The 20 Biggest Arrow TV & Comic Book Differences

Voting Rules
Vote up which differences you think make the biggest impact on the story line.

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!

Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY

  • John Diggle Didn't Even Exist in the Comic
    Photo: Arrow / The CW

    TV Show: Actor David Ramsey’s character John Diggle was created for the show and has proven to be a fan favorite. The character was originally introduced as Oliver’s bodyguard and eventually went on to become an older brother figure of sorts and occasionally a member The Suicide Squad.

    Comic: Oliver’s trusty bodyguard didn't exist in the comic. However, Green Arrow: Year One writer Andy Diggle’s last name was borrowed for the show as an homage to the creator. Diggle was introduced to the comics during Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s run. 

    408 votes
  • Thea Queen Is TV Exclusive
    Photo: Arrow / The CW

    TV Show: Willa Holland's Thea Queen is the chronically troubled younger sister of Oliver Queen. Thea spent the majority of Oliver's disappearance and return partying and enjoying the social life of a spoiled heiress. Fall out from the first three seasons pushed Thea into the arms of her (recently discovered) father, Malcolm Merlyn, where he trained her in the ways of The League of Assassins. 

    Comics: Thea Queen does not exist in the traditional Green Arrow comic books. However, the creators of Arrow have dropped several hints as to whom Thea might one day become. Oliver's nick name for his little sister is Speedy which alludes the comic book-verison of Green Arrow's sidekick. While training with Malcolm on Corto Maltese, she goes by the first name 'Mia' which could be a reference to Mia Deardon, who took on the Speedy mantle in the comics. 
    325 votes
  • Felicity Smoak Wasn't the Computer Genius on Team Arrow
    Photo: Arrow / The CW

    TV Show:  Felicity Smoak, as portrayed by Emily Bett Rickards, was first introduced as an IT rep at Queen Industries with whom Oliver would consult when he needed some help on the technical side of things. Eventually, she joined Ollie and Diggle in their war on crime in Starling City. She is the unrequited love of Oliver and usually breaks the tension with a self deprecating joke or two. 

    Comics: The name Felicity Smoak was actually used for a DC Comics character that appeared in Firestorm comics in 1984 and bears little resemblance to the character on Arrow. This fierce, dark-haired, version was the manager for a software firm and a constant foil to both Firestorm and his civilian identity of Ronnie Raymond. Recently, Arrow executive producer Andrew Kreisberg has introduced a version of Felicity to The New 52 that more resembles Emily Bett Rickards incarnation of the character to the Green Arrow comic. 

    401 votes
  • 4
    306 VOTES

    Quentin Lance Was Gotham Beat Cop

    Quentin Lance Was Gotham Beat Cop
    Photo: Arrow / The CW

    TV Show: Captain/Detective/Sergeant/Officer Quentin Larry Lance, as played by Paul Blackthorne, is the father of Laurel and Sara Lance and the hot-tempered cop who usually has deal with the vigilante Arrow. Although originally out to stop the vigilante, he comes to trust the Arrow and will assist him in stopping the bad guys when he can. 

     Comic: Larry Lance is still the father of Dinah Lance but does not have much of a role beyond that. 
    306 votes
  • 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. 
    261 votes
  • 6
    207 VOTES

    Malcolm Merlyn Becomes More Important To All The Characters

    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. 
    207 votes