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"Hello, Oliver. I told myself I was recording this message in case I died suddenly, but I wonder if it isn't just easier to say what I have to say to a video camera. I'm not the man you think I am, Oliver. I didn't save our city, I failed it. I did something terrible, and in my efforts to make it right, I ignored my conscience and made alliances with terrible people. There's a book. A book with a list of all their names. And with these people, I always told myself that everything I did, I did for my family. That's a lie. Because what good is a family without a soul? You can right my wrongs. You can be better than I was. You can save this city. I love you."
—Robert Queen to his son, Oliver[src]


Robert Alan Queen[1] (1958-2007) was the founder and CEO of Queen Consolidated. Robert was also the husband of the late Moira Queen, the father of Oliver Queen and an unnamed woman, the legal father of Thea Queen, the grandfather of William Clayton, the best friend of Walter Steele, the ex-lover of the late Isabel Rochev, and the ex-best friend-turned-enemy of Malcolm Merlyn. He and Oliver were both lost at sea when his yacht, the Queen's Gambit was sabotaged by Malcolm. Robert committed suicide to save his son's life and to increase his chances of survival and returning home to Starling City so Oliver could right his wrongs.

Biography

Early life

Robert Queen was born in 1958. He was the founder and CEO of Queen Consolidated as well as a close friend and business partner of Malcolm Merlyn, Frank Chen and Walter Steele. He eventually married Moira and on May 16, 1985, the two had a son, Oliver.[2] However, Robert was not a faithful husband and cheated on Moira multiple times.[3][4] Moira eventually retaliated by having a brief affair with Malcolm after the death of his wife, Rebecca, which lead to Thea's birth. Though Moira kept the affair a secret, Robert was aware that Thea wasn't his biological daughter but he accepted her nonetheless and loved her like his own.[5][6] After Malcolm left Starling City following Rebecca’s death, Robert took in their son, Tommy, and the latter would fondly remember Robert as his true father.[7]

Sometime after 1985, Robert went to a charity event, where he met Harrison Wells. One of their subjects of discussion was Robert's son, Oliver. However, it is unknown if it was the actual Harrison Wells or Eobard Thawne, the man who killed Wells and took his appearance in the year 2000.[8]

Involvement with Tempest

In 2002, about a month before Robert opened his shipping factory in the Glades, he was approached by a local councilman, Henry Goodwin. Henry would only allow the factory to run if Robert financially compensated him. Robert, being an honest businessman, angrily rejected his proposal and the two got into a heated argument which soon turned violent. Robert then accidentally caused Henry to fall to his death in a vat of concrete, leaving him in a state of shock and depression. After this incident, Robert turned to Malcolm and the two created a secret organization, Tempest, with the goal of helping Starling City prosper by forcing the corrupt, wealthy individuals who were poisoning the city into helping the city instead through blackmail. Robert became ashamed of these actions, but stayed true to the task of redeeming his act of manslaughter.[4][9]

At some point, a young intern named Isabel Rochev joined Queen Consolidated and Robert fell in love with her. Isabel became his mistress and they were together for a while, to the point that Robert even planned to leave his family and the company to be with her. However, at the airport, Robert received a call informing him that Thea was in the hospital after falling off her horse in an accident and went to check on her. Isabel, upset, made Robert choose between her and his family. Robert chose his family and terminated Isabel's internship, ending their affair and severing all ties with her.[6]

Robert once took Oliver, Thea and Tommy with him to the U.S. Open, where he aimed to secure an acquisitions deal for Queen Consolidated. However, when Oliver got into trouble for landing a helicopter on the grounds in an attempt to impress Maria Sharapova, Robert had to forgo the deal in order to bail him out and was subsequently very disappointed in his son.[10]

In 2007, Robert shut down Queen Industrial Inc. when he outsourced production to China to save money. Not only were roughly 1,500 employees laid off, but Robert went as far as to have his financial lawyers find loopholes in the employees' union contracts to avoid paying severance packages or pensions. This resulted in most, if not all, losing their homes.[11]

