Ra’s al Ghul may have been the biggest Arrow reveal during Comic-Con weekend (though it was hardly surprising), but there was another exciting reveal: Ted Grant, better known in the comics as Wildcat, would be appearing in season 3. No other details were provided at the time other than that he would have a connection to Laurel, but days later, we now have a face to go with the boxer. J.R. Ramirez (Power, Emily Owens, M.D.) will play Grant in the upcoming season.
The Deadline exclusive also stated that Grant “will be a former boxer who now runs a gym for underprivileged youth. A man with a mysterious past, he will play a pivotal role in Laurel Lance’s arc this season.” As one of the older superheroes in the DC Universe (pre-New 52, that is), Wildcat was responsible for training many of the younger heroes, including the second Black Canary and Batman. That’s right, the shadowy Gotham City vigilante who terrifies criminals night to night learned some of his moves from the seasoned boxer.
Look, I’m sure Ramirez is a good actor, and props to the Arrow crew for adding more diversity to their cast, but really? You hire a 34 year old guy to play Wildcat? It’s quite clear that the CW labels itself as the channel of the young and beautiful people, but it wouldn’t hurt to add more older actors. With Susanna Thompson’s (Moira Queen) exit last season, the oldest actors on cast are Paul Blackthorne (Quentin Lance), who is 45, and John Barrowman, who is 47. That’s right, there’s no one above age 50 on this show.
No one is expecting Grant to be a former vigilante in Arrow, but at the very least he’s supposed to be a aged, season ex-prizefighter. This guy is only six years older than Katie Cassidy, and the only reason he’s an ex-boxer on the show is probably because his career only just ended. It would have been a better service to the character to have an older, hardened guy who teaches Laurel to fight in his old-school gym. That’s the Ted Grant everyone loves!
Still, if Grant training Laurel will move her away from the whining and angst and get her closer to becoming Black Canary, then it’s all for the better. Maybe he can even teach the other Team Arrow members a few moves. Honestly, Felicity needs the combat training more than Laurel does.