Ahead of Friday’s Comic-Con panel, executive producers Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim preview the new season with THR. Says Guggenheim, “Season three is about identity.”
Arrow is focusing on identity in season three and Oliver Queen won’t be the only one dealing with issues of internal strife.
“If season one was about Oliver going from vengeance to vigilante and season two was vigilante to hero, season three is about identity,” executive producer Marc Guggenheim tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s the first season where this theme of identity is not only about Oliver but is also about all the other characters.”
It’s a natural progression for The CW comic-book drama, which has expanded its focus beyond the titular superhero over the past two seasons as it continues to broaden its universe. “It has become an ensemble where it’s not just about the Arrow,” Guggenheim says. “It feels appropriate that we’ll have a theme that will resonate with the whole group.”
Guggenheim, along with executive producer Andrew Kreisberg preview season three — which picks up six months after the finale — with THR.
EW caught up with Arrow executive producer Andrew Kreisberg—who now has his hands full with The CW’s other new flashy (get it?) superhero show The Flash (now you get it). But since Kreisberg is pulling double duty with the DC Comics heroes, that means he’s got double the scoop to offer.
Perhaps most pressing is the question of which villainous threat Oliver Queen will face this coming season, which picks up six or seven months after the season-two finale. Crime is down and the police aren’t hunting Ollie—but peace never lasts that long in Starling City. Despite last season’s startlingly sinister Slade, this year’s villain will have to up the ante even more.
“Slade had a very specific agenda—he was out for revenge and had set up this elaborate five-year plot,” Kreisberg tells EW. “What’s interesting about the villain in season three is that he doesn’t necessarily disagree with [Oliver]. He doesn’t have any personal animus towards the Arrow, and he actually in some ways has a very similar worldview. [But] the Arrow is thinking too small.”
Kreisberg continued: “In some ways, as Oliver is struggling with whether or not he can be the Arrow and Oliver at the same time, the villain of season 3 is saying, ‘Being Oliver Queen is what’s holding you back from fulfilling your true destiny.’ So it’s a very interesting dynamic, but it is tied in the same way that Oliver last year was wrestling with, ‘Am I a hero or a killer?’ The theme of identity is tied up very much in how the villain is presented to Oliver.”
Kriesberg teases that the casting of this year’s Big Bad—one speculative fan theory suggests it’s Ra’s al Ghul—will happen “soon.” Certainly iconic baddie al Ghul would fit the bill for Kreisberg’s description of what Ollie will face in the coming year.
But while he’ll face a new villain, he’ll also encounter a new hero—or, a familiar one, actually. Fans have been buzzing about the announced Arrow/The Flash crossover episode, which will happen in the eighth episode of both shows (think November). So why is this Barry Allen-Oliver Queen mash-up more special than other crossovers?
“It’s really going to be an adventure with the Arrow and Flash on both episodes. Watching the two teams come together and fight alongside each other, it’s one of the most fun parts,” says Kreisberg. “We just don’t believe in waiting. We really believe in accelerated storytelling and especially for those first nine episodes of the season—for both shows—hopefully we’ve designed it so that none of these [make you say], ‘Well, I missed that one, it’s fine.’”
Kreisberg’s entire approach to both Arrow and The Flash operates on the hope that none of the episodes feel like duds. That’s why Kreiger and company have “spectacular and amazing midseason finales planned for both shows that are both game-changers … and what better way to lead into it than by having this amazing team-up?”
The Flash premieres on October 7; Arrow returns for season three on October 8.
What can you tell me about Stephen Amell’s cameo in the pilot for The Flash? —Kat
Ausiello: I can tell you that it’s a nice enough, if obvious, moment, where Barry seeks out the nudge he needs to be the hero he now can be. Now, if I can interest you in some Episode 2 scoop, I am hearing that the second metahuman The Flash will face off against might make us all feel a bit… well, Mist-y.
What is going on with Arrow? Anything new? By the way, is Sara Lance coming back? —Alamin
The Sara sitch was addressed in this recent Ask Ausiello. Elsewhere on the Arrow front, Season 3’s second episode will find Oliver hunting down a vicious killer and mercenary who is wanted for murder in seven countries and now is targeting victims who are associated with a specific company.
