Recently, it was announced that British actor Jimmy Akingbola would be cast as a villain in the next season of Arrow, as Baron Reiter, more commonly known to comic book fans as Baron Blitzkrieg, a Nazi super-villain. In an interview with EW, executive producer Marc Guggenheim explained the casting and the character's role on the show.
As it happens in almost every single television show, characters from their perspective comics do not appear the same on the small or big screen. Pieces of each character are taken and putting Reiter on the show was less about the Nazi aspect of his character and much more about having a great villain for Oliver to take on in flashbacks, as Guggenheim explained. They wanted the best actor for that role and it turned out that Akingbola was the man for the job.
“We never planned on actually telling a story about a bad guy who is a Nazi... 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 organization that actually in the comics had been associated with Deathstroke called Shadowspire. In the comics, Baron Reiter became associated with Shadowspire.”
Guggenheim went on to discuss the reaction from fans and how it made sense, since the creators behind Arrow had been so engrossed in the show.
“I totally get it... It’s all good. We were surprised because we mistakenly assumed that everyone was on the same page as we were, but why would they be? We haven’t told anyone anything about the flashbacks, but this was so obviously not our intention to do Baron Blitzkreig. If we were, in fact, doing a Nazi being played by an African American, I would expect us to be very duly Internet chastised.”
So what's happening with Reiter on the show? Well, Guggenheim continued to say there's a surprise in the season premiere for the flashback sequences and there's a big twist in the opening episode to season four.