Arrow Producers on Season 3: We're Accelerating the Storytelling and Injecting More Humor
Arrow spoilers galore! Executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg gave interviews with The Hollywood Reporter and Entertainment Weekly, in which they discussed the themes of the upcoming season, the shift to a slightly lighter tone, and plenty of plot details to tide us over until the season 3 premiere in October.
Here's what the pair had to say regarding some key themes in Season 3.
Guggenheim: If season one was about Oliver going from vengeance to vigilante and season two was vigilante to hero, season three is about identity. It's the first season where this theme of identity is not only about Oliver but is also about all the other characters... It has become an ensemble where it's not just about the Arrow. It feels appropriate that we'll have a theme that will resonate with the whole group.
Kreisberg: 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.
Speaking of this season's "Big Bad"...
Kreisberg: [Season 2 villain] Slade had a very specific agenda-he was out for revenge and had set up this elaborate five-year plot. 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 also dropped the tantalizing hint that the season's main villain, which many fans hypothesize will be Ra's al Ghul, will be cast "soon."
On the breakneck pacing of the upcoming season:
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."
The pair also revealed that the show's female characters would be much busier this coming season.
Guggenheim: Laurel and Thea are the two characters we haven't done as much with in the past and they have the strongest story lines that we've ever given them.
At the end of last season (spoiler!), Sara Lance passed the torch to Laurel, her sister and Oliver's longtime love interest, to become the new Black Canary, while Arrow's younger sister, Thea, joined her biological father Malcolm Merlyn on the dark side after a mysterious conversation in a limo.
Kreisberg: We're going to see Laurel take a few big steps towards her comic-book self this season. Let's just say that Katie Cassidy is pumping iron.
Guggenheim: We are going to do a flashback at some point in the season that takes you back to that car and continues the conversation, so you'll get to see what Thea said to Malcolm and what Malcolm said to Thea.
Kreisberg: At some point, if all the characters are going to become their comic-book selves, they have to go through their island ... This year is going to be Thea's island. How that plays out and which side she lands will be the fun of the season... [Thea's whereabouts] is sort of the mystery at the beginning. Roy knows why she left and Oliver doesn't, so that'll play an interesting part in the Oliver-Roy-Thea dynamic.
On the highly anticipated Arrow/The Flash crossover episode, and the shows' influence on each other in general:
Kreisberg: 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... [We 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?
In the pilot of The Flash, Stephen Amell crosses over as Arrow, and is much more cheerful and light-hearted than he generally appears to be on his own show.
Kreisberg: We felt like what Stephen did in The Flash pilot was tell the audience was that you can like this guy too because I like him... One of the things we are doing this season on Arrow is injecting a little more humor. It's part of the reason why we brought Brandon Routh in [as Ray Palmer, aka the Atom.]
Will Brandon Routh's character become Oliver's romantic rival?
Kreisberg: The verbal banter between him and Felicity this season is a new thing we're bringing to the show that I think audiences will really like. He'll be invading Oliver's life in every aspect, whether it's his business, his personal life and possibly down the road in his nighttime activities.
On Oliver and Felicity's budding relationship, and how it relates to the overarching theme of identity:
Kreisberg: Oliver might be catching up to how some of the audience feels in that maybe there's a life with her... This season, particularly the premiere episode, is Oliver questioning whether there's a life beyond the hood. Can he be Oliver Queen and the Arrow at the same time? One of the things about being Oliver would be what kind of romantic life he could have? ... The way the show has shaken out and the experiences the two have had, it feels like it's time to explore that.
Oliver and Felicity will go on a date in the season 3 premiere, but it is already clear that Arrow might fare better on a date than plain old Oliver will.
Kreisberg: Let's just say, Oliver is the one who has trouble completing sentences.
Arrow will return with its season 3 premiere on October 8, while The Flash will air its series premiere on October 7.