The CW’s hit show, Arrow, is introducing its first openly gay African American superhero this Fall. Echo Kellum will play the comic book hero Mr. Terrific in season four.
The version of Mr. Terrific on which Echo Kellum’s character is loosely based appeared in comic books in 1997. His name was Michael Holt, and he was a gold medal-winning Olympic decathlete, a self-made millionaire, and he owned a successful tech company. He also held 14 Ph.D’s. Impressive right? Well, it’s a comic book. What did you expect?
Mr. Terrific’s superhero career began after the accidental death of his wife and unborn child. He blamed himself for their deaths since he made his wife late for church after arguing about the utility of religion. This traumatic event turned him toward the direction of crime-fighting.
The new and improved (and hopefully less depressing) version of the character that will be featured on Arrow is named Curtis Holt. He is described as a tech wizard that works with Felicity Smoak, Oliver Queen/Arrow’s love interest. Since he is working with Felicity, you can guarantee that he will be incredibly intelligent. That’s at least one thing the two versions will have in common.
Arrow has shown gay characters in previous seasons, with the introduction of Nyssa al Ghul, played by Katrina Law, and her relationship with Sara Lance, played by Caity Lotz. Though Arrow is no stranger to including the LGBT community in its action-packed storylines, Curtis Holt will be the first African American LGBT member it features. Holt is not the first African American character to appear in Arrow. John Diggle, played by David Ramsey, has been on the show since it premiered in 2012.
Echo Kellum’s character is the first of its kind on Arrow and will add something unique to the arc of the show. His appearance on the show is also significant, because it reflects the struggle of minorities who have been neglected in terms of their representation on television. Executive producer Greg Berlanti said last year that he plans to continue to explore new ways of introducing gay characters to this series, as well as The Flash (another series on CW), which has also featured gay heroes and villains, such as David Singh (Patrick Sabongui) and the Pied Piper (Andy Mientus). Arrow premieres on October 7 on the CW.