Rila Fukushima isn't quite a household name in America just yet, but she is certainly gaining popularity though comic book geek audiences. Last year, the Japanese actress/model got an opportunity for a breakout starring opposite Hugh Jackman in James Mangold's The Wolverine, and now she is ready to ride the genre to the small screen, where she will be appearing regularly in episodes of Arrow this fall.
Deadline has the scoop, revealing that Fukushima has replaced Devon Aoki as the character Tatsu Yamashiro a.k.a. Katana in the third season of the DC Comics series. While this will be the first time that Katana is appearing on the show, she has been around in the comics since the early 1980s and in the New 52 relaunch she has been a key member of the Birds of Prey. In Arrow, she will be featured in the Oliver Queen flashbacks, where she will be one of two mentors who play a crucial role turning him into a costumed vigilante/protector of Starling City.
Katana is quite skilled with a sword, which is how she winds up earning her name. Rila Fukushima is good casting if not only because it probably means that Arrow will be able to save a little on a combat trainer for the actress. She proved herself to be quite handy holding a blade in The Wolverine - even if she is just faking it:
While this is clearly a major recurring role, it remains unclear if Katana will ever be joining Oliver and company in the present day, similar to what happened with both Sara (Caity Lotz) and Deathstroke (Manu Bennett) last season. That said, even if she does wind up crossing over and sharing conversations with Diggle and Felicity, would you really want to know that now? There's a long season of Arrow ahead of us, and some secrets are best kept until the final waning minutes of every episodes.
What remains slightly unclear about this whole situation is exactly what's going on with Devon Aoki. The actress signed on for the third season of Arrow months ago, but apparently has been forced to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. While this is a fairly common occurrence in Hollywood, the reality is that Aoki hasn't been in a movie since 2009's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead. It's also worth noting that she didn't reprise her role as Miho from 2005's Sin City in Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller's recently released sequel, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (letting the part go to Jamie Chung as her replacement).
Arrow will be coming back for Season 3 on Wednesday, October 8 at 9:00 p.m. ET on the CW.