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TV URBAN LEGEND: Originally, Blue Beetle was going to take over Queen Consolidated on Arrow instead of the Atom.
When it comes to writing an ongoing TV series, there are always going to be obstacles that get in the way of the story you’re trying to tell. We’ve spotlighted a number of these over the years, from one of your stars dying to discovering the actor you hired to play John Lennon in your TV movie has the same name as the guy who killed John Lennon. Heck, current Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim was even a staff member on The Practice when creator David E. Kelley was dealing with a massive obstacle on his other show, Ally McBeal, where Ally was set to marry Robert Downey Jr.’s Larry Paul right before Kelley had to write out the character (check out this old TV Legends Revealed to find out why).
In the case of TV shows like Arrow and The Flash, however, the showrunners have to keep in mind that they are dealing with licensed properties, and as a result, certain characters might unexpectedly become unavailable to them. One of these incidents led to the introduction of Brandon Routh’s Ray Palmer on the current season of Arrow. Find out how Routh could have possibly played the Blue Beetle instead!
In the first two seasons of Arrow, there were a few mentions of Ted Kord, owner of Kord Industries. In a flashback to 2007 in Season 1’s “The Undertaking,” Oliver Queen’s parents Moira and Robert attended a fundraiser hosted by Ted Kord. In both Season 1 and 2, there were quick “Easter egg”-style appearances of Kord Industries logos. In Season 2’s “Time of Death,” we learn that the villainous William Tockman (The Clock King) used to work for Kord Enterprises.
In DC Comics lore, besides being a successful businessman and inventor, Kord also became the superhero Blue Beetle, using technology (like a giant beetle-shaped flying ship and a non-lethal gun that shoots compressed air) and his athleticism to fight crime. On a show like Arrow, which until its recent crossover with The Flash, tended to eschew characters with outright superpowers and instead feature non-powered players like Oliver Queen, Canary and Arsenal (or chemically enhanced characters like Cyrus Gold or Deathstroke), Ted Kord and the Blue Beetle would fit in quite nicely.
And that, in fact, was the plan for Season 3. Ted Kord and Kord Industries would take over Queen Consolidated and presumably as the season went on, we would eventually see Ted become the Beetle (I can’t say for certain the second part would have happened, of course, as it never got that far). When asked about it during Comic-Con International, one of Arrow‘s other executive producers, Andrew Kreisberg replied that they asked DC Comics for permission to use Ted Kord but they were told the company had “other plans” for the character. DC suggested they use Ray Palmer (the size-changing superhero known as the Atom) instead, and Kresiberg told the crowd, “we said that would work better!”
Guggenheim was recently asked on his blog how things changed between their original idea for Ted Kord and their current plans for Ray Palmer. Here is the question and Guggenheim’s response:
Q: We know you wanted to bring on Ted Kord originally, before picking Ray Palmer. Would he have been the same character on the show as Ray is now (similar character, similar storyline, etc.) or is Ray’s general storyline for this season something you developped specifically once you had the DC greenlight?
A: A mix of the two, I’d say.
It doesn’t appear to me that the actor who plays Ray Palmer on Arrow, Brandon Routh, was cast before they decided to go the Atom route.
I’m enjoying Ray Palmer on Arrow, but I can’t say that I wouldn’t have enjoyed Ted Kord as well, so I don’t know if this ultimately a change for the better, but either way, the Arrow showrunners are making it work.
The legend is…
STATUS: Basically True
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be sure to check out my Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed for more urban legends about the worlds of TV, Movies and Music!