This question might have been asked before; I searched, but came up empty. Also note that this question is about the TV series Arrow, not the comics.

I am seeking an explanation of why none of the businessmen paid a visit by Arrow recognize his as Oliver. I mean sometimes he attacks them in very well lit rooms and faces them directly with nothing but some face paint.

Here's an example from season 1:

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What drives me nuts is that The Huntress didn't even need more than one encounter to recognize him, but others seemingly don't have a clue. Oliver Queen is a celebrity in Starling city after his return, he was all over the news; so even if he wasn't known for his wealth, people have an idea about his face, height, body shape etc.

I hope there's an explanation here. Cheers.

  • Related, not dupe (well, a bit dupe, but not totally dupe) - scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/2205/…
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 20:00
  • 4
    At least it's not as bad as in the pre-DCnU comics (and animated series), where he tends to have the most distinctive facial hair of all time Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 20:09
  • 2
    "I've known you my whole life! I've seen you naked! You don't think I would recognize you because I can't see your cheekbones?"
    – Aggie Kidd
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 20:52
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    @yondaime008 For what it's worth, he later gets called out on that by a very popular character, who then gives him a mask that he wears from then on. :P So it's lampshaded, at least.
    – Nerrolken
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 21:47
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    Nobody realizes Bruce Wayne is Batman. Nobody realizes Clark Kent is Superman (must be the glasses). Nobody realizes Adrian Veidt is Ozymandias until he reveals himself and he's the richest person on the planet. It's a standard convention within comics. Just accept it. Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 4:49

1 Answer 1


There's a famous scene in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon in which Lex Luthor has taken over Flash's body, and he triumphantly stands before a mirror declaring, "Now I'll learn the Flash's secret identity!" But when he pulls the mask off, he just stares into the mirror and murmurs, "I have no idea who this is..."


Oliver Queen is a public figure, but it's not like he's a movie star. Plenty of people on Arrow have to ask, "Are you Oliver Queen?" His face isn't instantly recognizable, and that's when he's just walking down the street.

Now, if you were buying drugs one night, and someone in a mask with a distorted voice who had a jawline that was kind of similar to Conrad Hilton, son of the billionaire Hilton family, started beating the hell out of you, would you ever make the connection? Probably not. That's the kind of person Oliver Queen was before he disappeared: a ridiculous wreck of a spoiled brat. Plenty of rich people are in the news, but aren't instantly recognizable to everyone they encounter.

What if it was someone with a more recognizable face, like Mark Zuckerberg? Maybe (though certainly not gauranteed), but that's crazy! Mark Zuckerberg attacked you last night? Mark Zuckerberg is the Vigilante? Psh, no way. Maybe the guy kind of looked like him, but it's OBVIOUSLY not Mark Zuckerberg, dude. Give me a break.

As for the people Oliver has met, like Detective Lance, when all you've got is "a strong jaw with stubble," it's easy not to make the connection. Especially when, as they do on Arrow, you're given conclusive proof that Oliver Queen CAN'T be the Arrow.

And you have to remember, unlike Batman, "the Arrow" doesn't necessarily need to be rich. He could be literally ANYONE in the city, just someone with access to a bow and some arrows. Frankly, connecting such a character to a public figure would probably be MORE of a stretch than assuming he's some crazed loner no one has ever heard of.

  • 5
    also note that, of the two people you'd most expect to recognize Oliver -- Laurel and Moira -- Moira did figure out at some point who he was, she just never said anything. Laurel, I guess, just isn't very observant.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 22:11
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    @MichaelEdenfield Good point. And as for Laurel, she'd be more familiar with his face than most, but she'd also probably have the hardest time making the leap from "dumb frat boy I used to date" to "hardened, talented killer." It likely just didn't compute.
    – Nerrolken
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 22:13

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