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Cynthia Addai-Robinson Will Play Amanda Waller In CW's 'Arrow' + A Little History...

by Tambay A. Obenson
September 5, 2013 10:40 AM
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Cynthia Addai-Robinson has been cast to play Amanda Waller, the A.R.G.U.S. agent in charge of the Suicide Squad in the CW drama Arrow's second season. 

Arrow is based on the chronicles of the DC Comics superhero Green Arrow.

Waller will first appear in the 6th episode of the series' upcoming second season.

She will apparently be a younger and slimmer version of the Waller character from the comics. You might remember that, Angela Bassett played Waller in the,Green Lantern movie that starred Ryan Reynolds.

For those unfamiliar with the DC comics universe, here's what I dug up… Nicknamed “The Wall,” she is a former congressional aide and government agent often placed in charge of the aforementioned Suicide Squad, a semi-secret government-run group of former super-villains working in return for amnesty. She also was the former leader (code rank: White Queen) of the covert-ops organization, Checkmate. She later served as Secretary of Metahuman Affairs under President Lex Luthor.

Some of her abilities include being highly trained in logistics, strategic management, military tactics, game theory, and espionage.

On the small screen, Pam Grier played her in Smallville – the once-popular super hero TV series based on Superman, on the CW network.

Also worth noting, in the straight-to-dvd animated adaptation of the comic book,Superman/Batman: Public EnemiesCCH Pounder voiced the role of Amanda Waller. In this version, Waller is depicted as a more sympathetic character, though visually more obese than previously seen.

In 2009, Amanda Waller was ranked as IGN’s 60th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time, for whatever that’s worth!

I believe it was years ago when DC Comics relaunched/revamped a series of titles, including the Suicide Squad, which fanboys/girls protested because of one very significant change from before the series was revamped/relaunched - and that change was in the Amanda Waller character.

Words like "Fail" and "Radical" were been used to described Waller's makeover from, shall we say full-bodied, rotund, and not particularly *hot,* to a younger, rather svelte, although curvy and busty version. The argument there was that, in the past, fans felt it was great that a *normal* looking character appeared in a superhero Comic book; but, post-relaunch of the series, DC Comics caved into youthful expectations and, and made the character blend in with the rest of the hard-bodied, slim-waisted, voluptuous, if unrealistic-looking hotties that rule comic book pages... in a nutshell.

So, with Addai-Robinson (who also appeared in Spartacus, the TV series) being close to the latter than the former, what are fans saying now?

Addai-Robinson's credits also include roles on the big and small screen: Colombiana, The Vampire Diaries and FlashForward

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  • LL2 | September 5, 2013 11:27 PMReply

    Despite my previous comment, I have nothing against Cynthia Addai-Robinson. I like her and wish her all the best.

  • ALM | September 5, 2013 11:23 PMReply

    By the way, both of these ladies are also too thin for the part, but based on talent either Alfre Woodard or Aisha Hinds would have been an amazing Waller.

  • ALM | September 5, 2013 11:21 PMReply

    Wow. They REALLY changed the character. Tambay, you typed several of the things I was about to type regarding the history of the character.

    I LOVED the version of Waller from "Justice League Unlimited". Waller is polarizing, but she is VERY, VERY smart. I absolutely loved when she and Batman went toe to toe matching wits, and then at the end of the second to the last season of "JLU" she revealed to Terry why Bruce Wayne was so hard on him and who his father really was. That episode came out of nowhere, but it was later revealed that was to have been the series finale, but then "JLU" was renewed for another season in the 13th hour.

    Congrats to this young actress, but she is far cry (visually at least) from Waller. I adore Angela Bassett, but she is also a far cry visually from Waller. Angela is an amazing actress though. Hopefully Cynthia Addai-Robinson is a good actress too.

  • Mark | September 5, 2013 1:52 PMReply

    No. This is not Amanda Waller. Amanda Waller was originally an incredibly powerful, middle-aged, dark skinned black woman. She was thin revamped to be a younger, thinner sexy dark skinned black woman.

    Sorry. I'm a bit tired of TV shows only going for lighter-skinned black women. This does a disservice to all women of color who have to deal with a color hierarchy imposed by white casting directors.

    Take a step back and look at how most TV shows are cast. It's hard to find a dark skinned black woman with strong African features. Other than Danai Guirara of the Walking Dead and Tika Sumpter of The Haves and Have Nots, I can't think of any younger darker skinned actresses on primetime.

  • Akimbo | September 7, 2013 7:19 PM

    Naturi Naughton, Camille Winbush, Dana Davis, Jazz Raycole. The actresses are around and working, you just won't catch them on the CW.

  • LL2 | September 5, 2013 11:32 PM

    Oh, and Rutina Wesley on true blood.

  • LL2 | September 5, 2013 11:30 PM

    The only other dark-skinned actress I can think of is Enuka Okuma on Rookie Blue.

  • Akimbo | September 5, 2013 12:42 PMReply

    No disrespect to this actress, but outside of Aisha Hinds on the cancelled Cult*, Ellen Wong and Freema Agyeman on The Carrie Diaries, EVERY ethnic woman on the CW is or looks biracial. Even the Asian dude in the jungle on Arrow somehow managed to to have a half-white daughter. This to me is far deeper than the whole (dare I even mention it) Zoe Saldana of it all because these people aren't being cast for their names, past successes, or even talent for the most part; it's just about looking a certain way and being able to spit out lines. Arrow already has a can-hardly-tell-she's-black love interest for Diggle, and a biracial best friend for Laurel. Are they afraid to switch it up or is this a network mandate? Can y'all reach out to Traci Blackwell and see what's up? I mean, she's light-skinned, but the woman went to Spelman so she should know better.

    *Cult starred the talent-light, adorable, and also biracial Jessica Lucas.

  • Akimbo | September 7, 2013 7:23 PM

    Damn, LL2! I didn't know. At least Freema can ACT, unlike most of the other half-black actresses they cast for their look & nothing else.

  • LL2 | September 5, 2013 9:42 PM

    Sorry to say Freema Agyeman is bi-racial too even though she is darker-skinned, her mom is Iranian. The casting director might not have known that though. Yeah I've noticed the tendency to cast mixed-raced women instead of black women in recent years. I miss the 90s.

  • thatstlphoenix | September 5, 2013 8:39 PM

    I'm glad you stated that and laid it out there. I'm sorry but the CW only does "black" if they are bi-racial (I really dislike that channel for how to represent POC's in general). She's not light skinned, she'd Bi-Racial. It's a difference to me (IN SOME CASES), then say, Jill Scott tone verses the bi-racial tone. The CW does not randomly pick light toned black actors and actresses, they PURPOSELY pick bi-racial individual (the same with non-black actors and actresses, if your bi-racial they want you over non-white actors and one race actors), the same with ABCFamily. You may get lucky to get non-biracial characters sprinkled through, but the majority is bi-racial. My problem with it, is that it's becoming the 'STANDARD' for what is considered Black on TV and that is sad. The CW needs to get it together, ABCFamily needs to get it togehther...all the networks need to get it together. I want to see Black people represented in ALL hues, not just bi-racial hues. We all need to be represented. That's IMO.

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