Ever since news broke that a standalone Black Canary film is in the works at HBO Max, fans have been speculating about the character’s long-time love interest Oliver Queen – and by extension, the Green Arrow – possibly being introduced to the DC Extended Universe. Several notable actors have stepped into the role over the years producing memorable live-action and animated versions of the character, with Stephen Amell setting the modern standard on the hit CW series Arrow. Nothing has been confirmed at this point, but if Queen does show up in the movie it will be the Emerald Archer’s very first appearance in a live-action major motion picture.
While Dinah Lance has plenty of her own stories to tell, she and Green Arrow have been closely linked in the comics going all the way back to the ’70s. Their relationship can be fairly convoluted at times, particularly just prior to DC’s game-changing Crisis on Infinite Earths event that rebooted the universe and reestablished both characters for the modern age.
Black Canary’s solo adventure is in its early stages of development but will stream exclusively on HBO Max when it releases. Jurnee Smollett will reprise her role as Dinah Lance following director Cathy Yan’s well-received Birds of Prey in 2020, which featured Canary teaming up with Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), and former detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez). Here are five actors who could convincingly step into the role of Oliver Queen for the movie:
Bradley Cooper brings a sort of raw manic energy to many of his roles that could make for a unique take on Oliver Queen, perhaps in a similar vein as Ewan McGregor’s certifiably insane Black Mask in Birds of Prey. Cooper’s been nominated for acting Oscars in four completely different genres, so it’s unlikely there exists a version of the Green Arrow character that Cooper doesn’t have the range for. He’s endeared himself to comic book fans as the voice of Rocket Raccoon in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and is one of the bigger names in Hollywood right now, which could go a long way in making Black Canary’s first solo endeavor a success.
Cooper is quite a bit older than Smollett, but there is actually precedent for a significant age gap between Oliver and Dinah Lance depending on which era of comic book history those behind the movie draw from. It’s estimated the characters are roughly 14 years apart in the post-Crisis universe, a time period that arguably did the most to establish Black Canary and Green Arrow’s generation-spanning romance. It has already been established that the DCEU’s Bruce Wayne has been active in Gotham for more than 20 years, and as the Emerald Archer has often been depicted as The Batman’s contemporary, the currently 46-year-old Cooper fits the timeline nicely.
One of the more unique incarnations of Oliver Queen comes from the 2011 one-off comic book “Green Arrow Industries.” As a part of DC’s game-changing Flashpoint arc, this version of Ollie turned a profit capturing super villains and repurposing their gadgets, making them into weapons his company could then sell to the military. Birds of Prey‘s take on Black Canary is already a little off the beaten path, so a radically different Green Arrow makes a lot of sense. It also further separates the DCEU from the Arrowverse’s depiction of the character.
Boyd Holbrook as the mutant hunter Donald Pierce in Logan stands out as one of the better villain performances in a modern comic book movie and helped expose the actor to a much wider audience at the time. Holbrook’s slated to have a big role in the upcoming Netflix series The Sandman, so he’s certainly proven himself within the genre and has been on an upward trajectory in Hollywood for quite a few years. Flashpoint Oliver has somewhat of a tragic arc despite only existing in one book (as well as a single Green Lantern frame) and retains the character’s somewhat dry sarcasm/sense of humor, which seems like a challenge made for Holbrook. He has a unique kind of swagger that could play well with Smollett’s Canary as either a love interest or, if DC wanted to tweak the character ever so slightly, as the movie’s villain.
It seems like one can’t throw a stone on the internet without hitting someone who wants Charlie Hunnam in the role of Green Arrow. He is generally among the first names to come up when discussing the subject, and there are several very good reasons for that. Starting with the most obvious: he’s a ruggedly handsome man with a solid resemblance to Oliver Queen, which opens him up to almost any version of the character. While looks aren’t everything, introducing Green Arrow into the DCEU means that whoever gets the part may one day have to stand next to Jason Momoa in a Justice League movie and not look foolish, so in this case, they’re important.
Hunnam is most famous for his role as biker prince Jax Teller in the critically acclaimed series Sons of Anarchy, which ran for seven seasons on FX. In many ways, the character is not all that dissimilar to Oliver Queen. Teller is a genuinely good-hearted individual who others naturally want to follow, but he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty. That includes killing a man if the situation calls for it. He also has a way with the ladies and lived his younger years in the fast lane. Hunnam brought a great deal of well-rounded emotional depth to his SOA character as well. That’s important because while there are certainly some humorous versions of Oliver Queen, there have also been instances of Green Arrow being explosively angry and violent if pushed far enough.
Fans sort of got to check “Donald Glover as a superhero” off their bucket lists in 2015 when he voiced Miles Morales in Disney XD’s animated Ultimate Spider-Man series. He also appeared briefly in Spider-Man: Homecoming as Aaron Davis and had a quick cameo in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Still, there are many who would still love to see the multi-talented artist suit up as a full-fledged live-action superhero on the big screen. While it is admittedly difficult to envision Glover slapping on a pair of green spandex and a Robin Hood hat, the real intrigue is his potential to bring something new and fresh to the role of Oliver Queen. The man has impeccable creative range, not only succeeding at an extremely high level across multiple art forms but really digging in and exploring all their various genres and styles.
There seems to be very little Glover cannot do. As a writer on 30 Rock, he won the Writers Guild of America Award for three consecutive seasons while launching his on-screen career as a part of Dan Harmon’s hilarious ensemble sitcom Community. Glover’s series Atlanta has taken home five Primetime Emmy Awards in just two seasons, earning Glover the distinction of being the first African-American to win Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series. He has also won five Grammy Awards under the moniker “Childish Gambino” including the 2019 Record of the Year winner, “This is America.”
This casting pick may or may not be based solely on Robert Pattinson’s incredibly impressive beard in The Lost City of Z. While the pointy blonde goatee and mustache are not necessarily a requirement for a good Green Arrow, there’s no denying the Emerald Archer has had some glorious facial hair over the years, and Pattinson pulls it off surprisingly well. He’s also a tremendous actor, receiving rave reviews for movies like Good Time and Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse.
Pattinson is no stranger to the pressures of a major film franchise and would be a perfect fit in the DCEU’s Black Canary. Twilight was among the highest-grossing film franchises of all time until the comic book movie craze and Disney’s acquisition of Star Wars began dominating the box office. Unfortunately, Pattinson is more than likely unavailable to play Oliver Queen any time soon, as he is currently slated to don the cowl in Matt Reeves’ The Batman in 2022. The film has no overt connections to the DCEU at this point, and there are already sequels and HBO Max spinoffs planned.
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