Because they knew everyone’s jaw would be on the floor, by the end of Episode 315 (read Dave’s full recap right here), executive producers Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim screened tonight’s Arrow episode early, at the offices of The CW, to talk about the fall-out and what comes next. No matter how it all ultimately plays out, the ramifications will affect everyone in Starling City.
During this interview with a handful of online outlets, Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim talked about how soon we’ll learn about Oliver Queen’s (Stephen Amell) reaction to Ra’s al Ghul’s (Matt Nable) proposition, how Nyssa (Katrina Law) feels about the situation, whether we might ever see Talia al Ghul, what’s to come for Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), and where Thea (Willa Holland) goes from here. Be aware that there are major spoilers discussed.
MARC GUGGENHEIM: It picks up literally 10 seconds before the end of this episode. We do one of our direct pick-ups. We catch you up a little bit, and then bring you straight into Episode 16, like the way we did 202 and 203, last year. You want to keep that conversation going.
ANDREW KREISBERG: Obviously, Oliver is, as hopefully the audience is, taken aback. He was not expecting that to be the case. It was important to have a different villain this year, and somebody who was going to be doing something completely different. In Season 1, we had the incomparable John Barrowman, who had his mission. And in Season 2, Slade’s mission was one of vengeance. In Season 3, Ra’s was presented as this giant malevolent force, and then basically offers up the keys to the kingdom to our hero. That just felt like such a different way to go, and a different relationship for Oliver to have with the villain. The next episode is actually called “The Offer,” and what Oliver’s reaction to Ra’s offer is, what Nyssa’s reaction to it is, and what everyone’s reaction to it is, makes up the bulk of the next run of episodes, as far as what his answer is and what that prompts all of the other characters to do.
And Nyssa had no idea that this would happen?
KREISBERG: Nyssa is the heir to the demon, so you can imagine what she feels when she finds out that what she considers to be her birthright is handed to Oliver.
GUGGENHEIM: There is a scene in Episode 16 between Nyssa and Ra’s that definitely addresses that. From Nyssa’s perspective, it has everything to do with Sara. From Ra’s perspective, maybe or maybe not.
Are we going to learn about Talia’s reaction to any of this, at any point?
KREISBERG: We haven’t made any firm decisions about whether Talia exists in our continuity. We are so happy with Katrina [Law] and Nyssa. If we ever think of a reason to have a Talia, in whatever incarnation we decide to do, it would be in service of furthering Nyssa’s story.
This whole time, they’ve had to work with Malcolm Merlyn because Ra’s was coming for them, but now he’s not. Is Malcolm in a bad place, now that no one has a reason to work with him?
KREISBERG: Part of it is how it lays out for the rest of the year. It’s about what Oliver is willing to do to end the threat of the League of Assassins. And now, it’s a different kind of threat because they’re asking him to join up. As Malcolm tells him in the next episode, he’s not really asking. That leads to all sorts of interesting combinations and new paradigms. The most fun for us, just doing the show in general, is when we pair new people up who haven’t previously been together. So much of the fun of writing this season has been John [Barrowman] and Willa [Holland] together, and even John and Katie [Cassidy], in this last episode. Watching Laurel, with more verve than skill, think that she can take on Malcolm is just another example that she’s just not the Black Canary yet. Sara might have gotten Malcolm, but there’s no way Laurel can. But she gets knocked down, and then gets back up again. That’s what we really love about Laurel. And you’ll see the relationship between Laurel and Nyssa form, in coming episodes. Just because the death threat to Malcolm is gone, it does not mean he’s out of the equation.
GUGGENHEIM: It was all Andrew’s idea!
KREISBERG: We often talk about what life would be like if Twitter had existed, back in the days of Cheers or Moonlighting. Part of the fun of watching couples on television is keeping them apart and watching hot other people come in and out of their lives. There are a lot of people who believe Oliver and Laurel should be together, and that Oliver and Felicity should be together. We’re not sure how it’s all going to end up. We just do what’s right, at the time. And for right now, Oliver has decided that he can’t do this, and Felicity is not just going to sit around waiting for him. She’s probably the most healthy of all of them. He’s the one who’s shutting himself down, emotionally, when he has this amazing person who’s basically offering him hope and guidance and friendship and love. He doesn’t feel he deserves it, and he doesn’t feel that that’s what’s best for her, whether she agrees with it or not. And then, you’ve got Ray, who has had a tragedy and he’s trying to do right by it, but he’s opening his heart to her. And he’s Brandon Routh. Can you blame her?
With all of her guilt and acting out, what can you say about where Thea goes from here?
GUGGENHEIM: Certainly, with Episode 15, that was Thea acting at her most impulsive. We’re working towards telling a different story with Thea. It’s not just always her acting out. She’s processing a huge amount of guilt and a huge amount of regret. At the end of 15, she’s essentially attempting suicide by Nyssa.
KREISBERG: Which is the best way to go!
GUGGENHEIM: If you’re gonna go, that is definitely how to do it! So, it’s a continuing progression. It’s not just going to be a repetition of her acting out. In Episode 16, she looks for closure in another way because Nyssa is not going to kill Thea.
KREISBERG: Or, is she?! We’re very kill happy producers!
Will Oliver Queen’s humanity prevent him from being Ra’s al Ghul?
GUGGENHEIM: Ra’s has an interesting perspective on that question, which you’ll get in the first act of Episode 316. One of the things that we reveal in 320 is where the name League of Assassins came from, and what it means to be an “assassin.” If you’re a historian, you’ll know that it has a different meaning than just what it’s become, in the modern day.
Arrow airs on Wednesday nights on The CW.