The Arrow-verse raised more than a few alarms with an official name-drop of Batman’s alter-ego, but – as always – we must know if it’s too good to be true. Star Stephen Amell now offers some context to his character’s Dark Knight reference, and whether Warner Bros. has softened their position toward Bat-characters on The CW.

It’s been several weeks since Oliver Queen dropped the franchise’s first spoken mention of Gotham billionaire Bruce Wayne, and no cowls have yet been silhouetted across Star City skies. The reference was far from Arrow or Flash’s first hints at a caped crusader, who previously seemed relegated to movies and FOX’s Gotham. So, why bother with the name-drop?

Star Stephen Amell shared the answer with reporters in Vancouver (h/t ComicBook), adding that he himself had pressed Warner Bros. to reference Bruce Wayne over the script’s placeholder name. Surprisingly, they obliged:

That was really funny; the original version of that script, which came out just before Comic-Con, was just Oliver referencing a famous name. I can’t even remember what the placeholder was; I think it might have been Justin Bieber. And I looked at it and thought to myself, ‘This is a cool opportunity.’ I talked to Greg Berlanti about it, and Greg said ‘I think it would behoove you to go straight to Geoff Johns and just simply ask. You’ll probably have better luck than I would.’

So I was at the DC Comics party at Comic Con – Geoff and I were supposed to meet and chat quickly. I couldn’t track him down, but the next thing I knew, I ended up in a four-way conversation with Peter Roth, Diane Nelson, and Kevin Tsujihara all at the same time. I was like, ‘Guys! I have an idea. I think it would be fun, I think it would open the door to a lot of possibilities’ … I had this holy trinity of Warner Bros. Television and DC and Warner Bros. overall in front of me, and I pitched this idea, and I’ve got all my follow-up points, and Kevin Tsujihara just goes, ‘Yeah, sure.’ It’s like, ‘Really?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, that sounds fun. Do that.’ So we did it, and I didn’t actually believe that it would make it until I actually saw it in the locked cut.

It isn’t entirely clear what Amell’s “follow-up points” were, though he did note in the exchange that “I’ve always thought that Bruce Wayne would be an interesting ally on the show, and an even more interesting villain to Oliver … Which doesn’t mean that he’s the villain, it just means that they don’t like each other.” For the moment, Batman still has a post-Justice League future on film, so we wouldn’t bet on any “Batman v. Green Arrow” season just yet.

We’ll see if the references free up any additional Bat-nods, so stay tuned for the latest on Arrow Season 6 and beyond.

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