- "Were you able to help your friend?"
"No, I wasn't."
"I really hope he finds his son."
- —William Clayton and Oliver Queen on Slade Wilson[src]
William Clayton (born 2007) is the son of Oliver Queen and the late Samantha Clayton, the step-son of Felicity Smoak, the grandson of the late Robert Queen and the late Moira Queen, and the nephew of Thea Queen. After William's kidnapping at the hands of Damien Darhk, he and his mother were relocated to an undisclosed location where he adopted the name, Matthew.
In May 2017, he was tracked down by Adrian Chase who kidnapped him in order to threaten his father. Soon after being rescued by his father, an explosion occurred on Lian Yu where his mother, who had also been captured, was killed. This resulted in William having to move in with Oliver.
William was conceived in 2007 during Oliver Queen's affair with Samantha Clayton. Oliver shared the news with his mother, Moira, expressing that he had messed up. Thinking this could potentially ruin Oliver's life, Moira paid the girl one million dollars to pretend she had miscarried and "asked" her to move away to Central City and never to see Oliver again.
Although Samantha took the money, agreed to lie to Oliver, and moved to Central City, it was later revealed that she never cashed Moira's check. She also denied Moira access to her grandson, William; as Samantha believed the latter would be a bad influence on her son.
Meeting his father
Seven years later, William's mother visited CC Jitters. She called him, promising to be back with a hot chocolate soon. A year later, William was running through CC Jitters with his action figure and ran into his father, Oliver, unbeknownst to both of them. He dropped it and Oliver went to give William back his figurine of The Flash and he ran to his mother. The sight of him with his mother made Oliver start to mentally connect some dots.
On his way to a sporting event, William and his mother were briefly stopped by Oliver. While his mother was conversing with Oliver, William told her mother to hurry or they'd miss the game. Unknowingly, Oliver managed to get one of William's hairs so that he could run some DNA tests. Later, while playing with his action figures on his home patio, William and his mother were interrupted by Oliver once again. He was then told to go play with his toys inside the house. Unknown to him, his mother and Oliver got into an argument as Oliver had found out that William was his son.
The following day, William was formally greeted by Oliver, who told him he was an old friend of his mother's. He was asked if it was okay if he visited him once in a while and the two played with his Flash and Captain Cold action figures. Later on, Malcolm Merlyn, bitter that Oliver gave the Demon's Head ring to Nyssa al Ghul who ended up disbanding the League of Assassins, revealed William's identity to Damien Darhk in order to get revenge.
Kidnapped by Damien Darhk
On Damien's orders, Malcolm Merlyn kidnapped William from his home and Damien brought him to the hotel where he was staying to be his daughter Nora's playmate. Damien confronted Oliver and Felicity Smoak and demanded that Oliver get out of the race for mayor but Oliver refused. He then got a video on his phone of William. After his mother was told the truth about Oliver's secret identity and the team received the help from Vixen, his action figure was used to try and magically track him. However, he was moved by Darhk to another location before he could be rescued minutes prior to when they arrived.
At Darhk's hideout, William heard the commotion made by Team Arrow as they fought against Darhk and his Ghosts. He ran outside to find Darhk was magically choking the Green Arrow. When Darhk's magic was cut off he saw the Green Arrow begin beating Darhk in anger. William and the Green Arrow spent a moment staring at each other before he left when the police began to arrive. At the SCPD, he was reunited with his mother who had his Flash action figure. He told her that he was bored with the Flash and now wanted one of the Green Arrow. She agreed with him that the Green Arrow was indeed amazing, not knowing that the actual Green Arrow was standing not too far off from them. After that Oliver sent him and his mother away to keep them safe, also making a recording that was meant for William to hear on his eighteenth birthday, revealing their relation and his identity as the Green Arrow to his son.
Taken by Prometheus
William was later tracked down by Adrian Chase at his bus stop who called him by his name William, though he said that his name was Matthew. Adrian claimed that he was a friend of Oliver's and tricked William into going with him. When he was arrested, he sent a phone message to Oliver with a video attached of William screaming for help, which prompted him to try to free him from custody. However, the kidnapper didn't divulge where he was keeping William.
Soon after being kidnapped, William was put on a boat that was anchored off the shore of Lian Yu, which Adrian would attempt to use to escape the island. Arriving on the island, Oliver demanded Prometheus to give up William, but he evaded the answer and battled Oliver instead. The kidnapper claimed that William was dead so that he could convince Oliver to kill him, but the Green Arrow didn't give in. Later, Prometheus escaped the battle and headed to the boat in which William was in, but Oliver quickly chased after him and fought him for William's location. Prometheus grabbed William, who was kept inside the boat, and dared Oliver to kill him for William's safety, but it would also mean that Prometheus's kill-switch would blow the island up along with everyone on it.
However, if Oliver chooses not to kill Prometheus, everyone on the island would survive, but William would not. Oliver shot Adrian in the leg and secured William who jumped to safety in the arms of his now revealed father. Prometheus told Oliver that William now knows who his father really is, though he is younger than Oliver was when he learned the truth. He explained that it was a good thing because he would now have to live without his mother. Oliver shielded William's view of Prometheus as he took a gun and then shot himself in the head. Soon after killing himself, the killswitch was triggered and the two of them look on as a series of explosions are set off all over Lian Yu.
