25+ Major Differences In CW’s Arrow From It’s Comic Book, Explained

If you are fan of CW’s hit show Arrow, you must have wondered how the show must have been different from its comics? 

Also, because the comics version of Green Arrow isn’t something much discussed upon or as popular as of other DC heroes like Batman, Flash or Superman. 

And, comic versions of these popular DC heroes are so much discussed that so many new and older fans of their live-action shows know about the differences and similarities. 

But that might not be the case with Green Arrow, so he is coming with the 25 biggest differences in the CW’s show Arrow from its original source Green Arrow comic books. 

In nutshell, this has to be said that the makers of the show went to great lengths to actually make a show that only honors the source material. 

However, they did go for a new route, something that only they have explored and very well established, for sure. 

This is a much more realistic adaptation with tweaks and changes that are creatively pulled off, and for most part, it is not disappointing. 

Definitely there are things that are inaccurate or completely different approaches from the comics which did offend some dedicated comic books fans. 

Now, that’s out of the way, we let you discover these differences and decide for yourself!

The Batman-ization of Green Arrow 

Image Source: Deadline

One of the highly talked about aspects of the CW’s show Arrow was how it was inaccurate in terms of personality and demenour, or even tonally to its comics counterpart. 

And also, how his personality, some plot points and even storylines are imitated or adapted from Batman. 

In the comics, Oliver Queen is much more known for being a wise-cracker and a daredevil character whereas in the show, he is much more broody and stoic, closer to Batman. 

He is much more on the darker side and more tortured. He has killed many times in the show in early seasons as well. 

However, the show was a huge success, so much that it became the jumping pad for many spin-offs, unfolding a whole universe in itself, also titled Arrowverse.

So, one can criticize but still it is a version which is quite unique for sure and very well done, even though it reminds you of Batman. 

There Is No John Diggle In The Comics 

Image Source: TO

John Diggle is an Arrowverse character that received great fan response as it was introduced in the CW’s show Arrow. 

It is so shocking to learn that this David Ramsey played character John Diggle didn’t even exist in comics. 

Clearly, this exclusively created character for the show worked well proving that a good TV writing goes even beyond its source material. 

The credit also goes to the actor himself who played the character so brilliantly and became a fan favourite. 

His fandom can be measured by the very fact that even though Arrow show has been over, the fans and the makers cannot let his character go as he is making appearances in so many of Arrowverse shows. 

The paramount of his character’s success is also from the fact that the makers teased him to become the Green Lantern, however it did come to an unsatisfied conclusion. 

His character was originally introduced as Oliver Queen’s bodyguard who goes to become his best friend and old brother figure. 

Even though there is no John Diggle, Oliver’s trusty bodyguard by day and Arrow’s sidekick, Spartan by Night in the comics, there was indeed a mention of the last name. 

It actually comes from giving homage to the writer of Green Arrow: Year One named Andy Diggle who was also introduced in the comics during Andrea Sorrentino and Jeff Lemire’s run. 

Quentin Lance Character In Comics Doesn’t Have Much To Do

Image Source: TV guide

The comics version of Quentin Larry Lance is the father of Dinah Lance but doesn’t have much more role to play. 

But in the TV show, his character has so much weightage and an impressive arc over the whole series. 

He starts from this hot-tampered dedicated cop completely against the hooded vigilante but soo becomes an ally. 

His character was one of the essential supporting characters in the whole series, and the arc was quite notable. 

Felicity Smoak Wasn’t A Computer Genius In Comics

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One of the most endearing characters in the CW show Arrow, is the computer genius in Team Arrow, Felicity Smoak played by Emily Bett Rickards. 

Her character was first introduced as an employee in the IT department of Queen Industries where Oliver turned towards her for help on the technical side of things. 

And eventually, she became a core part of Team Arrow along with Oliver and Diggle. They were in fact, the OGs in the team before others came. 

She also becomes the unrequited love of Oliver Queen, the one to the caped vigilante of Staring City. 

In the comics, however, the name Felicity Smoak who appears in the Firestorm comics in 1984 isn’t anything like the one seen in the CW’s show. 

