When it was announced this week that British actor Jimmy Akingbola was cast as super-villain Baron Blitzkrieg in Arrow season 4 it made a lot of people confused. Confused because as you might’ve derived from the name, Baron Blitzkrieg or Baron Reiter as he’s known in his civilian guise, is a Nazi and the actor cast, is black.
Producer Marc Guggenheim however, has talked to Entertainment Weekly regarding people’s questions and fears: “We wanted a really great villain for Oliver in the flashbacks.
“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.” (a mistake by Guggenheim as aforementioned Akingbola is actually British).
“I want to disabuse people of the notion that we cast a black man as a Nazi, because that’s not actually what we did. We took the name Baron Reiter without any intention of turning him into Baron Blitzkrieg. Baron Blitzkreig is the evil Nazi super villain. Baron Reiter is not going to become Baron Blitzkreig in the show.”
Guggenheim went on to explain that they wanted to use Reiter as an extension to them wanting to incorporate an organisation called Shadowspire into 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 organisation that is actually in the comics that had been associated with Deathstroke, called Shadowspire. In the comics, Baron Reiter became associated with Shadowspire.”
As for the fan reaction, Guggenheim expressed understanding at the confusion felt by many fans and wanted to address it head on.
Regarding the flashbacks in which Baron Reiter will appear, Guggenheim remained mum: “We have a really great surprise for the season premiere for the flashbacks, and it’s made talking about the flashbacks very difficult. 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.”
Sounds exciting! Arrow returns to screens this Autumn.