The CW’s Arrowverse features a wide range of characters. And, whether for better or worse, many of these characters develop and grow to become well-rounded, nuanced people that audiences fall in love with. Here are some of the best-developed characters on Arrow.
Felicity Smoak has come a long way from being the I.T.-girl-with-glasses who inadvertently helped Oliver‘s early crusade. Ever since joining Team Arrow, Felicity has not only been the team’s source of comedy, but also its emotional core. Actress Emily Bett Rickards does a wonderful job of infusing Felicity with the soul of gold that it takes to support a team of vigilantes.
What’s remarkable about Felicity is that her character development doesn’t depend on her romantic relationships. In season three, Felicity became the CEO of Palmer Technologies after Ray Palmer was presumed dead. Even after Felicity and Oliver formally became “Olicity” in season four, Felicity’s life wasn’t without challenges. An attack by Damien Darhk‘s H.I.V.E. even rendered her paraplegic, but she was able to heal thanks to a bio-stimulant from her friend Curtis Holt and her own inner grit.
Season four also brought out the darkness inside everyone, including Felicity. During Damien Darhk’s global attack, Felicity incurred responsibility for some of the carnage when she redirected one of Darhk’s missiles from Monument Point to Havenrock. She also endured another harrowing loss in last week’s winter finale. Nevertheless, Felicity has proven time and time again that she has what it takes to overcome trauma. It will be worth seeing how Felicity evolves over the rest of season five and beyond.
For someone who once joked that his secret identity was being Oliver Queen’s black bodyguard, John Diggle is so much more than that. An army veteran, Diggle crossed over to private security once he returned home. Back in season one, he was the first person whom Oliver recruited to join his vigilante crusade. Diggle has helped Oliver retain his humanity even after Oliver’s first year as the Hood, in which he murdered many of his victims.
In season three, Diggle became the first member of Team Arrow to become a parent. (I’m not counting Oliver since he didn’t learn he had a son until season four.) After Diggle and his ex-wife Lyla Michaels remarried, they had a daughter, Sara, named after the then-dead Sara Lance. However, after Barry Allen created the Flashpoint timeline, Sara became John Diggle, Jr. Moreover, Diggle murdered his younger brother, Andy, who was working for H.I.V.E. and continued to place Diggle’s family in danger.
Even though Green Arrow’s comic book history influences Arrow, Diggle is proof of how the TV show, in turn, influences the comics. As a creation of Arrow, Diggle is the first original character to enter the comics. Writer Jeff Lemire included Diggle in his Green Arrow comic series as part of The New 52. Actor David Ramsey‘s strong portrayal of Diggle shows that the character has an indelible impact even beyond Arrow.
From the start of Arrow, Oliver Queen’s younger sister has come into her own as a compelling character. After losing her father and brother when the Queen’s Gambit went down, Thea Queen struggled with substance abuse. She once told Oliver, “This — me, is the best I could do with what I had to work with.” Eventually, she hit rock bottom and embarked on a different path. She grew up even more and took over Oliver’s nightclub until the next series of traumatic events upended her life again.
Actress Willa Holland combines Thea’s feistiness with very thick skin. Throughout all of her anguish, Thea has adapted and forged herself into something stronger. After losing her mother, Moira, and learning that Malcolm Merlyn was her biological father, Thea learned from Malcolm how to fight. She took over her ex-boyfriend Roy Harper‘s Arsenal suit and joined Team Arrow as Speedy. That is, until Ra’s al Ghul murdered her, then with the Lazarus Pit resurrecting her and afflicting her with a bad case of bloodlust.
One of Thea’s remarkable attributes is her resourcefulness. Currently, she serves as Oliver’s deputy mayor for Star City, playing a pivotal role in her brother’s mayoral administration. She’s also formed a strong bond with Quentin Lance and has helped him battle his alcoholism. Thea is determined to make a positive impact on those around her. That’s why she’s one of Arrow‘s standout characters.
This is the third in a four-part series on the Arrowverse’s best-developed characters. Stay tuned this week for the final installment!