Though the Arrow seemed to be the first do-gooder to put on a mask and hit the streets of Starling City, the writers dropped the revelation this week that Ted Grant’s (J.R. Ramirez) Wildcat actually beat him to the punch by a full five years — though his brief tenure as a hero didn’t end well. At all.
In a chat with ComicBook.com, Guggenheim noted their use of the character as a trainer for Laurel (Katie Cassidy) presented the perfect opportunity to follow up with Wildcat a few years after his flirtation with vigilantism. It was a nice twist, and Guggenheim said it was really a “no-brainer” from a story perspective:
“One of the things we wanted to do was to do the character of Wildcat, for a number of reasons. He makes sense within our world, Ted Grant had trained the original Black Canary, we've got Ted Grant training Laurel. There's a lot of low-hanging fruit there as it were, in terms of making Ted and Wildcat part of the show a no-brainer. At the same time, as you might have noticed, we've got a good chunk of costumed heroes running around Starling City. The challenge for us was how to make Ted and the Wildcat character different and the answer for us was revealing that Oliver was not in fact the first vigilante to roam the streets of Starling.”
It's actually been something we've been talking about for quite a while. One of the advantages of both the success of the show and the way our collective brains work is that we're always going, ‘Oh, okay, this is what we're going to do in Season Four, this is what we're going to do in Season Five.’”
Guggenheim went on to discuss how they map out seasons years in advance with plot points, and the long game they try to play by laying out major story arcs 1-2 seasons in advance. It’s an approach that has made Arrow one of the best shows on television, and it’s nice to know they’re still well ahead of the curve:
"We start with the season mapped out but then the closer we get to the end of the season, we've got to plant firmer flags in the sand. The picture that we developed back in June has got to come into greater focus. And we were talking about the next batch of episodes and we couldn't help ourselves; we started talking about Season Four and it was like, ‘No, no, no, we've got to finish Season Three first.’ That's sort of the way the show has been done. We're actually working on an episode now that pays off something that we set up back in Season One, an idea we've always had and were holding in our back pocket for the right time. That, to me, is one of the joys of working on the show is we get to play the long game with a lot of these things, like with the Felicity episode last week, and when we finally get it out into the world, it's always really exciting.”
What did you think of the surprise reveal that Oliver wasn’t Starling City’s first masked hero? Nice use of the character?