Kevin Smith Wants to Bring Onomatopeoia to The CW’s DC Universe

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Director Kevin Smith has a long history of dabbling in comics. In addition to penning a well-received run on Marvel’s Daredevil alongside Joe Quesada, he also wrote a 10-issue arc on Green Arrow for DC, as well as a pair of Batman limited series (Cacophony and The Widening Gyre) with his longtime friend and Comic Book Men co-star, Walt Flanagan. 

The latter projects not only allowed Smith to craft new adventures for some of his favorite characters, but also gave him an opportunity to contribute something to the DC Comics universe with the creation of a new villain, the masked serial killer Onomatopoeia. Originally appearing in Smith’s Green Arrow run before popping up to torment Batman in later collaborations, Smith is hoping to introduce the character into a new medium: television.

After teaming up with The CW to helm an episode of The Flash, Smith has begun dabbling in a number of other TV-based project, including a revival of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai and an adaptation of his original idea for Mallrats 2 that would see his feature film turned onto a 10-episode series. He’s also scheduled to go behind the camera for another episode of The Flash, but Smith tells Den of Geek that he’s crossing his fingers for a shot at Arrow:

“Oh my god, I would love that so much. I’ve not heard from anybody over there, even though I’ve talked about it in the press quite a bit and stuff. I know I’m going back to The Flash, first week of September, to direct episode 7 of season 3. Still haven’t heard anything back from Arrow.

You know, I wish, it would be amazing because I would love to write and direct Onomatopoeia in the show. Um, but I know they’re doing – what is it? – Wild Dog this year, as well as Vigilante, so maybe they’re just like ‘we don’t need you’, or whatever. But, at the moment, anyone over there raises a flag; I’m like ‘please, let me in!’ That’d be fun as fuck.”

Coincidentally, this isn’t the first time Onomatopoeia has been suggested as another foil for the TV version of Oliver Queen. Showrunner Andrew Kreisberg had originally wanted to introduce the character back in 2013, but Smith himself didn’t think a live-action version of the villain would be a viable option, thanks to a particular defining characteristic: Onomatopeia never speaks, except for imitating sound effects.

It sounds a little silly, but on the page it actually works – such as a recognizable cover that sees the character breaking one of Oliver Queen’s arrows in half while uttering the word “snap.” But translating that idea directly to the screen isn’t exactly a slam dunk – luckily, Smith has been brainstorming:

“I’ve figured out a way to do it that is kinda bad-ass, and also connects to comics more or less. So instead of just doing the actual sound – which to me, in the real world, would be like the dude from Police Academy making noises with his mouth – he’ll just have little cards, business cards that have typewritten words of whatever the fuck. So instead of him saying ‘blam,’ you’d find this card on your desk and turn around and ‘blam,’ he’d shoot you and stuff like that. Which I think is a little more chilly, you know, for doing it in live action.

On a comic book page, those big word balloons with a tiny word in it were so fucking sweet. It looks beautifully graphic, like, at the same time it creates an image of ‘this is weird.’ But I don’t know if audibly making noises would ever work in the real world, so I think those cards would be bad-ass, man. So [you read]‘slit,’ and you’re like “slit?” and then all of a sudden you turn around he cuts your fucking throat and dude just cocks his head Michael Myers style and watches you go down. So yeah, I’ve obviously thought about it a little bit, but it would be cool to do. Hopefully, hopefully they’ll tap me.”

Truth be told, I could totally get behind something like this – a mute character that only communicates in one-word phrases that he hands out like business cards? There’s always the danger that it could come across campy, but if handled correctly it could be sufficiently creepy enough to resonate with viewers.

Right now, there are no official plans to have Smith direct an episode of Arrow, but his existing relationship with The CW could certainly open that door. And if nothing else, Smith isn’t ruling out the possibility of using the character elsewhere. “Even if they don’t, maybe I could do it on Flash, or Legends Of Tomorrow, or now Supergirl as well,” he says. “There’s a couple of shows there.”

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