Don't half step.
elessarundomiel2382 - 11/13/2012, 8:48 AM
Unlike Batman.....Daredevil actually gets his hands dirty. Because he uses the disguise as a last resort to clean up his city. Lawyer being the first and if that doesnt work he then becomes the judge and executioner.
ironpool007 - 11/13/2012, 9:19 AM
Of course he should use lethal force. A bow and arrow is obviously a deadly weapon similar to a gun. Hawkeye should kill too.
stuff2say - 11/13/2012, 9:34 AM
Green Arrow killed Prometheus in the comics with a nice arrow to the head so I don't mind at all that he kills in the show.
dnno1 - 11/13/2012, 9:40 AM
So, Arrow is less like Batman and more like this guy:

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