Two days later and we’re still not over Arrow’s finale.
You see,’twas an emotional roller coaster for us Olicity fans, who were dealt two major moments between Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) in the CW hit’s season two finale: First, Oliver told Felicity he loved her and we squealed with delight. But then, it was revealed it was all an act to finally get the upper hand on Slade (Manu Bennett). To say we we felt toyed with was an understatement. (A lot of wine was consumed, we won’t lie.)
Of course, this could mean only one thing: we needed to harass Stephen Amell on the red carpet at the CW’s Upfront presentation in order to yell at him and get scoop on what’s ahead for the fan favorite pairing…
And good news, Olicity fans: Amell isn’t so sure that Ollie’s “ILY” was just an act. “I don’t know that it was all a ruse. I think that they got down what they needed to get done,” he told us. “And I think that some of the things he said earlier in the season stayed true.” (Like the fact that he can’t be with someone he could truly care about because of what he does. Yes, we asked him to specify.)
And Emily Bett Rickards also has some doubts about Oliver’s “I love you” being all for show.
“I think he could have meant it. I think it was honest, but I think that in the time-frame of what was happening, obviously it couldn’t be real because the city was dying, for one,” she explained. “But I think he as surprised with how much he meant it. I mean, I can’t speak for Oliver, but from Felicity’s point of view, it was, ‘You almost had me believing it. Poke-poke, did you mean it?’
[Warning: This story contains major spoilers from the Season 2 finale of Arrow. Read at your own risk!]
The moment Arrow fans had been waiting for all season — the Oliver vs. Slade showdown — surprisingly wasn’t the most shocking one of the finale. That belonged to Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) sudden and very out-of-character confession that he is in love with Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards).
The divisive moment practically made social media explode, with Olicity fans feeling validated and dissenters hoping that the declaration was preceding a quick death for Ollie’s Girl Friday. But it was all a ruse designed so that Slade (Manu Bennett) would kidnap Felicity and she could get close enough to administer the cure.
In an otherwise spotless sophomore season, Arrow seemingly succumbed to tantalizing fan-bait, giving those Olicity ‘shippers exactly what they wanted while protecting themselves by assuring others that it was all a trick. And surely the implications of this will be felt in the third season, enough to keep that love triangle at least intact. But there’s a fine line between loving someone and being in love with someone.
With that being said, here’s why we should’ve seen the ruse coming: How the heck can Oliver Queen love Felicity when he doesn’t even really know her? The audience barely knows much about the former Queen Consolidated IT girl-turned-member of Team Arrow other than scarce hints that producers have promised to explore further. That’s not to say that Felicity isn’t an interesting character, but does Oliver really have time to get to know her on a deeper level when he’s been busy saving Starling City and is already emotionally tied to the Lance sisters? The moment wasn’t earned enough for it to be real at all, making it that much harder to swallow in hindsight.
And if he really loved Felicity, he never would’ve sent her into the belly of the beast on the off chance that Slade wouldn’t find the cure on her first or just as quickly slit her throat the moment that Oliver walked in. Ollie was willing to sacrifice Felicity in hopes of protecting the person Slade (likely correctly) assumed was his true love: Laurel (Katie Cassidy).
What did you think about the big twist?
Well, that didn’t take long!
Now that The CW has officially ordered The Flash to series, TVGuide.com can exclusively reveal that the first Arrow-Flash crossover will occur much sooner than fans might’ve expected: Stephen Amell, who plays Arrow’s emerald archer Oliver Queen, appears in The Flash pilot!
The Arrow spin-off stars Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, a scientist who’s gifted with the power of super-speed in the aftermath of a freak accident that transforms him into the Fastest Man Alive. Given that Barry originated on Arrow, it seems only fitting for Oliver to return the favor, but there’s a twist: The Arrow isn’t visiting Barry’s hometown of Central City.
“In the Flash pilot, Barry comes to me,” Amell tells TVGuide.com. “[It's a] little snippet in the Flash pilot where he and I share a scene together, it’s in his pilot, but [filming] it felt like our show because he’s coming to Starling City. That, to me, was one of the most rewarding things that I did as an actor because it was essentially the same crew that we used for our pilot, and it was two years later and it was the same director. It was like going back in time. [Flash and Arrow director] David Nutter asked me to be a part of the pilot and I will never say no to David Nutter.”
