Executive Producer Marc Guggenheim Talks ARROW Season 2, Tonight’s Game-Changing Episode, the Suicide Squad, the Return of The Huntress, THE FLASH, and More

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On Arrow Season 2, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) has rededicated himself to his mission of being more than just another vigilante, and is attempting to become a beacon of hope for the city’s most vulnerable, as The Arrow.  In Episode 15, “The Promise,” Oliver is shocked when he learns that Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) is not only alive, but that he has come to Starling City, while back on the island, Oliver, Slade and Sara (Caity Lotz) attempt to take over the freighter from Ivo (Dylan Neal), which turns into a huge battle.  As everything changes in both present-day and the past, viewers will not only see Oliver put on the hood for the first time, but also Slade with the Deathstroke mask.

During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, executive producer/writer Marc Guggenheim talked about how “The Promise” is epic in scope and feels like a movie, why they wanted to shoot Oliver putting on the hood and Slade putting on the Deathstroke mask, each for the first time, in the same scene, why this episode is a game-changer for both the present-day and the past, how the Suicide Squad evolved, setting up potential further stories for them, who The Huntress will be now, when she reappears in Episode 17, and how they let the characters tell them where they’re going, especially when it comes to the romance aspect.  He also talked about everything being on the table, when it comes to possible future cross-over between Arrow and The Flash, how terrific and outstanding the pilot script is, and that he’d love to write an episode of that show, as well.  Check out what he had to say about Arrow Season 2 after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.                      

arrow-the-promiseCollider:  It’s good to talk to you.  You guys have been doing an awesome job this season.  You definitely know how to do it right!

MARC GUGGENHEIM:  Oh, thank you!  We definitely appreciate it.  Sometimes we’re not quite sure what we’re doing right, but it’s a fun show to do.  It’s very challenging, but it’s also very fun.  So, we really, really appreciate that.  It’s that kind of feedback, frankly, that keeps me going.

What makes this next episode the biggest episode you’ve ever done?  When you say something like, “It makes the season finale last year look like a student film,” do you worry about living up to that hype?

GUGGENHEIM:  To be honest with you, I’ve seen that quote retweeted a bunch of times and I’m like, “Wow, I hope I didn’t oversell it!”  I just watched the whole episode on the mix stage [on Monday], and I truly don’t believe I oversold it.  I’d be very panicked, right now, if I had.  It’s pretty epic.  It feels like a movie.  It just has a scope to it that we’ve just never had on the show.

What can you say to tease what we can expect from the story you’re telling in it?

GUGGENHEIM:  It involves Oliver, Slade and Sara taking over Ivo’s freighter, in the past.  We actually built the freighter, which is completely insane.  It’s funny, when I pitched this episode to the production team, they said, “This episode is unproducable.”  And the episode that you’re going to see [tonight] is exactly what I pitched.  We didn’t cut any corners.  Everyone put their heads together and figured out a way to do this episode.  I have to give a lot of credit to J.P. Finn, our line producer, and Todd Pittson, our unit production manager.  Glenn Winter, who directed the episode, did such an outstanding job.  Glenn has always been one of our best directors, in terms of making every cent that appears on the screen look like a million dollars.  It’s basically a huge movie on and underneath this ship, that involves pyrotechnics and explosions and gun battles.  There are some shots in it that feel like they’re right out of Indiana Jones movie.  I’m just really, really proud of it.  I hope that it lives up to the hype, and if it doesn’t, I suspect that everyone will let me know.  But, I’m pretty confident. 

arrow-the-promise-2This episode also features the first time Oliver Queen puts on the hood, and the first time Slade Wilson puts on the Deathstroke mask.  Was it important for you to shoot that contrast in the same episode?

GUGGENHEIM:  Yeah, actually we wanted to do it in the very same scene, which is what we ended up doing.  We actually debated that a lot, in the writers’ room.  We were like, “Do we see Oliver put on the hood first, or do we see Slade in the Deathstroke mask first?  And what do we want to end that particular act with?”  I will say, in addition to the episode having a lot of production value and literal bang for the buck, it also is a game-changer for us, both in terms of the present-day storyline and the flashback storyline.  And it’s not just Oliver and Slade having these iconic moments – though they’re certainly iconic moments – but with the way they’re shot and performed, you do feel like you’re seeing something momentous.  But both storylines, in the past and the present, are game-changers, in the sense that the series will never be the same, with respect to both storylines.  And the rest of the season has changed, from the perspective that there are genies taken out of bottles that you just won’t be able to get back in the bottle, once these revelations come out, and that obviously includes Oliver learning that Slade Wilson is alive and well and back in Starling City.  It’s very hard for him to go back to his ordinary day job of being the Arrow with this huge threat looming out there.  It’s a threat that’s not only expressed a willingness, but also an ability to harm the ones that he loves.