She was this fierce and dark-haired version, manager in a software company creating troubles for Firestorm, and his alter ego Ronnie Raymond. So, clearly, except the name nothing is alike! 

However, the executive producer Andrew Kreisberg brough this new version of Felicity Smoak to The New 52 that is much closer to what we saw in the CW series. 

Malcolm Merlyn Becomes More Important In CW Series

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John Barrowman plays Malcolm Merlyn, also known as the Dark Archer, a cold, sinister and villaineous, however much complex and layered character brilliantly. 

He is, however, always at collision with Oliver Queen with more than one reason, one being revealed to be the actual father of Thea Queen. 

His character in the series has so much to offer, even more than comics counterpart. 

He was first introduced as a wealthy and snarky businessman coming out with his hidden agenda, leading the cabal to demolish the Glades.

Then, he further re-emerges aimed to transfer the blood debt put on him by the League of Assasins. 

In the comics, like the show, but more primarily the arch nemesis of Green Arrow. Originally, he was one of his teachers where Oliver eventually surpassed his expertise in archery. 

But in the show there is more to his character than comics. 

The Suicide Squad In The Show Have New Members 

Image Source: CBR

In the CW’s show, it is more known as the Task Force X, led by ARGUS head Amanda Waller bringing a group of criminals together on a dangerous mission in return for reduced jail time. 

That’s more or less similar in the comics as well, however the TV version of the squad has new members such as Captain Boomerang, Lyla Michaels, Bronze Tiger, Deadshot and even John Diggle at times. 

The comic version fo the suicide squad was much more vibrant and have many members  like Black Manta, Harley Quinn, Killer Frost, Deathstroke, Captain Cold, Plastique and even Batman. 

So, you can say, the version we saw on the Arrowverse is more grounded and focussed to the characters that are already established in this universe which is a good call to say the least. 

Slade Wilson Get A New Backstory 

Image Source: EW

Another fantastic Arrow character, more or less, a relentless villain played by Manu Bennett is Slade Wilson gets a new backstory. 

He was originally a friend of Oliver Queen when he met him on Lian Yu, and they even grew to become as close as brothers, working together to foil plans of Edward Fyers. 

Things turn completely the other way around when Anthony Ivo kills his love, it was Oliver who was blamed by Wilson seeking revenge on Starling City. 

At one point, he gained super-strength from Mirakuru serum, but for the most part, his speciality lies in his expert martial art skills he learned at ARGUS and ASIS. 

Oliver had to eventually put an arrow to his eye leaving him blind on his left side, after which he became one of the greatest arch-nemsis of Green Arrow in the show. 

However, later on in the series, he does come to the side of Oliver. So, they have a much more detailed and nuanced relationship in-between as compared to the comics. 

Still, for the most part, comics and show interpretation on Slade Wilson is similar but he is mostly recognized by his moniker Deathstroke. 

He first appeared in Teen Titans in this blue and orange clad mercenary outfit with a red-skull-looking mask. 

Deathstroke is proven to be a strong opponent and consistent nemesis to DC heroes like Green Arrow, Batman and most of the other heroes as well. In comics, he lose an eye when his wife tries to shoot herself in the head.

Conor Hawke Is Adopted Son Of John Diggle Rather Being Son of Oliver Queen 

Image Source: SC

Another major difference between Green Arrow comics and the show, is how the Conor Hawke character is approached. 

This could be marked for the biggest change made to Oliver Queen’s history looking at the original source material. 

Conor Hawke who goes on to become Green Arrow after Oliver Queen is son of Oliver and Sandra Moonday, in the comics. 

He gew up in the monaestray after which he learned and mastered archery and martial arts, eventually taking up his father Oliver’s mantle of Green Arrow.

In the show, Conor Hawke is shown as the adopted son of John Diggle and Lyla Michales, who is biologically the son of Ben Turner and Sandra Hawke. 

So basically, Connor Hawke, the next Green Arrow in this world, the Arroverse is the son of Bronze Tiger. 