One can only hope that this early synergy opens up the possibility for many more crossovers to come, especially since the spin-off hails from Arrow’s Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg and DC Chief Geoff Johns. “We’d be insane if we didn’t do crossover stuff,” Amell adds. “I don’t know that it has to be an event or big moments, but the shows share a universe, and not utilizing that fact would be insane. I’m sure that we will at some point.”
Are you excited to see Barry and Oliver onscreen together again?
We picked up at the clock tower, where Team Arrow was waiting for Roy to wake up when Slade’s goons arrived to kill everyone. Just in time, Roy woke up — the cure worked! — and the team escaped before a helicopter showed up and blew up the tower. And who was the person behind that? Lyla, of course! Diggle’s woman was all business.
At Arrow headquarters, Sara showed up with Nyssa and an army of assassins. Too bad assassins were the last thing Ollie wanted. They filled injection arrows with the cure, and Ollie put out a strict no-kill policy. Sara convinced him to fight with Nyssa, and assured him there wouldn’t be a cost. Well, there would be, but Sara had already paid it: She’d agreed to go back to the League.
But before they set out to find Slade at Queen Consolidated, Ollie had a present for Roy: A red mask all his own. And that’s when Roy called to check on Thea.
When we last left Starling City, it was being terrorized by Slade’s Mirakuru soldiers. Oliver and his team had injected Roy with the cure, Thea had fired a gun, and Amanda Waller had scheduled a drone strike to level the entire city. And that was just in Arrow‘s penultimate episode.
“We stretched [the finale] out this year. It was a long three episodes because essentially, our last three episodes — save for the last act of the season — take place over the course of one night,” Stephen Amell tells EW. “So the wardrobe department had it relatively easy because no one changed. But yeah we did absolutely save the best for last. This is our best episode of the season for sure.”
Arrow star Stephen Amell had his Braveheart moment this year, though with less William Wallace facepaint and more comic-book costuming.
The season finale of The CW series tonight (8 ET/PT) features an epic battle with Amell’s heroic hooded vigilante, the Arrow (aka Oliver Queen), as well as the Canary Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), Roy Harper (Colton Haynes), Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law) and the League of Assassins on one side, and a superpowered army of 30 soldiers spearheaded by the evil Deathstroke, Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett), on the other.
Visceral, for sure, but also pretty special, according to Amell.
“It’s not CGI. We’re in a tunnel, there are 12 of us, there are 30 of them, and we’re all sprinting at one another,” Amell says. “I don’t think there’s ever been anything on TV — Game of Thrones, whatever — that has been like this fight sequence. And it’s not even our biggest fight sequence on the show.”
The last episode of Arrow’s second season is fittingly explosive, figuratively if not literally like the first year, which ended with a major part of Starling City blowing up and causing an earthquake that ultimately leads to the death of Oliver’s close friend.
In a chat with THR, the CW star previews Wednesday’s sophomore closer and looks ahead to season three.
Can Oliver Queen topple Slade Wilson once and for all?
Arrow wraps up its second season with a finale that pits a former protege against his ex-mentor. Titled “Unthinkable,” Wednesday’s closer has Oliver (and a few of his friends) facing off against Slade and his Mirakuru army. Slade has vowed to shatter Oliver’s world, a declaration borne mainly out of spite after Oliver “caused” Shado’s death all those years ago on the island. Following Moira’s death, Slade has his eye on one more victim in Oliver’s orbit.
In a preview chat with The Hollywood Reporter, Stephen Amell touts “the biggest fight in the history of the show,” a not-so-deadly finale and hints at season three.
The entire season has come down to an anticipated showdown between Slade and Oliver. How would you describe this final battle?
There are two of them and that’s the coolest thing about the finale. In the middle of the episode, we have logistically the biggest fight in the history of the show. At the end of the episode, we have the climactic moments between Oliver and Slade both in the past and in the present. They intercut with one another. You can have all these big fights and big chases, but at the end of the day, what people are waiting for is Oliver and Slade to fight. Period. Just the two of them. That’s what we get in the finale. It’s awesome.