Why Charlie Hunnam Is Still Perfect for the DCU’s Green Arrow

Summary

  • Charlie Hunnam once turned down the role of Green Arrow, but he’s still perfect for the character.
  • The DCU Green Arrow might adapt the grounded Mike Grell run, which matches Hunnam’s concerns about “spandex.”
  • Likewise, Hunnam’s age in relation to new Superman actor David Corenswet’s matches that of the comics.


Green Arrow may not have any superhuman powers, but he’s still one of the most popular and iconic characters from DC Comics. He was also the central hero in The CW’s Arrowverse, but he oddly had no on-screen role in the DC Extended Universe. Now, DC’s movies are being rebooted as simply the DC Universe, and there’s the potential to fulfill a longstanding fancast that almost became reality.

Actor Charlie Hunnam was many fans’ choice to play Green Arrow/Oliver Queen in the DCEU, and apparently, Warner Bros. executives thought the same thing. Hunnam turned the role down for several reasons, but a new movie universe might change his tune. In fact, the timing of the potential casting would be even more perfect than it already was.


Charlie Hunnam Almost Played the DCEU’s Green Arrow

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As mentioned, Charlie Hunnam (star of Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon) was once in the running to play Green Arrow in the DC Extended Universe. At the time, the actor had made the transition to numerous big blockbusters after previously finding success through the FX TV series Sons of Anarchy. Due to his performances in those productions, not to mention his blond hair and full beard in some appearances, DC fans saw him as a shoe-in for the role of Green Arrow, the Emerald Archer.

Apparently, Warner Bros. actually approached him to play Green Arrow in a DCEU project, but he promptly turned it down. The reasons for this were his being unfamiliar with the DC hero, and he also found the idea of being in gaudy spandex to be unappealing. It’s unknown what movie or TV show Green Arrow would have appeared in during the DC Extended Universe’s run, though some suspect that it might have been a spinoff of the Birds of Prey movie and featured Black Canary. It’s a shame to many that the casting fell through, but there’s still a chance that it can manifest in the upcoming DC movies.

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James Gunn, Superman from the comic book All-Star Superman and new Superman actor David Corenswet.

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It was announced in late 2022 that James Gunn was taking over as the head of DC Studios. This was going to bring about a reboot of DC’s cinematic universe of movies, and this caused instant controversy even amid the already contentious DC Extended Universe’s reputation. It was especially troubling to some given that a post-credits scene from Black Adam that brought back Henry Cavill’s Superman was thus rendered moot. Nevertheless, the hype for the new DCU is already steadily building, and it’s ironically due to the Man of Steel himself. Superman is leading the charge for the DC Universe, with the 2024 animated series Creature Commandos being followed up in 2025 with the release of the theatrical movie Superman: Legacy.

This movie will star David Corenswet as Superman, with Rachel Brosnahan playing Lois Lane. Several other heroes are also poised to make their DCU debut in the movie, namely members of both the Justice League and the Wildstorm team, The Authority. Conversely, Nicholas Hoult will play Lex Luthor, with many fans already envisioning his take on the villain as the best cinematic Luthor yet. Even though it won’t be coming out until the summer of 2025, there’s definitely a lot of anticipation for the upcoming DC movie. Thus, several other DC heroes may finally get their time to shine, and that may include Green Arrow.

The Darkest Green Arrow Run Is Perfect for the DCU

The cover for Mike Grell's Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters in DC Comics

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During the late 1980s, writer/artist Mike Grell took aim at revitalizing the Green Arrow character. In the wake of dark and gritty comics such as The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen, Grell took Oliver Queen/Green Arrow in a much different direction. Moving him out of the fictional Star City and into drizzly Seattle, Green Arrow ditched his Bronze Age costume in favor of a more tactile, hooded suit evocative of a hunter. Conversely, gimmicky trick arrows were also done away with, and in their place, the Emerald Archer made a finer point than ever towards criminals. Green Arrow now had a more violent streak than ever, and the world he inhabited reflected that.

Beginning with Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters, Mike Grell wrote a run on the character that was almost entirely removed from the broader DC Universe. Instead of supervillains such as Merlyn, Count Vertigo or Clock King, Green Arrow fought against drug cartels, international arms dealers and the Yakuza. All the while, he and his girlfriend, Dinah Laurel Lance (the Black Canary, who had lost her sonic “Canary Cry” power after being brutally assaulted) dealt with their own mortality amid a darkening world. The series was completely unlike any other “superhero” comic book, and despite the lack of the character’s more overt mythology, it remains a highpoint for Green Arrow.

Elements of Mike Grell’s run were used in the TV series Arrow, namely its darker, more grounded tone. In fact, the series’ pilot episode even featured an unseen character named Mayor Grell. Despite this obvious influence, The Longbow Hunters and the run that came afterward have never been directly adapted. The former would work well for a movie, while the run as a whole could be perfect for a TV series on the Max streaming service. This way, the DCU could have a diversity of tone and scope that’s so far eluded the more universally lighthearted Marvel Cinematic Universe. In many ways, it can be the opposite of the more overtly hopeful Superman: Legacy. It would be a great venue to bring the Emerald Archer into the DC Universe, and one actor is still the right choice to portray the hero.

Charlie Hunnam Is Still Perfect for Green Arrow

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Though he has already turned down the role for the DC Extended Universe, there’s still a chance that Charlie Hunnam can be hired to play Green Arrow in the DC Universe. Time has passed, and the general wave of excitement surrounding the DCU might be used to entice the actor to reconsider the role. It’s not as if James Gunn’s castings so far are absent of “serious” actors, with Nicholas Hoult in particular being a major league talent who’s been a part of several classic yet artistic movies. On top of that, Gunn and Zack Snyder are supposedly close acquaintances, so the latter working with Hunnam might be an inroad to make the Green Arrow casting finally come true.

Likewise, if the costume is an issue, the design and tone from the Grell run might be a suitable compromise. Instead of being in something that’s too “comic booky,” Hunnam can play a Green Arrow who’s more of the streets than other characters. Likewise, the decade-long lifespan of the DCEU may have actually worked in this casting’s favor. For instance, the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths comic book continuity established that Green Arrow was older than heroes such as Superman, Batman and Black Canary. The same is the case with Charlie Hunnam when compared to the likes of David Corenswet and Nicholas Hoult. Thus, now is actually the perfect time to cast the actor as DC’s resident archer superhero.

Superman: Legacy flies into theaters on July 11, 2025.

Superman Legacy Poster

Superman: Legacy

Follows the titular superhero as he reconciles his heritage with his human upbringing. He is the embodiment of truth, justice and the American way in a world that views kindness as old-fashioned.

Release Date
July 11, 2025

Cast
Nicholas Hoult , Rachel Brosnahan , Skyler Gisondo , David Corenswet

Main Genre
Superhero

Genres
Superhero

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