It may have been Christmas time on the Arrow set, but for 15 journalists last week it was just a cold, late night in Vancouver interviewing the lovely cast, and checking out some of the sets (some of which are still super secret, but look awesome — picture post to come). Also, Paul Blackthorne (Quentin Lance) teased that because it’s the holiday episode, “everyone is kissing everyone.” We didn’t get any details on that, but we did also get to talk to Stephen Amell (Oliver Queen), Neal McDonough (Damien Darhk), Emily Bett Rickards (Felicity Smoak), Echo Kellum (Curtis Holt), and stunt coordinator James Bamford about what else to expect in the new season, including the crossovers, Oliver’s political campaign, Damien vs. Arrow, and of course: Who’s in the Grave?
– Stephen confirmed that Felicity’s engagement ring is coming back into play this season, though Emily said she hasn’t officially seen it yet (or tried it on).
– Stephen also said his scenes with Lance in this upcoming episode are some of the best of the series.
– Mama Smoak, aka Donna (Charlotte Ross), will be back in Episode 6, and she and Oliver are friends (apparently they have been talking quite a bit since he’s been with Felicity). Apparently this leads to (according to Stephen) some really funny moments coming up.
– Diggle (David Ramsey) and Oliver may be past their friend break-up for now, but their strategies regarding how to handle H.I.V.E. differ greatly, and may cause new friction between them.
– Ray Palmer’s (Brandon Routh) return will cause some of Felicity’s neurotic tendencies to flare up, and it will also lead to some tension between her and Oliver. But, she has Curtis now to help her out, and he will be actively helping her look for Ray.
– Paul reported that Quentin is over Dinah (Alex Kingston), which means his heart could be open to Donna … (Paul really loves the idea of this pairing, whether or not it’s actually happening on the show).
– Stephen teased the cat-and-mouse game between Oliver and Damien Darhk that will continue throughout the season (also between Green Arrow and Damien), although Neal suggested the battle is on a more epic scale: “It’s more elephant-and-lion.”
– Oliver will use some personal secrets to come after Damien (so it seems that Damien has a personal life), but in return, Damien will “take things” from Oliver (leading to the grave?!)
– Neal said his favorite part of playing Damien is just being able to dress in snazzy suits and mess with people on these shows, especially The Flash (so yes, he will be interacting with that cast, probably during the crossovers).
– Neal also said he enjoys bringing levity to his role as the bad guy, which he doesn’t often get to do. The hope is that fans will say, “That was so funny how he killed that person … wait no, that’s really sick.”
– Emily added that Damien “has so much power” and is “willing to kill anyone.”
– Neal went on to say that the show gets “fresher, crazier, and more beautiful with each episode.”
– As far as his super powers, there will be more of an exploration of Damien’s abilities, especially as Oliver continues to push him.
– The H.I.V.E. network will continue to grow as Damien recruits more and more.
– Neal also confirmed Damien will also appear on Legends of Tomorrow, which means Damien will definitely be around for awhile.
– The political plot will galvanize Oliver’s relationship with Felicity, (Emily said Felicity supports him “unconditionally”), but also with Thea, who gets involved in his campaign after first seeming to think it’s a bit of a joke.
– Oliver stepping into the light like this though also puts him in Damien’s crosshairs, because as Neal said, “He loves it at first because he thinks he can use Oliver as his pawn. We find out rather quickly that that pawn is not for sale, and it certainly sets me off and makes me do some really horribly things.”
– Paul teased that Lance feels a fatherly pride towards Oliver regarding his bid for mayor, since he’s “stepping into the light and doing it for real now.”
– Stephen said the crossover this year is completely connected — Flash will mostly be in Star City, and Arrow will mostly be in Central City. Also this year they’ll face a common villain (so you can’t just watch the one crossover for your favorite show if you’re not a fan of both, you’ll need to watch both for continuity).
– Stephen teased the scope of the crossover by saying that at one point, there are nine super-powered people in one scene.
– As far as the return of Constantine goes, Stephen said it was a “nice ending” for him (no word on whether he might be back later, though).
– Lance is not a part of the crossover episode … yet.
– Costuming note: The idea for the lack of sleeves on the new costume was Stephen’s idea, but in the overall redesign they decided to keep the mask because it was a gift from Barry (d’aww).
– Stephen loved the flash-forward at the end of the Season 4 premiere, and that it “floored” him. He said he’s a huge fan of Lost, so he loved the time-jump tease.
– When asked if Paul is afraid that Lance will be the one in the grave, he said he just takes it one season at a time.
– Emily teased that the cast is constantly theorizing who is in the grave, and everyone thinks it could be them.
– Stephen said he has his own theories, though of course he wouldn’t share. He did go on to say though that, “You can kill off anyone. Modern television has proven to us that you can literally kill off anyone.”
– Stephen notably said that Vandal Savage is a “spectacular” character.
– Paul mentioned that the production allows him to have a little wooden elephant on Lance’s desk, as part of his “Poach Eggs Not Elephants” campaign.
– Someone noted Lance has a commendation from his time in the Fresno P.D. hanging in his office on set, and he said that it should be a prequel spin-off: Lance.
– Comic book watchers: “Fair Play” is going to come up with Curtis this season.
– Curtis will also be getting more action, and will get to do more with Team Arrow (and possibly be involved in Oliver’s campaign, like just about everyone else).
– Echo loves Diggle, and enjoys sharing scenes with David Ramsey (which is a common refrain from the cast of both The Flash and Arrow — everyone loves Diggle!)
– James Bamford (the show’s fight coordinator) directed Episode 7 this season, “Brotherhood,” so expect it to be more badass than usual.
– Bamford said he focuses more on practical technique first rather than dance choreography when setting up his fight sequences.
– Bamford also talked about the evolution of Thea as a fighter, and the specifics of her fight sequences, like making them short and fast (to go with her being Speedy), and also giving her more kicks rather than punches because of her size — she can do more damage that way.
– And speaking of which, this year, the show will go back to more stunts and big fights like in earlier seasons.
Arrow airs Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. on the CW; check out all of Dave’s episode recaps here.