Well, so much for Liam Neeson...
The Hollywood Reporter has details on Matt Nable being cast in the role of big bad Ra's al Ghul for the third season of the CW series Arrow. The DC Comics supervillain will make his first appearance in "The Magician," the fourth episode of the season, which will also be Arrow's fiftieth episode. Star Stephen Amell announced the news on his official Twitter account, posting the following...
Please welcome Matt Nable to Arrow. You know who he's playing. pic.twitter.com/f0I7tmujiDThe 42-year-old Australian actor appeared as Boss Johns in the 2013 film Riddick and in the films Around the Block, The Turning and K-11.
— Stephen Amell (@amellywood) September 4, 2014
As the leader of the League of Assassins, Ra's is described in the article as "proud and unforgiving. A ruthless strategist, a master of martial arts and a shaper of history, Ra's carries the wisdom of the ages and protects some of its greatest secrets."
"We have a really clever way of doing Ra's this year that is true to the comic-book origins but different from the way Ra's was portrayed in the [Christopher] Nolan movies," said executive producer Marc Guggenheim at this year's San Diego Comic Con when Ra's al Ghul was first revealed as an Arrow villain. "You don't want to compete with Batman Begins, even though we've always said Batman Begins was a big influence on us. We really wanted our Ra's to be very different — at least our own Arrow-ified version."
Liam Neeson, who played Ra's in Batman Begins, told MTV that he'd resume the role on TV "in a heartbeat, if it came my way." But since that's not happening, he advised his successor to "believe in [the character's] philosophy. Ra’s al Ghul absolutely believed what he was doing was ultimately saving civilization."
As for his daughter Nyssa al Ghul, introduced last season and played by Katrina Law, Nyssa "will absolutely play into the season and we have a really cool arc planned," hinted Guggenheim. "The first time we see Ra's [in the third season] is a scene between him and Nyssa."
Created by Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams in 1971's Batman (vol.1) #232, Ra's al Ghul first appeared as an international criminal mastermind whose ultimate goal is a world in perfect balance. He believes that the best way to achieve this balance is to eliminate most of humanity, usually assaulting the world's human populace with a biological weapon, such as a genetically-engineered virus. His lifespan has been extended several centuries by the Lazarus Pits, reservoirs of rejuvenating chemicals that restore the dead and dying to life.
Ra's considers Batman his worthiest opponent, addressing him as "Detective" out of respect for his intellectual brilliance, and has frequently sought to make the Dark Knight his successor. He is also one of the few criminals in Batman's rogues gallery to have deduced his secret identity as Bruce Wayne, and keeps silent on the matter due to the same sense of respect for Batman and his daughter, Talia, with whom the two share a son, Damian Wayne.
Arrow returns to The CW for Season 3 on Wednesday, October 8th at 8 p.m. EST.