In a recent episode of Arrow, Ted Grant, known to DC Comics fans as Wildcat, joined the series. Played by J.R. Ramirez, we were fully introduced to Grant in Season 3's recent third episode "Corto Maltese." Soon-to-be Black Canary, Laurel Lance, confronts Grant in a professional capacity. We learn three important traits about him pretty quickly: He's a good fighter, emotionally intuitive enough to read Laurel's rage, and will be important to her arc this season. But who is Ted Grant, besides Laurel's trainer?
The first and most famous character to take on the mantle of Wildcat in the comics, Grant was a former world class heavyweight boxer turned longstanding member of the Justice Society of America. Grant has consistently been portrayed as a man in his forties to fifties who is an expert in hand-to-hand combat and adept in a variety of fighting styles. In the comics, it was eventually revealed he was given extra abilities by the magician Zatara, including slowed aging, heightened senses, and extra lives. But for the most part, he tends to be portrayed as a mortal man whose abilities come from hard work and determination more than anything else — so I'd expect Arrow to leave out the superpowers, since they are not a well known aspect of his character and the series has shied away from more supernatural elements.
One common trait between the series and comic, however, is Grant being a gruff, badass father figure that trains the younger generation of superheroes. In the comics he even trains Batman, but his closest bond forms when he mentors none other than Black Canary.
Many younger comic fans were likely introduced to Wildcat in the endlessly awesome 2004-2006 animated series Justice League Unlimited. The series explored how he mentored Black Canary and grappled with aging in the episode "The Cat and The Canary."
On Arrow, Grant is obviously not an older superhero struggling with his age. This is The CW, after all, so he's a thirty-something ab-tastic young man. However the writers behind the show do look to be upholding other established aspects of Grant's background, including boxing and mentoring Laurel into the highly skilled Black Canary many Arrow fans hope she becomes. While he no longer has a few decades on Laurel, it seems the dynamics of their relationship will remain in tact. Katie Cassidy, who plays Laurel, recently told The Hollywood Reporter, "[Ted] is there for her to get some of that physical rage and emotional side of her that she needs to release." There have been no hints about Grant donning the mask as Wildcat on the show, but fans should rest assured that he will be a major part of Laurel's transformation into Black Canary.
Images: Cate Cameron/The CW; queensarrow/Tumblr