ARROW Season 3 TCA Panel Recap: Cast and Crew Talk What’s Coming Up Next, Possible Atom Spinoff, Black Canary, The Success of Superhero TV, and More

     January 12, 2015

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With the TCA winter press tour in full swing the cast and creative team of CW’s hit superhero series Arrow were on hand to talk about the future of the series and what’s coming up for fan-favorite characters.  Executive producers Marc Guggenheim, Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg hit the stage alongside castmembers Stephen Amell, Colton Haynes, David Ramsey, Katie Cassidy, Brandon Routh, Matt Nable, and John Barrowman.  They talked about the success of the crossover episodes with The Flash, the popularity of the superhero genre on TV, the differences between Marvel and DC, the possibility of an Atom spinoff, whether or not Diggle will get a costume, and more. Check out what we learned after the jump.

  • Amell says future crossovers with The Flash will be even bigger and better.  “I thought that they were two of the best scripts that either show has ever put forward.  The logistical elements of it were kind of something that we had to figure out as we moved along, but I think that everybody did a great job, and that future crossovers will be even bigger and better and smoother.”
  • arrow-the-climb-stephen-amell-and-matt-nableAmell knew about the shocking events of the winter finale well in advance.  “We had a very full discussion about the third season back in, I want to say, late June or early July, and they said the first arc of our season will commence with Sara’s death, and will end with Oliver facing Ra’s al Ghul and losing.  I personally love when there is adversity for the protagonists. “
  • He’s also excited so see the other cast members step into more leading roles during Oliver’s absence.  “We give other characters on the show an opportunity to acquit themselves and to come more into leading roles, because we’re 50-plus episodes into the show, and if we don’t give other characters an opportunity to shoulder the load, then we give nothing for the viewers to attach themselves to, and it’ll be really difficult to do our next 50 episodes.”
  • CW’s superhero shows were always designed to stand up next to the big budget blockbusters.  Kreisberg explained, “We always said at any given time you flip on TV and Dark Knight is on, Iron Man is on, and you have to be competing with those shows.”
  • He also pointed out an advantage TV has over film.  “The one thing TV can do really well is, obviously, you can get much deeper into the emotional lives of the characters and tell longer story arcs.  But if you’re not keeping up with the effects that stuff tends to get lost.”
  • the-flash-vs-arrow-david-ramsey-emily-bett-rickardsAmell largely credits the success of the TV superhero genre to the quality of programming created by Arrows EPs.  “Arrow came out in 2012, and a lot of people liked the pilot, but talked about how genre shows, specifically comic-book adaptations, didn’t work that well on television.  And then it did, so now there are more…I think at the crux of that are the three gentlemen that are sitting behind us [Kreisberg, Guggenheim, and Berlanti], because they are nicely connected with DC.  He expanded, “They’re fans of the genre, which is why it works well.”
  • Guggenheim considers the DC universe more “aspirational” and “fantastical”.  “I think DC offers a more hopeful perspective.  I have written DC comics and I’ve written Marvel comics, and I tried once to do a Marvel  a Marvel approach to a DC comic.  It handles differently.  Marvel is a little more the world outside your window.”  DC is more aspirational and, you know, fantastical and hopeful.  He clarified, “One is neither better or worse than the other; they’re just different.”
  • Katie Cassidy is excited to step into the shoes of Black Canary and has eagerly awaited the opportunity to kick ass.  “When I originally sat down and met with Andrew and Marc and Greg, they told me that this is where the character was going before we even shot the pilot.  So I was definitely looking forward to it.”  She continued, “But as we always said and they said, every character has to earn it.  You can’t just all of a sudden overnight become a superhero, you have to go through, you know, this journey…I love to kick some ass.”
  • Ray is on a different path than the other members of team arrow.  Guggenheim explained, “Ray is on a slightly different track than the other member of Team Arrow, the other people who are filling up the lair.  His connection, obviously, is through Felicity.”
  • arrow-draw-back-your-bow-brandon-routh-emily-bett-rickardsThat path might lead to a spinoff.  Berlanti said, “We are in very early talks on a very general idea that we haven’t dug deeper on yet, and we’re not allowed to say anything about it yet.”  Guggenheim joked, “Right now we’re just trying to get the suit finished.”  Routh said he’d “love to keep playing [the character] as much as possible.”
  • Routh was nervous about stepping back into the DC universe after playing the “pinnacle character”.  “When this was proposed to me, it was just a meeting about to come and talk about this idea that they had for a character.  And I was hesitant, yes, to be honest, stepping into this DC world again.  Really never thinking that would happen, that I would never play another superhero, having played, in my mind, the pinnacle character.  But I went forth with open arms, because I appreciated the work of the show, of seeing “Arrow” and the great work they were doing there.”
  • If Starling City feels over crowded with vigilantes, that’s definitely part of the plan.  Guggenheim explained, “One of the things that has always been part of the design of Season 3 is that there would be more and more ‘costume characters’ populating Starling City.”  He continued, “Oliver started off just as one man and when he said in the pilot that he had a plan, he never envisioned all these characters, all these other people being part of that plan.  He thought he would be a solo act.  So part of what he experienced this year is seeing the crusade grow beyond him…It ties into pretty much everything we’ve got planned for Season 3, which I can’t go into further detail on it without spoiling something.”
  • arrow-suicide-squad-david-ramsey-audrey-marie-andersonRamsey spoke to the importance of Diggle being a black man.  He started with a joke saying, “For me, it’s important for employment.”  Then he got more serious about the subject, “I think it is important…It’s important for television, I think, just as a whole, to see this man as probably the second in command on Team Arrow with a wife, potential wife and a child, well-adjusted to his time overseas as a soldier.  I think that’s an important story no matter what color he is, but particularly if he’s African American, and particularly in the DC world, in the comic-book world, in general.  So I’m proud of him.”
  • He also spoke about the character’s legacy.  “I’m proud also that he’s part of the DC lore.  He’s now part of the DC canon.  And that 15 years from now this is an honorable soldier, an honorable person in this DC universe that can be played by someone else, that has an existence of his own, that started here.  So, is it important?  You’re damn right.”
  • Will Diggle get a costume in the near future?  Ramsey said succinctly, “Heroes don’t need costumes,” evoking applause throughout the room before expanding, “There’s some of that.  I mean, obviously, that’s been a big question that’s been all over the Internet.  And Diggle has something to protect, right?  He has a wife and child at home…So, yeah, there’s some of  we’re toying around with some of that stuff.  But, Diggle’s exceptional, if he is exceptional, because of his normalcy…I think part of the appeal of Diggle is that any of you can be him, and you don’t want a mask to take that away from him.”

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