To Hartley Or Not To Hartley? That Is The Question

Craig Byrne January 20, 2012 30

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.


  1. Tucker January 20, 2012 at 11:55 am -

    Thoroughly appreciative of what Justin brought to the character and he does leave an indelible mark. That said, count me as one of those who doesn’t this working without starting fresh. ‘Smallville”s Ollie was a very distinctive take and one very much geared to that specific version of the DCU. They wrote themselves into so many particular corners with what they did on the show that it would be a very unenviable situation for a new showrunner to take that on. (Not to even touch on the unique problem you mentioned of having to delve into and/or explain away the rest of the ‘Smallville’-verse characters, particularly Chloe and the son who may or may not be Ollie Queen, Jr. [Connor Sullivan?])

    While I certainly wasn’t a fan of what they did with ‘Green Lantern’ in film, I do think Berlanti, et al., have a good sensibility about DC properties and I expect we’ll see something from the show that hews closer to its comic counterpart. As such, Justin doesn’t really fit the direction. As to who does, that really remains to be seen. I don’t think there’s a known actor out there who really stands out for the part. My personal hope is that they go with someone a bit older or who at least reads a tad older on-screen. I’d rather have an Ollie who is firmly ensconsed in what he’s doing. Though, I have a feeling this will be an origin series.

    So, all thanks to Justin and I’ll be pulling for him in everything he does from here on out. This GA needs to be all new, though.

  2. bren January 20, 2012 at 3:35 pm -

    idc if they start fresh and go in a completely different direction than smallville with this green arrow series as long as hartley is in the role, i loved him as green arrow, i was even rooting for a green arrow spinoff after smallville and now there doing this green arrow series so of course i want hartley for the role, if hartley doesn’t get the role the show won’t particularly be of any interest to me

  3. phyllis January 20, 2012 at 11:34 pm -

    I would love to see Hartley do it, even if they start fresh and eliminate the Smallville universe. While I liked the Oliver/Cloe storyline, none of that is necessary for me to enjoy Justin doing a completely different version of the Emerald Archer.

    The most interesting part of the character for me is Oliver, and how the writers would nuance him, as opposed to simply the superhero side. That’s what makes a character a success. But without Hartley, I probably won’t put it on my must-see list.

  4. Wally January 22, 2012 at 12:00 am -

    All the cons pretty much sum up the good reasons to get a new actor, yes the guy was good as Green Arrow but he is worn out now for a fresh new show nor , in the last days of green Arrow on smallville, he was just getting by, not a good place to start a show nor have the same actor who played him . The producers will want to play around with their own man, I think. And ratings will come anyway if the show is good and the casting is good. Just as Smallville made Justin Hartley popular, Arrow will make someone popular too. likewise with all the CW shows, TVD, TSC, Supernatural. These shows had some unknowns pre show and now people love them and the ratings are doing good.

    The Chloe/Oliver “storyline” , if I can even call it a storyline, It was just a mumble jumbled mess. It took two awesome characters and ruined them for the sake of pandering. The writers were no longer writing these characters as they should be , they were just a group of fans behind those scenes running the script not caring in the world how their actions reflect on the characters or look to the viewer. I used to actually want to see them being close, and even a couple their early interaction was promising but when it happened it totally screwed up their characters and their relationship. They had to use lies, play characters OOC, retcon SV history, and supress the storyline of Green Arrow, not a good start. Even if this show was based on where smallville left off, It was left open for Green Arrow to be single, IN FACT as per DC comics he is actually single in the future, so it would not be a problem for a new show. But I would rather not see it based on Smallville, which thankfully it isnt, its too late now for this kind of spin off they can do that with booster or blue beetle, a clean slate would be best. Justin Hartley is a part of this storyline, and its just better to get a new man and start afresh. Ratings are going to sink if they are meant to, with or without Justin, so nothing to lose.

  5. Marino January 22, 2012 at 7:31 am -

    I would really like Justin to do it because now that Smallville is over, I gave no show to watch lol. I wouldn’t care if it was a new story arc, I would just like an old face. It would be cool if we had some guest stars from Smallville, but if not that’s ok too. I just think Justin should gave the chance to say “yes” or “no” on the lead role. HE earned it since he was television’s first “Emerald Archer.” So on that note, my vote is, ask Hartley if he wants the role or not.

  6. Rox January 23, 2012 at 1:08 pm -

    Yes I believe Hartley should reprise his role because he was fantastic on Smallville, which he rightfully earned the title Green Arrow!

  7. Laila January 24, 2012 at 1:14 am -

    If I’m not going to see Chlollie I didn’t watch the serie :-(

  8. Nicole January 24, 2012 at 6:48 am -

    YES!! Hartley should DEFINITELY be cast as Green Arrow/Oliver Queen!!! I LOVED him in Smallville–I wish Smallville hadnt ended, there was so much more that could have happened!! BUT Justin definitely should be Green Arrow for the new series because it’d be great to see him again!!

  9. Mariah January 24, 2012 at 7:55 am -

    As I said in the previous article, I think I will not watch it. If Chlollie are not on the series there is no reason for me to see this show.

    • Craig Byrne January 24, 2012 at 8:19 am -

      “Chlollie” is not a part of the Green Arrow character or canon, it does not belong on a new show.

      • Mariah January 24, 2012 at 8:28 am -

        I don ‘t care, nor Oliver’s mother was alive 😛

        • Craig Byrne January 24, 2012 at 8:31 am -

          Please don’t be rude Mariah.

          Every version of a story DOES do new things. “Chlollie” was Smallville’s “new thing,” and while I know there’s a fan base that cared for it, there were also a lot of people who hated it.

          It would be silly to re-introduce Smallville’s “new thing” to this, especially if Justin Hartley and Allison Mack aren’t around.

