The DC Comics Nazi super villain, Baron Blitzkreig, has been cast for Arrow Season 4 with British actor Jimmy Akingbola tapped to play the bad guy.
Well, seeing how Akingbola is black, this caused a bit of controversy online.
Now Arrow EP Marc Guggenheim has taken to EW.com to clear the air.
While true, in the comics the character is a Nazi, it turns out Jimmy Akingbola will be playing a slightly different version with Baron Reiter.
The article notes: “Marc Guggenheim wants to ‘disabuse people of the notion that we cast a black man as a Nazi, because that’s not actually what we did.'”
It’s further clarified that Baron Reiter acts as a foil for Oliver Queen in flashbacks, while Damien Darhk fills that role in the present-day story lines.
“We wanted a really great villain for Oliver in the flashbacks,” Guggenheim explained. “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,” he continued. “Baron Blitzkreig is the evil Nazi super villain. Baron Reiter is not going to become Baron Blitzkreig in the show.”
Guggenheim goes on to say that they only liked the fact that the Baron was associated with the evil organization called Shadowspire.
“We never planned on actually telling a story about a bad guy who is a Nazi,” Guggenheim said. “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.”
Guggenheim went on to say he understands the internet reaction.
“I totally get it. 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.”
“Arrow” Season 4 premiers Wednesday, October 7th on the CW.