Arrow Season 1: Royal Flush Gang inspired by Point Break

Arrow’s Andrew Kreisberg on how the show reinvents even the strangest DC supervillains

Arrow Season 1 Royal Flush Gang
Arrow Season 1 Royal Flush Gang
Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) taking on the Royal Flush Gang in Arrow Season 1, Episode 6 ‘Legacies’

If you thought the choice of DC Universe supervillains popping up in Season 1 of The CW’s Arrow was either completely random, or a deliberate attempt to prove how even the most outlandish characters can translate to this Christopher Nolan-inspired world of small-scale vigilantism, that’s anything but the case.

“The Royal Flush Gang is a good example of how we come up with villains,” executive producer and co-creator Andrew Kreisberg told SciFiNow. “Episodes three, four and five were very tightly interlocked because of the strong cliffhangers where Dig finding out Arrow’s identity in number three, Oliver being arrested in number four and five really closing the chapter. So with episode six we really set out to do something somewhat simple for us by comparison, let’s open with a privileged POV of a crime taking place and have Oliver stop these people – quickly we all sort of landed on the idea of them being bank robbers, taking our cues from Point Break and The Town.

“Then the more we talked about it, the more fleshed out it became and we said, ‘Wouldn’t it be interesting if they were a family instead of a crew?’, and then as soon as somebody said that, somebody said, ‘Oh, hey, it can be the Royal Flush Gang’.”

The end result was certainly worlds away from the Royal Flush Gang of the comics – a super-powered team of card-themed villains – Ace is a superstrong android, Jack fires lasers from a cyborg eye… the announcement they’d be making the move to the small screen prompted a worldwide WTF?! from comic fans.

But as Kreisberg explained, the way they land on these ideas means we could be looking at anything from the sober, easily-adaptable likes of Ragdoll, to something as absurd and seemingly unworkable as Monsieur Mallah and the Brain popping up in future seasons of Arrow.

“Most of the DC Comics villains that we have on the show,” continued Kreisberg, “it started as something else and we back tracked our way to the characters. If you start out saying, ‘Oh, hey, let’s do Deadshot’ or ‘Let’s do Count Vertigo’ it sort of shackles you, as opposed to coming up with what the best story is and then retroactively coming up with who it could possibly be from there.”

Arrow will return to Sky 1 in late January 2013.