Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in all of Time and Space

Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in the Genre
(BBC l Fox l Warner Bros.)

Some shows just know how to cast — and Arrow is currently king of them all. The CW superhero show understands it didn't emerge from a pop culture vacuum. In a nod of respect to the mind-bending, kitschy, whimsical, and downright awesome shows and films that paved the way for its own existence, Arrow has built a guest star (and recurring star) roster of delightfully familiar faces from around the sci-fi/fantasy universe. Below, we've gathered our favorites.

(And yes, in other words, here's the gauntlet for nerdy guest star greatness. Other television shows — it's your move.) 


Brandon Routh
Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in the Genre
Arrow role: Ray Palmer, AKA The Atom
Nerd cred:
Superman in Superman Returns, Daniel Shaw on Chuck, Todd Ingram in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

He may not be our Superman anymore, but Routh has kept busy squeezing his rugged form into a variety of (usually) villainous forms. He'll return to his heroic roots as good guy/super guy Ray Palmer in Arrow's third season

Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in the Genre

Alex Kingston
Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in the Genre
Arrow role: Dinah Lance
Nerd cred: River Song in Doctor Who

No offense to Mama Lance, but our gal Kingston could wrap Starling City around her little finger — as her alter ego River Song, of course. The English actress made quite a name for herself on Doctor Who, and we're eager to see her get a little more kick-ass on the CW show. 

Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in the Genre

Dylan Bruce
Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in the Genre
Arrow role: Adam Donner
Nerd cred: Paul in Orphan Black

Bruce seems to spend a lot more time clothed on Arrow than he does on Orphan Black, but no matter what, he's always making eyes at a leading lady. (To be fair, they're often making eyes back at him — not that we blame them.)

Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in the Genre

Summer Glau
Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in the Genre
Arrow role: Isabel Rochev
Nerd cred: River Tam in Firefly/Serenity, Bennett in Dollhouse, Cameron/Alice in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, etc.

Oh, Glau... Our lady of grace, violence, and cancelled television shows. While the American actress has a loyal following after a string of cult hits, we're still waiting for her to get the stable success and mainstream recognition she deserves. 

Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in the Genre

John Barrowman
Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in the Genre
Arrow role: Malcolm Merlyn
Nerd cred: Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who and Torchwood

Larger than life and overflowing with endearing cockiness, Barrowman's Captain Jack was a beacon of jocularity and progressiveness (which he deserves for portraying television's most famous "omnisexual"). Basically, we'll follow Barrowman anywhere, and it seems like the CW agrees! They upgraded him to series regular in May. 

Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in the Genre

Seth Gabel
Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in the Genre
Arrow role: Count Vertigo
Nerd cred: Lincoln Lee in Fringe

Playing a murderous drug dealer must be a piece of cake after playing alternate versions of the same character, right? You'll have to ask Gabel, who made the switch from Fringe Division to villain for his stint on Arrow

Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in the Genre

Tahmoh Penikett
Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in the Genre
Arrow role: Nick Salvati
Nerd cred: Karl "Helo" Agathon in Battlestar Galactica, Gadreel/Ezekiel in Supernatural, Paul Ballard in Dollhouse

Spoiler alert, Penikett's Salvati didn't stick around Starling City for long, but we'd really like him (or his nicer twin brother?) to return. The Canadian actor never got to exercise the stalwart charm that made him such a great Viper pilot, angel, and Dollhouse handler. 

Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in the Genre

Katrina Law
Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in the Genre
Arrow role: Nyssa al Ghul
Nerd cred: Alexis in Chuck, Garren the Mord Sith in Legend of the Seeker, Mira in Spartacus

This girl always means business. Usually leaving a trail of bodies in her wake, the flawless and deadly Law has perhaps been typecast as, you know, one of those "kick-ass females" types. We're okay with it, and we think she is too.

Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in the Genre

James Callis
Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in the Genre
Arrow role: The Dodger
Nerd cred: Gaius Baltar in Battlestar Galactica, Trevor Grant in Eureka

One show's humanity-betraying parasite is another show's jewel thief! Callis played a pretty bad dude on Arrow, but since his character never seemed in danger of surrendering our entire species to robots, we never thought he was all that bad. Bomb collars on hostages? Smart thinking!

Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in the Genre

Sean Maher
Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in the Genre
Arrow role:  Mark Scheffer, AKA Shrapnel
Nerd cred: Simon Tam in Firefly/Serenity

Maher was yet another sci-fi vet who fell victim to the one-and-done guest star role, but we're not complaining. We'll take our familiar faces where we can get them. And we have to admit there was something satisfying in seeing "goody two-shoes" Simon show off his villainous side. 

Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in the Genre

Robert Knepper
Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in all of Time and Space

Arrow role: William Tockman, AKA Clock King
Nerd cred: Antonious in The Hunger Games,  Samuel Sullivan in Heroes, Simeon in SGU Stargate Universe

Some faces were just destined for villainy. While we're confident Knepper is a swell guy in real life, his characters rarely walk the straight and narrow. He played a bank robber (and occasional murderer) on Arrow, and whether or not he returns to Starling City, he's set for a big screen splash as non-book character Antonius in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 and Part 2.

Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in the Genre

Ben Browder
Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in the Genre
Arrow role: Ted Gaynor
Nerd cred: John Crichton in Farscape, Cameron Mitchell in Stargate SG-1

In the annals of the Sci-Fi Channel's storied, campy history, Browder is a god among men. He led a merry band of misfits on Farscape before basically becoming the new Richard Dean Anderson on Stargate SG-1 starting in 2005. (Just kidding, Anderson — no one could ever replace you.) While the intergalactic hero ended up on the wrong side of the law on Arrow, we were just thankful to see our old friend again.

Definitive Proof 'Arrow' Has the Best Guest Stars in the Genre

Who's been your favorite Arrow guest star? Who would you like to see take on Starling City next? Let us know in the comments!
I am a former Senior Associate Editor for Livingly Media.
Comments