Arrow is a television series from The CW based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow. Originally conceived as a spin-off from Smallville set to feature star Justin Hartley, it was instead decided to offer a different interpretation of the character. Premiering on October 10, 2012, it was the series that became the foundation for what would become known as the Arrowverse.
Billionaire playboy Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), missing and presumed dead for five years after his family's yacht, The Queen's Gambit sinks in a violent storm in the Pacific, is discovered alive on a remote island in the North China Sea. When he returns home to Starling City, his mother, Moira (Susanna Thompson), younger sister, Thea (Willa Holland), and best friend Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) welcome him home, but they sense Oliver has been changed by his ordeal on the island and the losses sustained in the sinking of his family's yacht, in which six other people, including Oliver's father, Robert, and his ex-girlfriend's sister, Sara Lance (Caity Lotz note ), were also aboard. Oliver keeps quiet about the man hes become, as he desperately wants to make amends for the actions he took as an arrogant, unfaithful playboy. Most particularly, he seeks reconciliation with his ex-girlfriend, Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), who at the time of the sinking he'd been cheating on her with.
As Oliver at first tries to play the role of the wealthy, carefree and careless philanderer he used to be, he secretly creates the crime-fighting persona of the Hood a vigilante to right the wrongs of his family, fight the ills of society, and restore Starling City to its former glory. In the beginning, his reasons for seeking justice for Starling City stems from a confession apparently made by his late father, who before his death informed Oliver that their family's immense wealth had been forged on the suffering of others. In his mission, Oliver gradually seeks aid from others who join him in his endeavor, the first being his bodyguard, John Diggle (David Ramsey), not long afterwards followed by Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards), a Queen Consolidated I.T. specialist, and Roy Harper (Colton Haynes), a street kid and Thea's boyfriend who needs guidance while carefully concealing the secret identity he turns to under cover of darkness. However, Laurels father, Detective Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne), is determined to arrest the vigilante operating in his city.
Flashbacks to the island reveal that Oliver was far from alone those five years, dealing with paramilitary forces, Mad Scientists and being trained by Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) to be the vigilante he is today. In the present day, Oliver finds himself taking on an organization far more dangerous than he anticipated, headed by Tommy's father, Malcolm (John Barrowman). Meanwhile, Olivers own mother, Moira, knows much more about the deadly shipwreck than she has let on and is more ruthless than he could ever imagine.
As the show progresses, Oliver and his comrades frequently face off against both personal enemies and those who pose a threat to the city Oliver swore to protect, making amends with some and burning bridges with others along the way. His desire to honor his father's memory is further compounded by the death of his best friend Tommy, who is killed in an earthquake at the end of the first season, whose memory he also wishes to honor. In season 5, Oliver recruits a series of people into the Team Arrow, with the idea of having them eventually succeed him and his friends as vigilantes, though circumstances force them to go back into the action, anyway. These recruits are Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum), Rene Ramirez (Rick Gonzalez), and Dinah Drake (Juliana Harkavy), who succeeds Laurel as the Black Canary.
The show follows the comics in Broad Strokes, playing the line between staying faithful to the source and keeping the audience surprised. Those unfamiliar with the comics will miss some Mythology Gags and references to important characters in the DCU, but the series enjoys employing Red Herrings to keep even the comics fans on their toes. The show's goal was to depict an evolving group of characters who may be closer or further from their comics origins, but through Character Development may eventually grow into the classical characters. Oliver starts his mission as a ruthless vigilante killing enemies without hesitation, but has a change of heart when he sees the negative effect it has on the city, his allies, friends and family.
Despite some hesitation regarding the seriesnote , the show ended up highly acclaimed for the cinematic presentation and having a strong cast. It brought in high ratings for The CW and was such a success it lead to the creation of a televised Shared Universe, known popularly by its Fan Nickname: "Arrowverse." Two other shows in the franchise had their main characters debuting in Arrow first. The first, The Flash, starred Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, who appeared in a two-part backdoor pilot in the second season. The second, Legends of Tomorrow, features an Ensemble Cast of minor DC characters, including two debuting in Arrow: Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer / the A.T.O.M. and Caity Lotz as Sara Lance, who has taken the mantle of "White Canary". Following the cancellation of Constantine, in the fourth season of Arrow, Matt Ryan showed up reprising the title character, retroactively incorporating that show into the shared universe. While Constantine never reappeared again in Arrow, he was added into Legends of Tomorrow starting with its third season. As the franchise' flagship title, Arrow participated in all of the franchise's Crisis Crossovers: Flash vs. Arrow, Heroes Join Forces, Invasion!, Crisis on Earth-X, Elseworlds, and Crisis on Infinite Earths.
In March 2019, The CW announced that Arrow's then-upcoming eighth season would also be its last, with a contracted order of ten episodes to wrap up the series as part of the build up to Crisis on Infinite Earths, with the final episode airing on January 28, 2020 after eight years and 170 episodes. This makes Arrow the first live-action Arrowverse series to come to an end.
Shortly before the final season premiered, it was reported that The CW was developing a female-centered spin-off focusing on Oliver's daughter, Mia (Katherine McNamara), who debuted in the series' seventh season. The spin-off would have focused on a new timeline set after the Crisis on Infinite Earths, where Mia, having taken her father's moniker of Green Arrow, works together with Dinah and Laurel, the Black Canaries, to prevent Star City from falling back into chaos. A backdoor pilot was aired as the penultimate episode of Arrow on January 21, 2020 with a tentative title of Green Arrow and the Canaries. After almost a year of silence, The CW confirmed on January 8, 2021 that the spin-off was not moving forward (according to EP Marc Guggenheim, the decision had been made since March 2020).