The creator of Ra's al Ghul weighs in on the iconic DC baddie's portrayal on Arrow

Aside from the title character, The CW’s Arrow introduced one of its biggest DC alums with Ra’s al Ghul this season. So what does the guy who created the comic counterpart think of the TV portrayal?

In the wake of that mind-blowing midseason finale that finally gave us the fight between Ra’s and Oliver we’d been waiting for, chatted with Ra’s co-creator Dennis O’Neil about how The CW series has imagined his character.

Turns out O’Neil is actually relatively impressed with actor Matt Nable’s performance, noting the actor has managed to bring a swagger to the character that fits the ruthless attitude they tried to create on the comic page all those years ago. After seeing the performance, we'd have to agree.

Check out an excerpt from his comments below: 

“Ra’s is a good villain for Batman, and Green Arrow is a Batman-scale figure. He’s human, which makes for a good interchange. I paid a lot of attention to Ra’s last night. I think the actor, Matt Nable, gets it. I think he’s dignified. He’s tough-looking, he’s ruthless. That’s about the way that character should be played. I don’t have any qualms with the way he was written.

The writers didn’t include his obsession with the environment, and they didn’t involve the Lazarus Pit, which nobody has ever done. That was the most visual gimmick I ever came up with. Back before comics in movies and television were even a possibility, I thought 'They’ll certainly not miss the opportunity to show him emerging from this seething, boiling pit, crazy as a loon.' But, I learned a long time ago that it’s a mistake to try to take something from one medium to another, to take a comic book and throw it onto a television screen. You have to reinvent the story for your own medium.

And though I didn’t create Nyssa al Ghul—Greg Rucka did— I thought she was a fine Talia. For such an incidental character, there have been a number of Talias already. She comes closest to the way I conceived the character. I think ideally she would be played by someone who’s tall, stately, and obviously athletic. But this young woman, [actor] Katrina Law, could be Ra’s’ daughter.”

The third season of Arrow returns Jan. 21 on The CW, and we’d be shocked if the back half of season three doesn’t include a whole lot more Ra’s. What did you think of the Arrow version of the classic Batman villain?


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