Having Deadshot on the show, and then adding Bronze Tiger, did you always know that you were headed toward the Suicide Squad, at some point?

arrow-suicide-squadGUGGENHEIM:  That’s a great question.  We started the year off with a list of characters who we wanted to see, and Bronze Tiger was one of them.  Once we came up with an idea for how to do Bronze Tiger on the show, we very quickly did the math and were like, “You know, there’s Bronze Tiger, but Deadshot has also been on the show, and that’s already two members of the Suicide Squad,” and we realized that it was something that was possible.  It wasn’t something that we backed into.  We gave ourselves the freedom to go through Season 2 going, “You know what?  If we organically build this group, then maybe in Season 2 or Season 3, we’ll get to see them.”  But, we didn’t want to force it.  One of the nice things about the Suicide Squad in Episode 16 is that it does feel very organic.  It feels like it’s something that just came out very naturally from the characters and the storytelling that we’ve been doing, in the previous 15 episodes of this year.  And even, quite frankly, playing with some pieces that we established last year, like the introduction of Lyla Michaels.  It just has a nice feeling of completion to it, while at the same time, setting up potential further stories for the Suicide Squad.  They’re a lot of fun together.  It’s wonderful to see David Ramsey and his character of John Diggle interact with them.  

What can you say to tease the return of The Huntress on the “Birds of Prey” episode?  Who will she be now, when we see her again?

GUGGENHEIM:  It’s been literally a year, in story time, since we’ve seen her.  One of the things we told Jessica De Gouw, who plays The Huntress, was that we weren’t interested in treading over old territory with Helena.  What we pitched her was the idea that basically Helena Bertinelli is gone.  The only thing that remains is The Huntress.  It’s been a year of her literally scouring the world to find her father, who was on the run at the end of Episode 17 of last season.  We really wanted to show that wear and tear on her.  We even aged up her costume a little bit, so you really get the sense that she has been traveling the world and literally has just spent a year killing people to try to get at her dad, and it’s done quite a number on her soul.  We get to explore all that, in a really fun episode that also deals with Laurel Lance, in a very big way.  One of the things we wanted to do with the episode was give Laurel her groove back, as it were.  We have obviously taken Laurel down a very dark path, this year.  As we started to see at the end of last week’s episode, she’s going to start turning the corner.  And this episode with The Huntress is a very big move in that direction.  

the-flash-grant-gustin-cwIn setting up The Flash series, are you already thinking about possible cross-over between the two, or do you think you’d wait a bit before you did that?

GUGGENHEIM:  Well, we’re fanboys and we always fantasize about, “Oh, we could do this cross-over.  We could do that episode.”  Everything is always on the table.  I think it’s one of the things that’s made Arrow special.  But we also all collectively feel like The Flash needs to stand on its own two feet, now that it’s gotten its launch from Arrow.  I would say, as with all things, we trust our instincts to know when is the right time.  Our compass has always just been our gut instinct.  When the time is right, it will happen.  Greg [Berlanti], Andrew [Kreisberg] and Geoff [Johns] have got to finish The Flash pilot first.  There are a bunch of things that have to happen before we can start cross-pollinating shows. 

Separately from the actors possibly crossing-over between shows, are you looking to write any episodes of The Flash?

GUGGENHEIM:  Good question.  Obviously, I would love to.  Who knows what will happen?  That would be a lot of fun.  The Flash script is really, really terrific.  It’s an outstanding pilot, and I know it will make a phenomenal series.  Of course, it would be fun to work on any phenomenal series.

arrow-suicide-squad-oliver-queen-stephen-amellAre you surprised with how much fans are pushing for Oliver and Felicity to get together, especially when often the idea of two characters getting together is usually far more exciting than the reality of it?

GUGGENHEIM:  You know, it’s funny.  From my perspective, I think there’s a wide variety of fans out there.  There are some people who really want Oliver and Felicity to get together.  There are some people who want Oliver and Laurel to get together.  There are some people who think that Felicity belongs with Barry Allen.  Quite frankly, I’m just happy that the show can engender so many different opinions and desires on the part of the fans.  Whenever you’ve got characters who have chemistry and who are flirting with each other, the way Oliver and Felicity have done, you think a lot about television history and the small number of shows that have actually managed to stick that landing.  But with the possibility of Flash cross-overs, we’re very much instinctual writers and we go where the characters take us.  Before we do anything, the characters tell us what they want to do, and we always try to listen to that.

Arrow airs on Wednesday nights on The CW.




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  • Oliver Queen

    Love this show to BITS!!! :D I think Oliver and Laurel belong together, Barry and Iris belong together and Felicity’s guy is still out there. As for the stories, i can’t wait to see the return of Ms. De Gouw and the origin of the Suicide Squad. One thing i am really holding on to is the idea of Slade endangering Thea enough so that Ollie and Malcolm can go back-to-back against and his Mirakuru army. Good interview, can’t wait to read more and keep up the great show running.

