The death of Oliver Queen, or for those who prefer, the Green Arrow, is a subject that has crossed my mind time and time again as the seasons of the television show ticked by. As we all know, comic book heroes never truly die. They are likely to meet death, but are able to find a loophole around it or are able to be resurrected or replaced by their doppelganger from another Earth.
In the comic books, Oliver Queen meets his end after sacrificing himself in an aircraft explosion. The green hooded vigilante elected to keep his arm inside the detonation chamber for a bomb that threatened to destroy Metropolis, even after Superman was willing to pull Oliver’s arm out. As a result, Queen’s body was vaporised.
In the Injustice: Gods Among Us prequel comics, Queen is beaten to death by Superman.
Oliver’s life and death is explored in the Green Arrow Volume 1: Life and Death of Oliver Queen (Rebirth) comics.
There are many ways that the comic book writers can explore the death of a character such as the Green Arrow, and that creative freedom is, technically, available to the television show’s writers. However, the CW’s show has drifted from the comic series in a few ways. The most notable example is the death of the Black Canary, and Felicity Smoak being Oliver’s only love interest for more than three seasons. Overall, the show deviates from the comic whilst attempting to maintain the original roots, to a degree.
Killing off a character, especially a main one, in a television show is often one of the hardest issues to tackle, but we’re going to give it a go.
I’ve come up with a few ways that Oliver Queen could die. Now, it’s important to note that his death does not necessarily signal the end of the television show, but it could, at the very least spice the show up a bit. The CW has already tackled Oliver’s death once, when he “died” to Ra’s Al Ghul’s blade. Fortunately for the hooded vigilante, his life was saved, thanks to Maseo & Tatsu Yamashiro’s careful and cunning plan, with a cheeky assist from Malcolm Merlyn.
Now that we’ve covered formalities and a very, very brief history of Oliver Queen’s comic deaths, let’s tackle how he could die on Arrow.
April 25, 2024
… is probably the easiest time to kill Oliver Queen. Assuming, somehow, a crossover between Arrow and Flash happens and the showrunners run with the crisis storyline. The 1985 Crisis on Infinite Earths has Barry Allen sacrifice his life to save the universe.
The show’s newspaper excerpt, displayed by Gideon, states that the Flash, Atom, Hawkgirl and the Green Arrow will go toe to toe with the Reverse Flash. The Reverse Flash and the Flash will fight throughout Central City, causing the most mayhem and destruction the city has ever seen. The skies turn crimson as the speedsters do battle, have a heated chat, fight some more, Reverse Flash runs away and the Flash chases after him.
The speedsters ran off leaving the Green Arrow, Atom and Hawkgirl behind, the physical state of the heroes remains unclear.
To start, we have to address the fate of the other two heroes – Atom and Hawkgirl. Hawkgirl is fine, aside from suffering battle wounds our immortal warrior emerges from the fight relatively unharmed compared to Green Arrow and Atom.
The Atom is gravely wounded in the fight. His limited mobility as a full sized human in the suit lead him to take some severe beatings from the Reverse Flash. Palmer was able to dish a few blows out by shrinking and supersizing, but the Reverse Flash was able to take out the Atom by running circles around him and throwing his own lightning bolt, frying Ray’s suit and essentially almost cooking Ray Palmer.
Oliver Queen suffers the worst fate of them all, and is dead. The Reverse Flash was able to successfully, at some point during the fight, take out Barry, Kendra and Ray, leaving the speedster versus the emerald archer. Oliver is able to lure the Reverse Flash into some of the traps he set up, similar to the fight with Barry Allen back in the early seasons of the Flash. Of course, this leads to Oliver taking a beating. The Reverse Flash then comes down to Oliver’s level, and engages him in man to man, hand to hand combat, largely out of mockery. The Arrow is superior, effectively countering and dealing with everything the Reverse Flash throws at him at normal speed. Thawne tires of the trivial nature of the fight and pins the vigilante to the wall by the throat, and makes his hand vibrate at the high frequency, just like their very first fight in Flash Season One.
No nanites from Ray.
“The history books say you live to be 86 years old Mr. Queen. This time, I can assure you, the history books are… WRONG.”
High frequency hand straight into Oliver’s chest, but not before Barry is able to recover and run towards the Reverse. Unfortunately, Barry simply isn’t fast enough. Oliver falls, they have their heated conversation and speed off (presumably to Barry’s house when he was a wee lad and that whole thing comes full circle. Since it’s a TV show the Flash more than likely won’t vanish completely, would more than likely come back to his wife and family, possibly retire and leave it to his kids or Wally?).
