As soon as news first went out that a Green Arrow TV pilot was in the works for The CW, the immediate response for many has been along the lines of “They had better get Justin Hartley!”
Hartley, for those who may not have known, played Green Arrow/Oliver Queen in the last five seasons of The CW’s Smallville, and the last three of those seasons were spent as a series regular. He was quite popular in the role, but, should that be a reason to go on with a familiar face? Here are some arguments for (or against) the notion of Arrow starring Justin Hartley.
PRO: He’s popular. Regardless of if people liked the story elements of Smallville’s final seasons, Justin Hartley as Green Arrow was very popular. So popular, in fact, that after successful guest shots in Seasons 6 and 7, he was brought in as a series regular for the last three years.
CON: Audiences are so familiar with Justin’s Green Arrow that they may be tired of him. Something that’s been on for five years already isn’t necessarily new or fresh.
PRO: Built-in fanbase. The fans of Smallville would love to see one of their favorite heroes again.
That built-in fanbase would also demand appearances by Smallville cast members who may have moved on to better things. If they had Justin Hartley, the next thing you know they’d be demanding appearances by Tom Welling, Allison Mack, Erica Durance, Alaina Huffman, and others. Also, while Smallville was hugely popular, with a loyal fan base, especially online, the final season of the series got around 2.5 million viewers. Surely The CW would like a new hit that could potentially do twice those numbers.
PRO: Justin Hartley would have a regular weekly gig again!
CON: He’d have to wear the costume again. As an actor, Justin might not want to play just one role for such a long period of time, no matter how good that role is. If he did not want to play Green Arrow again, I’d respect that because he definitely did his time.
PRO: Can someone else embody Oliver Queen as successfully as Hartley did?
New producers looking to tell their own story probably won’t want to play with others’ toys.
TOSS-UP: What if Hartley was cast as Oliver Queen but the show didn’t follow the continuity of Smallville? Wouldn’t fans be betrayed? Or would they root on a favorite getting a new chance under different circumstances?
ANOTHER THOUGHT: While I acknowledge that “Chlollie” (fans of Chloe Sullivan & Oliver Queen) had their own fan base, it was not rooted in the comics and there were quite a few people against it. Regardless of who is cast, I think it’s safe to 100% say that this Oliver Queen will not be married. If he’s even Green Arrow yet at all.
What do you think? Leave your comments below and feel free to come to KSiteTV’s Green Arrow forum thread. My own opinion? I think it might be best to go with something new, but I don’t envy the person who has to fill Justin Hartley’s shoes at all. He made the character his own, and anyone who comes next will always be compared to his shadow. As long as the story’s there and the new Oliver Queen is good, I’m definitely going to be on for the ride, regardless.