Moira Queen Has Little To No Presence In Green Arrow Comics   

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Moira Queen, mother of Oliver Queen, the matriach of the Queen Family and also the CEO of Queen Industries, and also a one-time candidate of Mayor in Starling City, and so much fleshed out in the show, unlike the comics.

Her character is played by Susanna Thompson who clearly did a fabulous job from the moment she showed up in the pilot episode to the very end of her unfortunate death. 

She also has been much more mysterious in the beginning of the show where her morality was on the test for the audience, so much so that she was suspected to be the part of the planned shipwreck on which Oliver was on, and it was half-true.

Her character also is a loving mother and fierce woman who tries to protect her children. 

Even more, in the first few seasons, she has become the centre of conflict for Oliver and the Arrow both. 

Her death was even quite a powerful and moving turn into the season, and also a breaking point for Oliver Queen and his family. 

With all this much of character exporations, sub-plots and character arcs with Moira Queen in the show, the comics was an entirely different case.

In comics, she had a little to almost no presence. Both Moira Queen and Robert Queen are basically dead in the comics storyline where they show-up sometime in the memories of the orphaned vigilante. 

Oliver Queen Started Working With Amanda Waller Even Before He Become Green Arrow 

The CW series went for a different route, say a more realistic one where they have given so much importance to Green Arrow’s alter ego, Oliver Queen. 

It is not like his actual character is just a face hiding his vigilante side, different from Batman. 

Also, there is so much focus on Oliver’s journey to become this hooded vigilante but before that, there is  alot he had gone through, and being part of so much which we get to explore as flashbacks. 

In the same flashback, we see Oliver Queen meeting the legendary DC character Amanada Waller, in the third season of the series. 

So, basically, he meets and even worked for Amanda Waller, way before he became Green Arrow. 

Amanda Waller seems to keep tabs on Oliver after the ship’s sabotage and even knew about him standed on the Lian Yu, and events following that. 

Oliver Queen had to work for Amanda Waller, doing missions for her, quite a Suicide-squad style or approach of her. 

Oliver seems to have himself involved in criminal underworld, secret societies and much more before he returns to his city becoming the hood. 

But such prolonged experience was not the case with the Comics’s version of Oliver Queen/Green Arrow. 

Sara Lance Does Not Appear In The Comics 

Image Source: TSR

Sara Lance, played by Caity Lotz became a crucial character in the Arrowverse including having a primary role to play in the spin-off show Legends of the Tomorrow

But her character became an important one , even before that. She is the younger sister of Laurel who is presumed to be dead after the shipwreck. 

Her character was introduced later in the show, and soon became a fan-favourite with an extraordinary arch. 

Oliver met her on Lian Yu after being captive by Anthony Ivo where she was already there, saved by him. 

After that, Oliver and Sara separated again, afterwhich she went up on training with Nyssa al Ghul in the League of Assasins.  

And that was another turning point for her. Later, she returns to Starling city helping Oliver aka Arrow in his crusade to stop crime, clean up the Glades and stop Slade Wilson. 

After then, she only became a crucial character in the show until she was killed off, and brought up, and everything.  

In the same timeline, her track was separated from Arrow to the spin-off show legends of the Tomorrow where she eventually became Captain of a time-ship protecting the timeline. 

In the comics, she doesn’t appear in the Green Arrow comics at all. 

However, Sara is the first Canary in the show, and then she gives her mantle to her sister Laurel seems to be homage to Dinah Drake training her daughter Dinah Lance to become the next Black Canary. 

Another dig on the comics was naming the mother of Laurel, Dinah Lance, another hint of her being the next  Black Canary. 

Oliver’s Sister Thea Queen is TV Exlusive Character

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Thea Queen is another character from the CW’S Arrow show who doesn’t exist in the traditional Green Arrow comic books. 

She is a significant character in the show, the younger,troubled and impulsive sister of Oliver Queen aka Green Arrow.

For the first three seasons, Thea plays an emotionally-troubled, occasionally spite-ful and spoilbrat little girl who lost herself into partying and drugs after the unfortunate pressumed death of his brother, Oliver Queen. 