          • Mariah January 24, 2012 at 9:01 am -

            It’s just my opinion. Just as I respect yours, you should do the same with mine. Do not bother man, life is full of differing opinions, that’s what’s interesting, isn’t it? I’m just saying I liked Chlollie so much that if the show doesn’t give me what I want I won’t see it. You can watch the show and I hope you enjoy with it. Have a nice day Craig 😛

  10. dnzrsy January 24, 2012 at 8:59 am -

    Justin Hartley definitely should play Green Arrow a.k.s. Oliver Queen in this new series of the CW because he became identified with the character.If he actually plays that role,I would definitely watch this show.

  11. Ryan January 24, 2012 at 4:40 pm -

    i would love to see Hartley back, but i think the whole Oliver/Chloe storyline in Smallville kinda messed that up. the whole having a child with Chloe in the future instead of Dinah thing was the axe imo

  12. Bradley January 24, 2012 at 8:10 pm -

    Justin Hartley should be given the option first considering the CW are commissioning this, but considering he has done so many guest spots since the finale he is probably trying to distance himself from Oliver Queen.

    For the people talking about the Chloe/Oliver storyline I would say this was created as a way to distance both of them from Clark, considering Superman is a solo hero (unless the Justice League nis required).

    Remember when Chloe was created in Smallville it was the “Lois Lane” type of character and then in the later season with the Legion’s visit they said there was no record of Chloe in the archives which in was explained in the final season as Chloe wipe herself, and considering when she came back it was about wanting her old life back and by moving to Star City she got that.

    This would also explain the reason why Oliver decided to move back home, he saw Clark become Superman (even though they never named him that in Smallville (I actually hated that, as the final episode was the origin of Clark as Superman)) and he now knows he can cope on his own and doesn’t need a partner in crime so to speak.


  13. Omega1 January 24, 2012 at 9:24 pm -

    Why can’t there be a new story arc? Now a lot of things are getting rebooted or having “parallel universes” (like Star Trek, X-men first class, etc). That would also save the show from having cameos from Smallville. Also he deserves it, Aquaman wasn’t picked up and because of Smallville, he’s been accepted as Green Arrow. I think the fans would accept this new origin and maybe some, (or most?) Smallville fans would give it a shot which would help ratings to at least get started

    • Kneo January 29, 2012 at 4:23 pm -

      I agree with Omega1. DC did have a 52-Earth Multiverse set up before the big reboot. Why not go that route? Same character, different history. That way you can use the same actors (like Justin and Alaina) if they want to come back. The Smallville fan get to see the characters they love but you didn’t have to watch Smallville to get what is going on. If you have to recast (because JH and AH can’t come back), then recast.

      • Kneo January 29, 2012 at 4:26 pm -

        I have prepared my fan cast just in case they must recast.

  14. TJ January 26, 2012 at 2:27 am -

    I think they should bring back Justin. That immediately brings in those who were fans of Smallville. That was the only TV show i watched. If Justin wasnt in this I truly dont know if I would be faithful to this show. He does need to be with Canary though… the show being a Smallville spin off makes it much stronger than it just standing alone.

  15. Christiaan January 26, 2012 at 4:02 pm -

    Justin Hartley IS GreenArrow/OliverQueen… That said, I would love to see the story of this hero progress onward. The release of the old story (Smallville) and bring in the new adventures is a great concept… That should happen. But it should also show the progress of GA .

    There is NO need for Smallville characters coming into this since GA has gone home to Star City where life there is much different and so is he… I really don’t see that should be a problem if the writers are progressive enough and not closedi ded to see the great possibilities… There are many.

    JH already has the character his own plus he knows his way around the cross bow and long now. He has done the shots and excellently done I might add…

    One more thing… I think the age range for this particular pilot/series should encompass more of an age range instead of sticking just to the teen and 20 something’s.

    Yes, I just said that. Seriously too.


  16. Sharon January 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm -

    I would probably not watch if it were not the original Green Arrow, Justin Hartley. He can not be replaced – way too soon.

    In fact, I know I would not watch unless it is Hartley. He is too perfect :)

  17. Joanna January 29, 2012 at 4:41 pm -

    I think they should cast someone else. It would be interesting to see another actor’s take on that role. And if changing actors is good for Doctor Who and Superman, they it’s good for Green Arrow.

  18. Ultraviolet January 30, 2012 at 8:30 am -

    I think that would be a perfect role for Chris Zylka.

  19. Snurfles January 30, 2012 at 9:35 am -

    No Justin, no interest. ’nuff said.

  20. John January 31, 2012 at 6:44 pm -

    Keep Hartely. CW needs a new superhero show and the fan base would carry it!

    Whats wrong with bringing on the Smallville cast once in a while. It worked for the Frasier series as a spin off from the very popular Cheers tv show!!

  21. Ray July 16, 2012 at 5:28 am -

    Since Justin will not be the Green Arrow thee is reason for me to watch the new Arrow. I am speaking for 3 people in my family. Justin to us is the Green Arrow in modern times

  22. Terry October 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm -

    I’m glad they decided to go with someone older to play Oliver Queen Hartley is fine but a bit to young to really embody as it’s meant to be

    • Craig Byrne October 18, 2012 at 9:24 am -

      I get what you were saying but Justin Hartley is actually something like 4 years older than Stephen Amell.

  23. Adam October 22, 2014 at 4:58 pm -

    The only reason I’m NOT watching Arrow is because they didn’t keep Hartley. It would’ve been nice for fans to kind of reminisce on memories of Smallville and make the psychological connection of loyalty that they had from Smallville to Arrow. I believe this argument applies to the Aquaman series, Flash, Gotham (if they do decide to merge characters from different series, and the rumored ‘Cyborg’ series I’ve heard about.