Death

Malcolm became unsatisfied by the slow results of Tempest, and came up with a new plan called The Undertaking, which would destroy the crime-ridden Glades in a manmade earthquake using a seismic device from Unidac Industries, thus killing the thousands of people who lived there. Robert was horrified at Malcolm's plan and met with Frank, who was also a member of Tempest. The two men agreed to meet in China and use Frank's contacts to take control of the majority of real estate in the Glades to prevent the Undertaking. Robert also came clean to Moira about Goodwin's death and Malcolm’s plans. Frank, however, betrayed Robert to Malcolm, who had the Queen's Gambit sabotaged before Robert used it to travel to China. Oliver decided to accompany Robert at the last minute, and snuck Sara Lance on board as well.[4]

Robert Queen shoots himself

Robert shoots himself.

The yacht sank during a storm. Robert, Oliver and his bodyguard Hackett were able to make it to a lifeboat. They only had one bottle of water, which Robert gave to Oliver. When all hope seemed lost, Robert shot Hackett along with himself, to save his son. Just before he did so, the anguished patriarch pleaded with his son to “Survive. Right my wrongs". When Oliver washed up on the shore of Lian Yu, he buried his father's body, but not before finding a notebook in his pocket.[12]

Alternate reality

In the alternate reality created by the Dominators, Robert Queen was alive and well and still married to Moira. He had just been elected Mayor of Star City, and was in the process of trying to convince Oliver to take over as CEO of Queen Consolidated, lest he be bought out by Ray Palmer.[13]

Legacy

Robert betrayed many people over the years, but came to regret these mistakes, even if he died before he had a chance to atone.

Three years after his death, Robert's son Oliver found a posthumous message from his father, which revealed his dark past and partly explained the List. Robert admitted he wasn't the man Oliver thought he was and wanted his son to be better and help the city he failed. This made Oliver reconsider his selfish actions of abandoning Maseo to reunite with his family, instead choosing to aid his friend in keeping the Alpha-Omega bioweapon from terrorist hands.[14]

In 2009, Robert's wife Moira was coerced into becoming involved with Tempest in his place after finding out the Queen's Gambit was sabotaged by Malcolm.[1] Moira eventually moved on from Robert's death and fell in love with Walter, and they were married in 2011.[12]

Oliver would return to Starling City five years later in October 2012 to fulfill his father's dying wish; save the city from the people who were poisoning it and to right his father's wrongs. He became a vigilante and started his crusade by crossing off names on The List.[12] Upon discovering how the Reston family became bank robbers after Derek Reston was laid off by Robert shutting down Queen Industrial Inc., Oliver tried to give them a second chance in an effort to atone for Robert's sins, which ultimately failed. However, John Diggle assured Oliver that Robert would nonetheless be proud of him for his actions.[11]

In late 2012, Walter stumbled onto Tempest and the remains of the Queen's Gambit and began investigating, determined to find out what really happened to his best friend.[15]

Oliver eventually caught on to the Undertaking, but he and his team were only able to stop one seismic device. The other leveled the Glades, killing 503 people. Robert's role in The Undertaking was made public by Moira when trying to evacuate the Glades.[16][17]

Robert's former mistress Isabel Rochev sought revenge on him and his family after he jilted her. As part of her and Slade Wilson's plan, she took over Queen Consolidated and ran it to the ground in an attempt to destroy the Queen family's legacy.[6] Ultimately, the company was bought by Ray Palmer, who rebranded it as Palmer Technologies and desired to use its resources to help the city.[18]

About seven years after Robert's death, Thea learned that Malcolm was her biological father, much to her dismay.[19] Later though, she also learned that Robert knew the truth, yet loved her anyway.[6] This eventually allowed Thea to still consider Robert her true father.

Robert remained unaware of the existence of his grandson, William Clayton, as Moira and Oliver never told him about Samantha Clayton's pregnancy.