Her character goes through major changes and a major fall out after third season puts her into care of his recently discovered biological father Malcolm Merlyn who trained her as the league of assassins. 

Further, she becomes Arrow’s sidekick Speedy, another vigilante from Team Arrow. 

Even though Thea Queen doesn’t exist in comics, the vigilante character Speedy does in the comics. 

And in the first few seasons, the show has been dropping hints that Thea Queen will become Speedy who is a comic-book version of Green Arrow’s sidekick. 

These hints were like Thea’s nickname being Speedy called by his brother, and his taken-up new identity in Corto Maltese with first name ‘Mia’ which is reference to Mia Deardon, the alter ego of Speedy in comics. 

Green Arrow’s Obssession With Trick Arrows Isn’t A Thing In The Show 

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In the comics, it is a running gag that Green Arrow has way more trick arrows, every one more unique and varied than the other in his quiver. 

He has all sorts of arrows like handcuff arrows, net arrows, explosive arrows and even boxing glove arrows. 

So, all of these varied trick arrows are basically a way to fight crime without racking up body count. 

We do see in the show Arrow changing his ways with arrows where in the first seasons he was only using it to kill and maime. 

But later, he started using other types of arrows like explosive arrows and smoke arrows, making him less lethal. He does have the sharpened arrows that can kill and even do more damanages. 

Clearly, he is no way obsessed or heavily using the trick arrows as much as it is shown in the comics. 

Green Arrow’s Costume Is Not The Same, More Realistically Adapted

Image Source: Meer

 If you look at the comics version of Green Arrow costume, the most prominent one  is basically the sleeveless tunic with large quiver, bracers and a Errol Flynn styled cap, more inspired from Robin Hood. 

Even though the Green Arrow’s costume consistently changed over the 74 years of its inception, the above mentioned was most popular and prominent. 

But in the TV show, the creators went for a more realistic version of Green Arrow’s costume.  

In the show as well, the costume gets upgrades from time to time, the major ones was from his ragged-up hooded green costume to closer custom-made superhero costume in later seasons. 

In fact, Green Arrow wore the first mask, the addition to his costume after Barry Allen comes in season 2. 

Olicity Doesn’t Exist In The Comics 

Image Source: TSR

In the Green Arrow comics, the relationship of Oliver Queen with Dinah Lance is what defines the both characters. It is so important to the overall storyline. 

The two of them have been shown in the comics as this ideal couple, being together for decades and finally in 2008, they get married in the issue named Green Arrow/Black Canary: Wedding Special. 

However, in the show, Olicity became so much popular and on-demand that the makers went for making Oliver and Felicity pairing the final one for the show. 

It is almost like Felicity and Oliver’s relationship level is mimicked from the Oliver and Dinah relationship, however the dynamics are completely different. 

Still, a lot of comic fans who were expecting Oliver and Dinah together weren’t happy with this pairing. 

Since, Dinah wasn’t in the TV series, her alter ego and first love equivalent, Laurel Lance could have been more closer to the Dinah-Oliver dynamics in the comics. 

No Van Dyke Beard 

Image Source: TNR

There is no denying Stephen Amells kills it with his looks as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow throughout the show. 

Even better, his personality and how he carries himself changes over time as he grows and there is so much played with his looks. 

Most of the time he just rocks the 5 o’clock shadow where a bit of goatee can be expected right there. 

But still Green Arrow’s look in the TV show is nowhere near to the comics when it comes to his iconic facial hair as of this Van Dyke style beard. 

In the comics, he has this curled facial chin whiskers along with stylized mustache making it nearer to its inspiration Robin Hood.  

However, in the recent Green Arrow comics rendition with New 52, he is much closer in looks with his TV counterpart. 

Oliver Queen/Green Arrow’s Martial Arts Abilities Is Exagerrated Early On 

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From very early on, the show clearly shows how good Oliver is with his martial arts abilities. 

So much so that if you compare them to the comics, it seems to be quite exaggerated because in the comics, he masters or develops martial arts ability much later. 

In the show, however, since the beginning, it is shown that Green Arrow basically outfights almost everyone. 

