30 Surprising Things About the Making of 'Arrow'

You'll never guess how many times Oliver Queen was shirtless... 👕

It’s been five years since the premiere of Arrow, and the show has since gathered a huge fan following. But what’s shown to us each episode isn’t always what was necessarily planned from the get-go, especially with each character. From cast additions to planting hidden messages, ahead 30 things that will surprise you about the making of Arrow.

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David Ramsey’s character (John Diggle) was created specifically for this series.

He later was added to the DC universe through an introduction in Green Arrow.

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The CW
Diggle wasn’t meant to be a main character.

Casting director David Rapaport said Diggle was the final role to cast because it was only a small one in the pilot. He said they got really lucky casting David Ramsey because he made the character dynamic. “Diggle really grew throughout the season and now he's such an important part of the team."

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Stephen Amell was sought out to play Oliver Queen.

David Rapaport *knew* he wanted Stephen Amell to play Oliver Queen. “We wanted someone with a darkness and an edge to him, but someone who looked like He-Man,” Rapaport said in an interview. Rapaport was so sure Amell was the perfect fit, that he only auditioned a few others.

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Felicity Smoak was originally a one-episode character.

Felicity Smoak, played by Emily Bett Rickards, was only meant to appear as a guest character in season one. But Rapaport loved her. "That could have just been a one-line role but she popped,” he said.

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There were character swaps.

Producers planned to have Brandon Routh play Ted Kord (Blue Beetle), but The CW didn’t have the rights to use him. Routh ended up playing Ray Palmer (The Atom).

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Characters have to be *cut* out of their costumes.

Costume designer, Maya Mani, says the team will literally *cut* Katie Cassidy, who plays Laurel Lance (AKA Black Canary) out of her corset every day. The reason? To put it simply, because she’s tired and wants to go home.

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This castle might look familiar.

The exterior shots of Oliver Queen’s mansion are filmed at the Hatley Castle, located in the Hatley Park National Historic Site located in Colwood, British Columbia. It’s the castle popularly known as Luthor Mansion on Smallville.

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You might recognize this building as the police station, but...

...the Los Angeles Public Library was used to shoot exterior shots of the police headquarters.

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The skyline is always changing.

Skyline shots are actually from a number of various cities around the world, including, Frankfurt, Germany, Tokyo, Japan, and Singapore.

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Oliver’s club name has tons of meaning.

Verdant, the name of Oliver’s club, means "of bright green color." The large V logo also resembles the shape of an arrow. It’s not until Season 2 that the moniker “Green Arrow” starts to be used.

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Stephen Amell *actually* performs the "Salmon Ladder" stunt...

Watch as Amell hoists himself up what is referred to as the “salmon ladder." Executive producer Marc Guggenheim said in an interview, "It’s one of the most talked about moments in the pilot."

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...And a lot of the other stunts too.

In an interview he said he tries not to wear a harness as much as possible to give the directors leeway with their shots.

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How many "salmon ladder" pull-ups did Amell do in Season 1?

12 to be exact. That's quite impressive, we think.

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But other characters have stunt doubles.

And they're pretty cool. Fun fact: Black Canary’s stunt double, Ivett Gonda, is an Olympian in Taekwondo.

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No one was supposed to have superpowers.

When the show as originally pitched, its characters were all superpower-free. “We tried to make him as real as possible," said Stephen Amell who plays Oliver Queen. That was until they brought The Flash into the show.

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The title of each episode is scripted in the show.

Like Smallville, and many other shows, the title of every episode is said at least once in the dialogue between characters.

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The series was inspired by "The Dark Knight" Trilogy.

It’s hard to not see the major similarities between the two shows. Both tell the story of spoiled rich kids who become vigilantes. The visual style is also very similar to that of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy.

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They used oatmeal as cement.

In one scene, Oliver and Diggle get trapped in wet cement. Juliana Harkavy told Marie Claire in an exclusive interview that they actually used thousands of gallons of oatmeal. “After a couple of days it started to smell putrid, and we were all gagging and laughing the entire time we shot it,” Harkavy said.

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There are plenty of DC comic book Easter eggs.

The creators intended to downplay the number of Easter eggs in the show, but comic books fans can find tons of them. Keep clicking to see some.

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The number 52 has relevance.

DC Comics did a revamp and relaunch of its entire line of superhero comics, called the New 52. Because news shots are an integral part of the show, the creators decided to give the news station the number 52.

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Characters are named after writers...

The character John Diggle was named after Andy Diggle, writer of Green Arrow—Year One.

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... and writers are alluded to through the dialogue.

Mike Grell, an iconic writer and artist of the Green Arrow comics is alluded to through a character, Judge Grell, in the pilot episode. Arrow has been known to make mention of its writers in dialogue.

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Mike Grell also drew the sketch in the pilot episode.

Just another Easter egg the creators of the show threw in. Grell is known for his art in the comic book series, so, of course, they had him sketch “The Vigilante” in the first episode.

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The CW
There’s a professional archery technician on set...

Anyone who touches a bow must got through training with archery technician, Patricia Gonsalves.

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...and Stephen Amell had to train with her for two months.

“For safety reasons, the actors must have a lesson in safety before they can shoot a bow,” she told Archery 360. “I love that everyone involved with Arrow is fully committed to making the archery as realistic as possible.”

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The CW
Gonsalves decides which bow is a good fit for each character.

“I’ll get a first draft of the script for an episode and will form an idea of what bow will work for that character or episode. I’ll choose a few bows that will work for the character and then the production department makes the final choice,” Gonsalves told Archery 360.

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Oliver Queen got an upgraded bow in Season 2.

It’s called an Oneida Kestrel (AKA the “superbow”). Gonsalves says it looks like a compound because it "has cams, but has limbs shaped like a recurve.”

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The arrows are hand-crafted.

Patricia Gonsalves, the behind-the-scenes archery technician, said she crafted nearly 2,000 arrows for Season 2 alone.

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The CW
142 arrows were shot in Season 1.

DC All Access asked the actors how many arrows they thought were shot in Season 1? Their responses were all way off. Guess they weren’t counting.

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The CW
How many times was Stephen Amell shirtless?

23 times to be exact. That’s one shirtless scene per episode in Season 1. We're not complaining.

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