For those not in the know, The CW’s Arrow is arguably one of the best shows on TV. If you haven’t watched it you really need to do so. The writers, creators and actors are encompassing everything I’d hope to see out of a superhero show and it makes me hopeful if Star Wars ever decides to produce a live action TV show. From being light on romance to unique flashback scenes to a fantastic hero’s journey and even to the pure escape of everyday life for the viewer there is much that Star Wars can take from the success of Arrow.
Light on the Romance
In case you haven’t seen the show I’ll try to discuss these topics in vague terms without revealing any of the major plot twists. Oliver Queen, the main character, is definitely a ladies man in much the same way that Bruce Wayne is. Sure as the Arrow he likes to rescue the “damsel” in distress” as much as the next superhero but the romance isn’t the central part of the hero’s journey. Often the Arrow must choose between the city and the girl and he makes the choice to do what is right and save the city first. With these choices the show also empowers women to save themselves and each other. So while Oliver definitely likes the women and has many of them surrounding him, that part isn’t the main focus and really is good support of his journey to becoming a hero. The romance and love triangles are necessary to humanize the superhero and make him relate-able to the average viewer but unless the genre is romance or love story then that shouldn’t be the main focus of the story. Star Wars managed to do this correctly in the OT, but I felt failed miserably in the PT. A huge part of Anakin’s fall had to do with Padmé and as a whole I’m ok with that. The way it was written and portrayed was lacking and some of it felt odd and forced and too much like a romance or love story in parts.
Unique: Flashback Scenes
One of the most compelling and fascinating aspects of the show Arrow is the flashback sequences. So we see Oliver in the present as the Arrow but each season we also get to see a year of his life from when he was presumed dead or lost at sea. We get to learn about how he became the Arrow as we also watch him in the present time saving the city. Sometimes the two Olivers contradict each other and that contrast is really well done in the series. It never appears to be done just for the sake of it but each time there is a purpose in the telling of the Arrow’s story. The director also uses some phenomenal cuts between the past and the present, especially during fight scenes. The two Olivers look very different so there is never a confusion to the viewer as to if we are in the past or the present which is also important. I think it was during LOST that I would spend half an episode thinking it was one thing and then discovering it was another and that used to really bother me so I appreciate Arrow making things really straightforward for us.
While I don’t want to see Star Wars copying Arrow, the time jump for Episode VII would lend itself really well to needing to fill in the gaps and utilizing a flashback technique. Ultimately it is my hope that there are no gaps with the books or television shows filling those gaps in, but it would be fun to see a flashback used in several key places to show things that have been skipped over for right now. Many fans don’t read the book and only watch the movies. Using something similar to Arrow‘s flashback scenes it could be done in such a way to entice the viewers to seek out further information and pick up a book or comic to read about it.
A Compelling Hero’s Journey
Oliver Queen upon initial meeting appears just like many other heroes we’ve seen: rich, attractive playboy with at least one dead parent. Seems pretty cookie cutter right? That is what I thought when I first started watching the show. Each episode proves my initial thoughts wrong as another piece of his journey is revealed and another layer of Oliver Queen is seen. This time, Star Wars need to remember the future is a blank slate and Disney is showing intentions of producing various Star Wars stories for many years to come. This means that despite little information having been released on their plans for Star Wars I believe they intend to continue making movies, tv shows and books for many years to come. Despite the next three episodes being talked about right now there will most likely be more opportunities for movies. The story doesn’t need to be an in your face story. They can give us a story like Arrow’s where it takes time to reveal all the secrets or twists and turns.
Something I didn’t like about the PT was how confined I felt he story was. They were stuck in a specific time frame and got a little lazy with the story and the fun reveals that Star Wars was known for because the viewers already knew that Anakin was going to become Darth Vader. One of the reasons Star Wars was initially so well loved (besides the special effects) was the reveal in ESB of Vader being Luke’s father. As a viewer you were right there with Luke in feeling his anguish. Arrow is giving viewers similar feelings as more layers of Oliver’s journey is revealed to us. Star Wars could stand to remember that it isn’t a pod race to reveal everything.
I watch this show with my room mate and I asked her what her favorite part of Arrow is for her. I was surprised that her answer was about how much this show is just a pure escape from everything going on in her life. I hadn’t thought about that because for me, Star Wars is that escape in my life. I can disappear from the world into a book that takes me across multiple planets in all different kinds of ships and meet all sorts of different species. So here I am thinking her and I are going to discuss how sexy Stephen Amell is or how much fun the bad guys are and she broadly brings up the escape concept. It bugs me when I feel like a show or movie has another agenda, especially if that movie is in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. These movies and show are pure escape for the viewers. Star Wars could go either way. There is a chance that the political aspects of the Star Wars universe could put forth hidden agendas and I want them to instead remember how much fun these movies are and how people watch things like this in order to take time out of their hectic lives not thinking about anything in their hectic lives.
Speaking of fun bad guys, I have to briefly say because there isn’t a way to talk about this further without revealing some things about the show but the bad guys in Arrow are really well done. I hate reading a book or watching a movie and feeling like the bad guy was just a piece of cardboard there because the script said it needed to be there. Arrow uses the flashback scenes to add depth to all of their characters, including the bad guys which is something I’d like Star Wars to remember.