‘Arrow’ is continuing to pick up new cast members for the upcoming 4th Season, with the newest being actor Jimmy Akingbola, who was cast as villain Baron Reiter, and will have a major role to play in the flashbacks of Season 4. When the news broke, some fans were outraged at the casting, wondering how they would cast an African-American man to play a character who becomes Baron Blitzkrieg, modern day Nazi. In a recent interview with EW, producer Marc Guggenheim defended the casting choice, and explained their decision:
“We wanted a really great villain for Oliver in the flashbacks. We wanted to come out of the gate strong with someone great and we wanted to, quite frankly, cast the best actor. As it turns out, our best actor was African-American.We took the name Baron Reiter without any intention of turning him into Baron Blitzkrieg. Baron Blitzkreig is the evil Nazi super villain. Baron Reiter is not going to become Baron Blitzkreig in the show.”
“We never planned on actually telling a story about a bad guy who is a Nazi. In fact, when people meet this character, he’s not German, he’s not a Nazi, he doesn’t subscribe to any Nazi philosophies. We were attracted to an organization that actually in the comics had been associated with Deathstroke called Shadowspire. In the comics, Baron Reiter became associated with Shadowspire.
“I totally get it [the fan reaction to the controversy]. It’s all good. We were surprised because we mistakenly assumed that everyone was on the same page as we were, but why would they be? We haven’t told anyone anything about the flashbacks, but this was so obviously not our intention to do Baron Blitzkreig. If we were, in fact, doing a Nazi being played by an African American, I would expect us to be very duly Internet chastised.”
He also spoke on the flashbacks for season 4 where Baron Reiter would be featured, clearly aware of how much fans disliked the plodding flashbacks that plagued season 3:
“We have a really great surprise for the season premiere for the flashbacks, and it’s made talking about the flashbacks very difficult. We pick up basically in real time. It’s been a number of months later since the last flashback. Oliver is in Coast City, as eagle-eyed viewers noted when he boarded the boat at the end of season 3. What happens there and how he comes to cross with Reiter, that we need to keep secret because it would spoil a pretty big twist in episode 401.”
Which is great to hear, because it would be tough sitting through another season of ‘Arrow’ with sub-par flashbacks.
Look for the show to return to the CW on Wednesday October 7th, at 8pm!