Jimmy Akingbola who was cast for season 4 of Arrow, as it turns out was never meant to be the infamous Nazi Super-Villain Baron Blitzkrieg and is actually named Baron Reiter who is part of an organization called Shadowspire.
Arrow’s show-runner Marc Guggenheim spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the casting as he had seen the concerns from fans, who thought it was quite unusual to see an African-American in the role of a Nazi. Click link above to see full report.
“We wanted a really great villain for Oliver in the flashbacks,” Guggenheim tells EW. “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 continues. “Baron Blitzkreig is the evil Nazi super villain. Baron Reiter is not going to become Baron Blitzkreig in the show.”
“We never planned on actually telling a story about a bad guy who is a Nazi,” Guggenheim says. “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.”
“I totally get it,” he says. “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.”
“We have a really great surprise for the season premiere for the flashbacks, and it’s made talking about the flashbacks very difficult,” he says. “We pick up basically in real time. It’s been a number of months later since the last flashback. Oliver is in Coast City, as eagle-eyed viewers noted when he boarded the boat at the end of season 3. What happens there and how he comes to cross with Reiter, that we need to keep secret because it would spoil a pretty big twist in episode 401.”
SHADOWSPIRE: Created by Tom Joyner PhD and Mike Collins First Appearance: Deathstroke #53 (June 1995)
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