Anyway, there lies the Green Arrow. Deceased. Or so you think. We’re going to take a page out of the comics here and go down the Quiver route, and have Hal Jordan appear, whether fully or an alluded to cameo, and resurrect Oliver with the Parallax infused powers and that’s that. Queen won’t recollect anything from the fight until the Flash has his memory restored, thanks to tech from S.T.A.R Labs. Oliver will continue to fight crime before the show fast forwards to him retiring and training up a protege.
This death is probably the more simple, yet abstract path to take, because it relies on the CW having the rights to mention the Green Lantern in any way, shape or form. If so, the heroes would need to develop a strong relationship with the ace pilot and have his TV show or whatever go through his story up to and through Hal’s encounter with Parallax.
Assuming this happened, this would mark the end of the two flagship shows for the CW DC TV universe. It’s probably not the most creative way, but it’s the first idea that came to mind.
The Bomb Detonation Chamber
The bomb detonation chamber was one of the deaths mentioned above. In the comics, Oliver gets hired by the NSA and is tasked to go undercover in the Eden Corps. Their leader, Hyrax, launched a bomb to destroy Metropolis. Oliver and another deep cover agent got into a gun fight with the terrorists and the vast majority of them were killed. Queen’s arm was inside the detonation chamber. If he had let go, the bomb would have detonated. Superman wanted to rip Oliver’s arm off and save him, but Oliver chose sacrifice over being crippled for the rest of his life, and thus died in the explosion.
The same thing could happen, but instead, it happens on Supergirl’s Earth in a Supergirl/Arrow crossover, and in slightly different circumstances. Instead of working for the NSA, Oliver elects to go undercover for the DEO after it is revealed that the organisation has intel that the Luthors plan to bomb National City. Lex, as well as his mother plan to launch a bomb that’ll level National City.
Oliver poses as an investor, and scouts the Luthor facility, trying to spot any sign of the bomb. Queen returns to the facility later that night and trails Lex to another facility where the bomb is being stored. With that intel, the DEO plans to sabotage the bomb with the help of Team Arrow.
Oliver infiltrates the plane, takes out the guards and, of course, gets his hand stuck in the detonation chamber. Supergirl breaches the plane containing the bomb, and attempts to pull Oliver’s arm out, but is unable to, due to the plane containing traces of Kryptonite. She has no choice but to fly out, Oliver is able to stall the plane & the bomb detonates, killing the emerald archer.
Of course, it can all be reversed thanks to our scarlet speedster warning Oliver of the future thanks to some time travel, just like he did with the encounter with Vandal Savage.
(Near) Death by Kane
Whilst this isn’t exactly a death, per se, it’d still be an okay-ish way to write off Oliver & is set where both of the main characters involved are kind of old.
The hopefully inevitable return of both Deathstroke and his son, Kane, could spell the end for our favourite hooded vigilante. It would probably be a similar scenario to the Slade Wilson episodes in season six of Arrow – an old friend needs help with his son, except, this time Slade has actually found his son, and needs help in dealing with him.
Oliver arrives at the location. Him and Slade fight Kane, but ultimately the youngster is able to overpower Oliver and knock him down, leaving it to be a fight between father and son. After a drawn out, bloody affair, Slade is brought to his knees. It is revealed that the lack of Mirukuru in Slade’s body is causing it to deteriorate severely. The Mirukuru withdrawals have been slowly hurting Slade for years, but as Slade has aged, the side effects have been getting worse, and it’s now at it’s peak. Slade, without Oliver, is being knocked around and is unable to recover adequately.
Eventually, Slade is sat up and executed by his son, and Kane takes the mantle of Deathstroke, signalling the passing of the torch, so to speak.
Oliver is incensed, and tries to take on Kane in an emotional state, but is unable to do so. Oliver is gravely wounded and is forced to retreat, comes back with the protege he’s training (in this timeline it’d probably be Roy or whoever Connor would be).
After an intense fight, the protege is knocked and dazed, forcing Oliver and Kane to fight one on one. The fight is intense throughout, with Kane showcasing aggression mixed with experience. Oliver showcases his combat prowess throughout the years in a back and forth contest. Eventually, Kane knocks Oliver down and breaks his arm. Lifting Oliver by the broken arm, Kane gloats to the protege of the Arrow, who watches on, still slightly dazed. Kane draws his father’s blade and hacks off Oliver’s broken arm. Enraged, the protege attacks. Another intense fights commences, and ends with the new Deathstroke fleeing.
Oliver is eventually fitted with a bionic arm per the Legends timeline, and steps back to take a more serious role of mentor, whilst also helping with night patrols.
As per the Reverse Flash, Mr. Queen will live until 86. Why not make him live it out? See out his tenure as mayor, have him actually train a protege that’ll stick around, have him fight more villains and expand his connections in the Arrowverse. Experiment with his character a little more, get him to open up to the right people and slowly shed the TV show Batman vibe.