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The 20 Biggest Arrow TV & Comic Book Differences

Updated June 8, 2020 5k votes 807 voters 44.3k views20 items

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Ever wanted to know how the CW's hit show Arrow differs from DC Comic's long established Green Arrow character? Ranker has got you covered with a comprehensive list of the major differences between the TV show and comic book. Are you a CW drama fan that accidentally stumbled upon this super hero epic? Are you a die-hard comic book fan that took a chance on something that looked like 90210 with weapons? Are you just a fan of shirtless men wearing quivers of arrows? 
Although the producer's of Arrow have gone to great lengths to honor the source material, somethings just have to be changed. Oliver Queen has been whipping arrows at the bad guys for almost 75 years now and that's a lot of information and history to fit into an hour long drama once a week. So, if you're a fan of Arrow and looking to make the jump to the comics then hopefully this list gives you an idea what you might (and might not) find. Be sure to also check out our list of other action-filled shows like Arrow!

  • TV Show: Sara Lance, as played by Caity Lotz, is the younger sister of Laurel and thought lost at sea with Oliver when their boat sank. After being taken captive by Anthony Ivo, she is once again ripped away from Oliver and takes up training with Nyssa al Ghul in the League of Assassins. When she returns to Starling City, she assists Oliver on his crusade to clean up the Glades and stop Slade Wilson. 

    Comics: Sara Lance does not appear in the comics at all. However, Sara being the first Canary and then handing the mantle to Laurel might be an homage to how Dinah Drake trained her daughter, Dinah Lance, to become the next Black Canary. 
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  • 6

    Slade Wilson Gets A New Backstory

    Photo: Arrow / The CW

    TV Show:  Slade Wilson, as played by Manu Bennett, is originally a friend of Oliver during his time on Lian Yu. The pair grow to be as close as brothers and help foil Edward Fyers' plot. When Anthony Ivo kills his love, Shado, Wilson blames Oliver and seeks revenge when he returns to Starling City. Although at one point he was given super strength and reflexes from the Mirakuru serum, Slade relies on his expert martial art skills that he learned as part of both ARGUS and ASIS. It's Ollie that jams an arrow into the solider's eye leaving him blind on his left side. 

    Comics: Although similar in both version, comic book Slade Wilson is actually known my the overly long moniker Deathstroke the Terminator. The blue and orange clad mercenary made his first appearance in Teen Titans and is at odds with Green Arrow, Batman and most of the heroes in the DC Universe. He is a master weapons expert and carries with him a variety of guns, swords and grenades that he uses to fill his contracts. The silver fox actually looses his eye when his wife attempts to shoot him in the head. 
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  • 7

    Malcolm Merlyn Becomes More Important To All The Characters

    Photo: Arrow / The CW

    TV Show: Expertly played John Barrowman, Malcolm Merlyn, also known as the Dark Archer, is a constant foil to Oliver Queen as well as being the father of Thea Queen. First introduced as a wealthy business man  leading the cabal to demolish the Glades, Merlyn reemerges to transfer the blood debt set by the League of Assassins from himself onto Oliver's family. 

    Comics: Merlyn, real name Arthur King, is the arch nemesis of Green Arrow. Originally, Merlyn was one of the Emerald Archer's teachers whom Ollie eventually surpassed in archery expertise. He has appeared in the New 52 looking like his past incarnations except with a face now covered in burn scars. 
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  • Photo: Arrow / The CW

    TV Show: Moira Queen, as played by Susanna Thompson, is the matriarch of the Queen family, CEO of Queen Industries, and one-time mayoral candidate of Starling City. Ever at the center of conflict for Oliver and the Arrow, Moira has plenty of secrets to keep and attempts to act in the best interest of her family. 

    Comics: Moira has had little to no presence in the comics. Both she and her late husband, Robert Queen, spend the majority of Green Arrow's stories as only memories to the orphaned crime fighter. 
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