He is projected to be a better fighter than almost everyone in the show whereas as per the comics, martials arts is something that he learned later in his journey. 

So originally, he learned only archery on the island and that made him a vigilante, a superhero fighting crime. 

But in order to become almost better or the same as other superheroes, he has to learn the martial arts after becoming Green Arrow, a few years later. 

And on his journey, just like Batman, Green Arrow, being a billionaire, used his money to be a better superhero, using technology to empower themselves. 

This is not exactly hyped much in the series as much as his physical abilities and fighting skills, a kind of completely different turn from the comics. 

Starling City Changed To Star City 

Image Source: Reddit

The hometown of the Green Arrow is called Starling City in the show where the main set piece of the series takes place. 

If you look at the GPS coordinates of this fictitious city, it is similar to Seattle. The Queen Mansion, Queen Industries, the glades neigbourhood, all the essential part of the story base in this city. 

However, the name of the city was changed to ‘Star City’ after the rebranding by the newly resident billionaire Ray Palmer to reinstate the metropolitan image of the town. 

Now, if you compare it to the comics, the base of operations of Green Arrow is originally named as just Star City, however his hometown in the comics is said to be Seattle. 

So, the city is shown to be located in Northern California, somewhere around San Francisco and also the port city. 

 The Mid Season 3 Finale Was Ripped From Batman #244

Image Source: DC

Less of a difference to say, more of something a connection between Batman comics and Green Arrow TV show. 

Apart from the obvious Batman-izing of the Green Arrow interpretation along with adaptation from Green Arrow: Year One comics issue, writers also picked an iconic Batman storyline for hooded vigilante.

The mid-season finale of Arrow season 3 was quite a hype in the show where Oliver faces Ra’s al Ghul sword fighting to death on a mountain top. 

It was a major fall for Oliver after get fatally wounded in the chest by the sword and then kicked off the mountain cliff. 

Something similar happened in the comics but not in the Green Arrow’s one. 

So this is the difference in the Green Arrow comics and the show as this Batman adaptation doesn’t happen in the Green Arrow comics. 

In comics, Batman was kicked off the cliff after losing the sword fight with his arch-nemesis Ra’s al Ghul after being challenged by him. 

And this was a pivotal point in the Neal Adam/ Denis O’ Neil’s Batman storyline. A lot of classic imaging and plot points are blantalty picked up in the CW Arrow, and used as mid way through the third season. 

Oliver Queen Was Trained By DeathStroke Before He Become Green Arrow 

Image Source: CB

In the show, pretty much like the comics, was stranded on this hellish island after his ship was sabotaged. 

But unlike the show, he was trained by Slade Wilson who later became Deathstroke. 

He is not the only one to train Arrow/Oliver Queen but many including Yao Fei Gulong, Shado, Talia-Al Ghul and also Ra’al Ghul. 

Yao Fei was the one to teach Oliver how to use bow and arrow where Slade Wilson was one to teach him martial arts.  

But this wasn’t the case for Oliver Queen in the comics.  He landed on his island and survived all by himself. 

He taught how to use the bow to himself by keeping practising and trying to survive. He does have a basic archery skill learned as a kid. 

Originally in the comics, he wasn’t even gone too long, especially on the island, at most for a few weeks before he was found again. 

This was clearly not the case in the show. He does get out of the island and doesn’t actually remain stranded for five years on an island as he tells everyone. 

Oliver Queen In The Show Is Much Less Political 

Image Source: TTT

One of the highlights about the Oliver Queen/Green Arrow in the comics that make his character standout is his loud and pronounced political leanings. 

The superhero is known to have a strong leaning towards the left and being openly liberal, always railing against authorities, trying to protect the people. 

He is the one who is always looking out for the little guy, never behind the authorities or organizations. 

There is so muc socialist behaviour to his personality and how he approaches the world.  In fact, at one point, the character eventually surrenders all of his wealth to become the part of the people. 

But if you look at the CW’s version, there is hardly any focus on him being political. He does become Mayor and do good for the city, and the glades but very far from the version explored in the comics. 

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