As if the show didn't provide enough eye candy already! (Not that I am complaining...)
J. R. Ramirez has now been announced as joining the [Arrow](series:720988) cast in the role of Wildcat for the upcoming Season 3. We found out at SDCC that the character would be appearing in the new season, so it is really exciting to see who will be playing this boxing champion.
Top question in my mind is: does he have the body for the part? Wildcat is a boxing champ, and is usually drawn pretty heavily muscled, while Ramirez isn't a huge guy. Of course, Stephen Amell looks slim(ish) in his suits, and he is just ridiculously ripped. Facially, I think this is excellent casting - he has the perfect distinctive chin to peek out from under his mask, and an element of that charming-but-rough look that the casting directors clearly enjoy.
Physical appearance aside, what does this character mean for the series? His incarnation in the show has been described, and the language is very telling.
In Arrow, 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.
I love the idea of him running a boxing gym in the Glades, and I wonder if we will see Roy Harper training there with him. He is going to become Arsenal at some point this season, and I don't know quite how they are intending to play that out. I'm assuming we will see more training, even if he is going down the tech-weapon route, and it would be great to see him sparring with Wildcat.
Possibly more obvious is that he will have a "pivotal role in Laurel Lance's arc". We've been expecting Laurel to eventually become Black Canary, because of course, Dinah Laurel Lance is in the comic books. Wildcat helped to train Black Canary (amongst others), and now that Laurel has realized that her sister Sara is wearing the black mask, something big is bound to happen.
We know from the teasers that Black Canary returns (with the line "I haven't been gone that long!"), so it would appear that Sara comes back after leaving with Nyssa in the final episodes, but to what purpose? Could this, in fact, be Laurel as the Canary, donning the costume after some training? The line could be a throwaway, or even her pretending to be her sister in order to gauge Oliver's reaction to her return, and thus his feelings for Sara. The line could also be directed at a criminal element, with Oliver knowing exactly who she is. With the wig and mask, anything could happen, and I would really love to see Laurel take over as the Canary as soon as possible.
Finally, we have Wildcat's "mysterious past" to think about. This could easily just be telling us that we don't get a backstory, or simply being used as a descriptive word, but somehow, I doubt it. Arrow is all about the flashbacks (for obvious reasons) and I have a feeling that we will be seeing a lot of Ted Grant's past. My best guess is that there will be a variant of the poisoned-glove-fight part of his origin story, and he is now helping underprivileged youths as a way of atoning for his crime. There is also the vague possibility of him showing up in the remainder of Oliver Queen's flashbacks in some shape or form; the show seems fond of adding major characters into the main backstory, and this may be no exception.
What do you think? Are you impressed by the casting, or do you think someone else would play Wildcat better? Where do you think that this character will take us in Season Three?