During Oliver's duel with Ra's al Ghul, he was fatally stabbed through the abdomen and saw visions of Robert, Moira, Thea and Felicity in his mind before falling to his presumed death.[20]

When Oliver tried to learn to use Light Magic against Damien Darhk, he needed to fight his own inner darkness; Robert's death was one of his visions which stopped Oliver from doing so.[21]

In spring 2017, Adrian Chase/Prometheus uncovered footage of Robert's accidental murder of Henry Goodwin, as well as Henry's body, and arranged them to be sent to City Hall, revealing the truth. In a confrontation with Adrian, who sought revenge for Oliver killing his father Justin Claybourne, Chase attempted to use the fact that both their fathers were bad people as another example of their similarities, but Oliver rejected that notion as Claybourne had been planning to officially disown Chase due to his insanity. He reflected that, while Robert wasn't perfect, he had never given up on Oliver. Afterwards, Oliver held a press conference confirming Robert's deed and revealed his sacrifice to ensure Oliver would live and return home. Thea watched the video Robert made for her, in which he told Thea he was proud of her and asked her to be there for Oliver once he and Moira were gone. Oliver and Thea admitted they still love and miss Robert and Moira despite their mistakes and agreed to try and live for themselves, leaving the past in the past.[9]

During his final showdown with Adrian on Lian Yu, Oliver told Adrian that even if he accepts the blame for the latter's father's death, he was officially done with blaming himself for his own. Oliver realized that every bad feeling and choice he made as a result of his father's death was out of survivor's guilt, but now he has learned to forgive himself.[22]

Personality

Robert had made several mistakes by destroying countless people's lives for his benefit, but he did feel remorse and sought redemption, but the closest thing he was able to get was committing suicide after spending days afloat, albeit after killing a third person with them, to increase Oliver's chances of survival with the remaining food and water, leaving him a vague message to "right his wrongs".

For all his flaws, Robert was a selfless, compassionate man who cared greatly for his family. Although Robert was an unfaithful husband and cheated on his wife, Moira throughout their marriage, he was very close to and adored by his children. Despite knowing that Thea was not his biological child, Robert accepted and loved her anyway. He also became a surrogate father to Tommy Merlyn after Rebecca's death.

Robert had a sense of honor and good morals; his sole reason for getting involved with Tempest was to atone for his mistake of killing Henry Goodwin and aimed to save Starling City from corruption. Upon realizing the full scope of Malcolm Merlyn's plan, the Undertaking, Robert opposed it from the very beginning and actively tried to prevent it.

Appearances

Arrow

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4

Season 5

Season 6

Season 7


The Flash

Season 1

Season 3

Comics

Arrow

Arrow: Season 2.5

Novels

Trivia

  • It was established that Robert had met Harrison Wells at some point prior to his death. However, it is unknown if it was actually Wells or Eobard Thawne masquerading as Wells.[8]
  • He enjoyed sailing.[12]
  • Robert was an avid art collector, having amassed a collection of paintings in the Queen Mansion.[23]

Behind the scenes

  • In the DC comics, Robert Queen was the founder and CEO of Queen Industries. He and his wife, Moira, were killed during a hunting accident in the safari when they are both mauled by lions, leaving Oliver to reluctantly inherit the company.
  • Robert's birth year is in dispute. In "Pilot", it was mentioned as 1948, but in the equally canon Arrow #1: Special Edition and "Honor Thy Father", it was mentioned as 1958 on his gravestone. Robert's birth year has been referred to as 1958 in more recent content, meaning that the producers probably changed their minds.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Echo"
  2. "Damaged"
  3. "Vertigo"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "The Undertaking"
  5. "State v. Queen"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 "The Man Under the Hood"
  7. "Dead to Rights"
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Flash vs. Arrow"
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Honor Thy Fathers"
  10. "What We Leave Behind"
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Legacies"
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 "Pilot"
  13. "Invasion!"
  14. "The Return"
  15. "An Innocent Man"
  16. "Sacrifice"
  17. "City of Heroes"
  18. "The Calm"
  19. "Deathstroke"
  20. "The Climb"
  21. "Genesis"
  22. "Lian Yu"
  23. "The Promise"