Moving in with Oliver
Following his mother's death during the explosions on Lian Yu, William was taken in by Oliver. Oliver enlisted the help of his former nanny, Raisa, to care for William as his grueling schedule of being the mayor and Green Arrow leaves little time for child care. At first, William had frequent nightmares and referred to Oliver as the "bad man". However, he slowly started warming up to Oliver and his father eventually decided to give up being Green Arrow in order to take care of William. John Diggle took on the role of Green Arrow in his absence. However, Oliver still had trouble connecting with William, particularly because he has never been any good at school, while William excels at it. At Oliver's request, Felicity steps in and becomes William's math tutor. Seeing how good she is with William promted Oliver to reconsider his relationship with Felicity, and ultimately led to them getting back together. When Slade Wilson asked for help from Oliver, Felicity convinced Oliver to tell William the truth as to why he will be gone, as helping a friend. A few days later, William called Oliver asking when he was coming home, Oliver then said that he is on his way back, William asked if he was able to help his friend, which Oliver told him he couldn't.
At one point, Oliver lost his temper with Felicity and William, causing him to accidentally break William's science fair project. Felicity, upset with Oliver, tells him to get out while she takes William to the fair. When they come home and realize that Oliver was drugged, William gives Felicity sneakers telling her to go stop him from starting an all out battle with the Star City Police Department.
William Clayton is kind, caring and polite. Like his father, Oliver Queen, he is a big fan of baseball. He is a huge fan of Green Arrow and The Flash respectively, he also took an immediate liking to Oliver when they first met; prior to him discovering that the latter is his father. Following his kidnapping by Adrian Chase and the death of his mother, Samantha Clayton, William has become emotionally traumatized and distant. He suffers frequent nightmares about Adrian and his mother's death, but puts up a tough façade around Oliver. However, when his father is not around, he breaks down crying. These problems of William's are symptomatic of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, fitting, considering the experiences he endured.
Initially William blames Oliver for what happened to him and his mother, due to this, despite knowing Oliver is his father, he still refers to him as his name and mostly ignores him and display signs of anger whenever he talks to his father, calling him the "bad man". William also refused to talk to Oliver about his problems in school, he eventually forgives Oliver for what happened to him and Samantha, knowing that his father did his best to protect them from the person who is truly responsible for his mother's death. According to Raisa, William has difficulty fitting in - much like Oliver did at his age. William has also come to despise Oliver's vigilante career, fearing for his father's life, for should he die at the hands of his enemies knowing that his only living parent will leave him.
However, eventually, William warms up to Oliver and Felicity Smoak, bonding with them respectively. By Thanksgiving, he starts calling Oliver "dad". When his paternal aunt, Thea Queen came out of her coma, he called her "Auntie Thea", despite the fact that he has not formed a bond with her. Upon getting to know his aunt, William asks her if he is allowed to drink champagne at his dad and Felicity's wedding reception. When William tells his father, Thea reassures her brother she told William he can have a sip, but only during the toasts. He comes to love his step-mother, Felicity and feels he can talk to her when he can't talk to his father.
- Keen intellect: William is highly intelligent for his age; William is also top of his class, as he excels at school work far better than his father, Oliver Queen did at his age.
- Skilled cook: William is a skilled cook; as he made cookies once.
- William is a fan of the Flash, as he is seen with a few of his action figures, including posters from Flash Day in his room which is ironic because his father is Green Arrow, an ally of the Flash.
- After being saved from Damien Darhk by Green Arrow, he states he is over the Flash but he presumably still has the action figures.
- In a currently erased timeline, William, along with everyone in Central City, was killed by Vandal Savage using the Staff of Horus in his efforts to kill Carter Hall and Kendra Saunders. However, due to Barry Allen changing the time continuum, this disaster never occurs.
- According to Malcolm Merlyn, William is the person that Oliver loves and cares about most in the world, even more so than Thea and Felicity. This is proven true as he shows how much he cares for him in the season 5 finale "" in which he goes through great lengths into saving his son from Adrian Chase, like uniting with two of his most hated enemies; Malcolm Merlyn and Slade Wilson in order to save him or when he becomes ruthless against Adrian Chase while asking for his location.
- William owns actions figures of Green Arrow, the Flash and Captain Cold. His favorite is Green Arrow, whom unknowingly to him at the time the figure was shown, is his own father.
- There seems to be an inconsistency in William's year of conception and birth. In "", Samantha is shown to be pregnant in 2007, however, in "", Oliver comments that William looks about 9 and that they had their affair 10 years ago, indicating that William was conceived in 2005 and born in 2006.
- William likes his eggs scrambled.
- As of "", William has accepted Oliver Queen as his father, but has yet to go by his birth name; "William Queen".
Behind the scenes
- In the DC comics, Oliver has two sons named Robert Queen II (who was named in honor of his late paternal grandfather) and Connor Hawke. In the Arrowverse, his name is William instead of Robert or Connor. In the Arrowverse, Connor Hawke is the name of John Diggle's potential son in the future.
- William Clayton is also the name of the father of Colton Haynes.