On October 14, The CW hosted an event for the launch of its new fall season, which also showcased Shethority, an online collective that provides a positive space for all women to discuss the unique challenges of the female experience in today’s world, and debuted the #CWOpenToAll initiative that reinforces the network’s commitment to inclusion and representation.
Collider was invited to hang out on the red carpet to chat with the arriving talent, where we got a few minutes to get some scoop from Arrow co-stars Juliana Harkavy and Rick Gonzalez. During the interview, they talked about Dinah’s journey this season, Rene having to find his place now, what’s been going on in the five months since we last saw these characters, the tension among Team Arrow, and what it’s been like to have executive producer/writer Beth Schwartz step up as showrunner for Season 7.
Collider: What can you say about where Dinah is at, this season, and how did you feel when you found out what her journey would be?
JULIANA HARKAVY: I was excited because I think it’s so important to build on these characters, to give them layers, and to give their stories a lot of movement. There are so many episodes and there is so much story to tell, so it’s a great step for her. It’s not necessarily where she wanted to be, but I like that she’s in that place because now she has to think and be resourceful.
How will Rene be dealing with figuring out what his place is now, with Oliver in prison and a new Green Arrow vigilante in town?
RICK GONZALEZ: It makes him feel like, maybe I should be pushing the envelope and continuing to be in a place of vigilantism. I think the stance is, if I do that, then I go to jail and I jeopardize being a dad for my daughter. But what makes Rene, Rene is being someone who says, “I can go around the rules, as long as I’m doing what I feel in my heart.” Those are the normal dilemmas for Rene. He’s like, do I do the right thing, or do I just say F it and do what I feel in my heart? Those are the questions we’ll probably see Rene ask this year.
Because five months have passed since we last saw these characters, what has Rene been up to, in that time?
GONZALEZ: He’s been a dad. He’s been saving the day, every day, with every lunch that he makes. It’s also very interesting having Rene domesticating himself and having his life slow down. They couldn’t get Diaz. Diaz went into hiding and Oliver is in prison. They’re biding time and waiting to see what the next move is. They’ve just gotta wait and figure things out. I think it would be cool to see Rene just being a dad and hanging out with Zoe, taking her to school and making lunches, and being a part of the neighborhood he grew up in and seeing how he can help there. Figuring out how they can help is what makes these characters tick.
Do you think Rene ever considered going to work at Argus with Diggle and Curtis?
GONZALEZ: Oh, no. He [punched the clock] for awhile at City Hall. Working with Lance was his way of giving that a shot. I do think Rene is either a person who has big ideas and wants to control the narrative, or is somebody who just does it on his own. Although he’ll force himself to be administrative when he needs to be, I think he sees himself in the pilot seat.
At least right now, Dinah seems confident in the choice that she’s made. Is that something that she’ll start to regret or question?
HARKAVY: Dinah has this urge to provide justice and to be a hero, but I don’t know if the SCPD on its own is gonna cut it. I think she’s gonna miss being in that suit.
Her decision to enforce the law is putting her at odds with Rene. Will there continue to be tension between them?
HARKAVY: Because the hierarchy has changed and Oliver is not there anymore, all of their relationships are shifting, and there’s extra stress and tension on the whole team. That’s probably going to ebb and flow everybody’s relationships. They’re gonna have to work through some conflict because they don’t really have a solid team anymore, and their leader is not there.
How will that dynamic continue to play out?
GONZALEZ: They both have opposing ideas on how to help the city. Dinah’s takes a really important role that she decides is gonna be the best way for her to help the city, and she wants Rene to also follow in those footsteps. They want to help in different ways, and those ways clash. I think they love each other, and they’re like brother and sister, but they’re very passionate. The fireworks are gonna fly.
Juliana, as a female in a still predominantly male industry, when did you start to feel like you had a voice and that your voice was being heard?
HARKAVY: I’ve never felt more supported, as a woman in this industry, than I have on this job. I’ve been very blessed to have an incredible experience with all of these women, playing heroes together. I feel like we’ve really created this chain of strength and power, and we’re using our voices. On this show, Dinah, or Black Canary, has this incredibly powerful sonic cry, and even the ability to do that is so liberating. All of those years of just being quiet and pent up, it all goes on this show. You’re just free. It’s been really incredible.
It’s one thing to find your voice, but it’s another thing to actually be confident in that voice.
HARKAVY: I hate to sound like, in order to be strong or powerful, you have to speak up. I think you can be strong and powerful by just sticking true to what you believe, being true to yourself, and being unafraid. There are so many ways to be a powerful woman, to have your voice heard, and to make an impact.
What’s it been like to have Beth Schwartz step up as showrunner, for Season 7?
HARKAVY: It’s been lovely. It’s always been very nice experience, but there’s definitely been this shift with Beth. As a woman, I feel very connected to her, so it provides this safe space that’s just a blessing to have at work.
GONZALEZ: It’s amazing! Season 7 is a transitional year for us, and having her as a part of our show, coming in as showrunner, she brings this energy that I think are powerful for the show. Her ideas are also powerful for the show. She embodies a spirit that welcomes everyone and that empowers women. That energy is awesome to be around. I think she’s such a talented writer that her work screams off the pages for us. I’m biased to Season 5 ‘cause that’s when I first came in, but after reading the first 10 episodes of this season, I’m like, “Okay, this might give Season 5 a run for its money.” I just think the energy that Beth is bringing to the show is pushing the envelope. It’s something that the show probably always needed. When you get to Season 7, you need to go outside the box, and not too far, but you need to find a way to keep the audience engaged, and she does that effortlessly. We’re very blessed and lucky to have her come on board and inject the energy that we needed, story wise.
This season feels very visceral.
GONZALEZ: Yes, exactly! Even Marc Guggenheim and Wendy Mericle will tell you that there’s an energy that Beth brings that’s like, “Wow!” Passing the baton made a whole lot of sense because the show needs that. Time reveals what you need, and we welcomed it. All of the actors are like, “Wow, okay, this is where we’re headed, and I like it.” It’s interesting to be in that position, and I’m excited.
Arrow airs on Monday nights on The CW.