TV News

Arrow Casts New Actress as Black Canary. Confused? The Exec. Producer Explains

UPDATED: 11/1/2013-For those of you up to date with season 2 of Arrow, you now know that they brought back Sara Lance as a proto-version of Black Canary.  Sara was originally played by Jacqueline MacInnes Wood in the Arrow pilot, but for reasons that are not entirely clear (possibly because Wood has a full-time gig on the daytime soap Bold & The Beautiful) the role has been re-cast with actress Caity Lotz.  According to one of Arrow‘s Executive Producers, Sara’s presence does not mean that Laurel will not eventually someday become Black Canary since that is her superhero identity in the comics.  This news all originally broke in July, and the following article was written at that time.  

According to The Wrap, which exclusively reported this news a couple of hours ago, Arrow has cast actress Caity Lotz to play the role of Black Canary.  According to The Wrap:

“While the Black Canary will start out as a recurring role, Lotz is expected to eventually become a series regular, as her character will be groomed as a love interest for Arrow (Stephen Amell).  The Black Canary is a notable character in the DC Comics franchise, and both The CW and the producers of ‘Arrow’ are high on its potential.”

What they fail to acknowledge in their report is that Katie Cassidy is already a full-time member of the cast of Arrow as Laurel Lance.  As I explained elsewhere on this site:

Oliver Queen is Green Arrow, even if the show simply calls him “The Hood,” and Laurel Lance is Black Canary, a super heroine identity the show might someday get to. Since the late 1960s, Green Arrow and Black Canary have been a couple, regardless of which version of Oliver Queen or which Lance (the original Dinah Drake or the current Laurel, Dinah’s daughter) we’re talking about.  Granted, they have frequently broken up, but in terms of comic book super heroes who are thought of as being a romantic couple these two are among the most notable.

At the show’s current state, Laurel is an attorney for the poor and down-trodden.  She has on multiple occasions displayed a knack for hand-to-hand combat, and has shown a definite affinity for the vigilante known as “The Hood” who she does not know is actually ex-boyfriend Oliver Queen.  It’s been assumed they would at some point begin transitioning Laurel into her comic book counterpart’s vigilante identity of Black Canary, though likely minus the accompanying supersonic scream that would be out of touch with Arrow‘s Christopher Nolan-esque realistic approach to the superhero genre.

black-canary-cast-in-arrow-tv-show_1128
Katie Cassidy on left, Black Canary on the right.

So, what [pause for dramatic effect] the hell is going on with this news about Caity Lotz, an actress primarily known for having been in a recurring role on Mad Men, being cast to play Black Canary?  Not to go all schoolyard on you, but Katie Cassidy was here first.

Theories:

Possibility #1: Caity Lotz has been cast to play Sara Lance

Sara Lance is Laurel’s younger sister.  As fans of the first season are undoubtedly aware at thispoint, Oliver was having an affair with Sara and the two left together on a cruise with his father.  The ship sunk, Sara died, Oliver’s father killed himself and a fellow survivor to allow Oliver to survive on the limited resources left, and Oliver ended up stranded on an island for 5 years.

sarah-lance
The last time we saw Sarah things, well, they definitely didn’t look very promising for her.

Alex “River Song” Kingston showed up in the season’s second half as Laurel’s mother, Dinah, who believed that Sara had somehow survived.  When her rather flimsy lead – a picture of a girl who looked a little like Sara – was proven wrong, the remaining Lances (Laurel, Dinah, and father Quentin) had a melodramatic group crying session before moving on.  However, maybe Dinah was right after all, and Sara returns to the show having survived her own 5-year (6 at this point) ordeal and similarly newly buff, badass, and butt-kicking ala Oliver.  She could become Black Canary, with the identity at least kept within the Lance family.

The problem?  Sara has been seen on multiple occasions on the show to date, each time played by Jacqueline MacInnes Wood.  If this theory is correct then it would mean they have re-cast the role, which is certainly possible though not nearly as common in television as it once was.

Possibility #2: Caity Lotz Has Been Cast to Play an Entirely New Character

Black Canary-Caity Lotz
Caity Lotz. BTW, do NOT do a Google Image search for “Caity Lotz” at work. She has done several Maxim-style photoshoots. Ms. Lotz…is very fit.

Maybe she ultimately dies tragically, inspiring an admiring Laurel to take up the mantle of Black Canary.  There was a casting call recently for a role named Lisa who was described as being a woman who would “wreak havoc on Oliver’s heart.”  Perhaps this is the role for which Lotz has been cast, although that doesn’t mean this character is necessarily Black Canary.

Possibility #3: The Wrap Is Dead Wrong

Caity Lotz in The Pact
Caity Lotz in The Pact

It is worth noting that in their report they state Lotz’ “character will be groomed as a love interest for Arrow (Stephen Amell).”  They didn’t even bother to use the character’s name, Oliver Queen, or offer any real information which would indicate they’ve even seen the show.

The Truth:

Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg spoke exclusively to TVGuide to clarify the news:

“There’s been a bit of misinformation printed out there and what I would say is, yes, Caity Lotz is joining the show in a recurring role and we’re really excited.  She’s a tremendously talented actress. The character she’s playing is really the beginning of the story of the Black Canary.  The character that Caity is portraying is the beginning of the Black Canary story and we’re really excited for the fans to go on the journey with us.  So much of our show is about defying expectations, meeting expectations and exceeding expectations, and we really want our fans to experience the show by watching it and enjoying it and enjoying all the twists and turns and surprises the way we intend.

Everyone knows that Laurel Lance is the Black Canary. That’s the way it is in the comic books, but how we get from A to B is the story of our show. In the same way that Oliver, when we meet him, is the vigilante, but this season he’s going to becoming the Arrow, that’s the step of his journey to eventually becoming the Green Arrow. Laurel Lance right now is a lawyer with a lot of heart and a lot of humanity and courage. But it takes more than that to put on the mask and go out and fight crime. Our series is the evolution of that. People will see how Caity Lotz fits into Laurel’s journey along the way. For us, it’s very emotional and surprising and exciting. I would say to everybody, we haven’t let you down so far. Keep going on this ride with us.”

The Truth #2 (Update: 7/31/2013): 

It turns out I was right – it’s option #1.  Lotz has been cast to play Laurel’s sister Sara, with them having simply re-cast the role.

Via HuffPostTV:

When asked what [CW President Mark] Pedowitz hopes the character brings to Arrow, he said, “I hope it brings a certain amount of conflict since she’s playing the sister of Laurel Lance. It’s an origin story — don’t know if this character is the Black Canary or is not the Black Canary, but it is an origin story. Remember, Laurel Lance was the Black Canary in the DC Universe.”

So, there you have it then.  The soap opera that is Oliver Queen’s life is just about to get a lot more soap opera-y – the former lover/ex-girlfriend’s dead sister returns from the grave!  Dun-dun-dun!

Also, take a moment to check out some of our other Arrow-related content on the site:

17 comments

    1. Thanks. I saw somebody had posted that over at the IMDB board. My article has been updated to reflect the latest. The news is…certainly unexpected. Not necessarily bad, just very surprising.

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