REACTION: Any plans for a Green Arrow series without Justin Hartley is a big mistake.
Last night, TVSource Magazine reported that the CW was nearing a deal to commision a new pilot based on the DC Comics’ character, Green Arrow. Not a particularly surprising development given the network’s desire to find another show in this genre to replace Smallville, which ended its 10-year run last May. It makes perfect sense for the network to consider picking up a series based Green Arrow due to the characters prominent role on Smallvile since his Season Six introduction. In fact, it seems almost like a no-brainer for the network: Capitalize on the popularity of an established character that Smallville viewers are already attached to by creating a spin-off series for Justin Hartley. Seems like a sure win right? Not so fast.
Hopes were instantly dashed when the initial reports made it clear that Hartley was not attached to the project. Logically, there could be several reasons for this. Perhaps the creators of the show want to create a new history for the character that is not based on the comics or the Smallville arcs. Maybe they’d rather go with a younger actor and make it an origin series or maybe they want to go in a different direction altogether and Hartley doesn’t fit the profile. It could even be something simple like it’s too early in the process to attach a star to the lead role and deals still need to be made.
I think it would be a huge mistake for the network to green light this project without exhausting every option to secure Justin Hartley for the starring role. I might be more understanding if it were a different network developing the series, but I cannot fathom why the CW would choose to go with anyone other than the actor who fans watched and cheered on for five seasons. As someone who has never picked up a comic book in her life, my only experience with the character has been on Smallville and I have no interest in seeing another actor step into the role. Judging by the swift, vocal reaction I saw on Twitter after the news was released; I’m not alone in this. Most people said the same thing I did about a Green Arrow series without Justin Hartley. No thank you.
The CW might not be a ratings juggernaut, but the one thing the network has going for it its loyal fans. Smallville never would have lasted 10 seasons on a different network given its weekly performance in the ratings. However the show had an incredibly dedicated, loyal and vocal fan base. The creators of this new pilot should be doing everything they can to tap into that, starting with calling Hartley’s agent and offering him a deal to star in this series.