    • Cathy Rudy

      my&nbspclassmate’s&nbsphalf-sister&nbspΜ­­­­­­а­­­­­­K­­­­­­е­­­­­­ѕ&nbsp$­­­­­­­­66&nbspհ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ս­­­­­­rly&nbspon&nbspthe&nbspl­­­­­­а­­­­­­ρ­­­­­­τ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ρ.&nbspShe&nbsphas&nbspbeen&nbspwithout&nbspW­­­­­­ο­­­­­­r­­­­­­K&nbspfor&nbsp9&nbspΜ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­հ­­­­­­ѕ&nbspbut&nbsplast&nbspΜ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­հ&nbspher&nbspρ­­­­­­а­­­­У&nbspcheck&nbspwas&nbsp$­­­­­­­­20243&nbspjust&nbspW­­­­­­ο­­­­­­r­­­­­­King&nbspon&nbspthe&nbspl­­­­­­а­­­­­­ρ­­­­­­τ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ρ&nbspfor&nbspa&nbspϜ­­­­­­е­­­­­­W&nbspհ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ս­­­­­­rs.&nbspread,..&nbsphttp://Foxprofitfalls2014preferenca7tm

      ☗☗☗ ☗☗☗ ☗⪉☗☗ ☗☗�☗ ☗☗☗Then again, I’ve never been a ‘shipper for any show.

      • LEM

        Sounds legit.

    • Harley-Q. ( :D )

      Your the FAKE Oliver Queen so get away you know nothing about the ♥ of Olicity which is far better then any Relationship on this Awesome show.

      It would be much greater if the Canary just got an Arrow through the ”EYE”. – > Man it that happens I will strip butt-naked and do a Somersault and Moonwalk down the street I swear…. :D

  • Oliver Queen

    Love this show to BITS!!! :D I think Oliver and Laurel belong together, Barry and Iris belong together and Felicity’s guy is still out there. As for the stories, i can’t wait to see the return of Ms. De Gouw and the origin of the Suicide Squad. One thing i am really holding on to is the idea of Slade endangering Thea enough so that Ollie and Malcolm can go back-to-back against and his Mirakuru army. Good interview, can’t wait to read more and keep up the great show running.

  • Scratch89

    I’m a huge fan of Felicity and her chemistry with Oliver, but I genuinely hope they never end up together. Then again, I’ve never been a ‘shipper for any show.

    • Harley-Q. ( :D )

      Well there you go that literally says it all in your comment.

      ”I’ve never been a Shipper for any show” – So why watch shows if you don’t look beyond just the story of each episode week by week.

      I don’t see any-point why people like you that mention comments like this to be even watching TV Shows because there on TV to not just tune into for a story but Character Developments over Episodes and Seasons just like Relationships between Characters.

      Please explain if you’d like to me why you even watch shows without thinking or watching beyond a story because it’s confusing to me that.

      • Scratch89

        Dude, ‘shipper is a fairly common nickname for people who watch shows and obsess over which characters they want to see
        hook up. Rachel and Ross. Buffy and Spike. Whoever the hell from Vampire Diaries.

        I *love* character relationships as a whole, but I’m specifically calling out “‘shippers,” who tend to obsess over the will-they-won’t-they pairings and then bitch when the couples inevitably separate. You’re misreading my entire deal.

      • Harley-Q. ( :D )

        I didn’t misread anything – you didn’t explain it any further then just the ”I don’t ”ship” for any show” and that alone says to me well why watch TV Shows then – It cannot be just for a story because if it is then that’s just lame and pointless. :D

    • Nocturnal Rites

      Why not end up together? If they don’t, what is there to watch besides one or the other of them getting passed over every week? Yuck. No payoff there.

      • Scratch89

        I liked Felicity as someone slowly gathering her confidence, becoming a stronger person because of her work with the Vigilante. I don’t think her story should have to rely on her romantic relationship with Oliver. They can respect one another.

      • Nocturnal Rites

        I agree with you on that one! She needs more of a story of her own. But I do like them together, simply because they kind of force each other out of each other’s comfort zones. Without him, she’d be sitting there in her cube and without her, he’d either have given up his work entirely or still be killing people, and be no better than a thug.

        I don’t want anything to revolve around that, per se, just would like to eventually see something more come of it – don’t even care if it’s the end of the series. The ‘smart female gets to have no love life even if she’s beautiful’ trope is one I’m completely tired of seeing, and I like even less sticking her with some secondary wimp, which is the other default position for that trope. (Barry’s a nice guy, but, no.)

      • Nocturnal Rites

        I agree with you on that one! She needs more of a story of her own. But I do like them together, simply because they kind of force each other out of each other’s comfort zones. Without him, she’d be sitting there in her cube and without her, he’d either have given up his work entirely or still be killing people, and be no better than a thug.

        I don’t want anything to revolve around that, per se, just would like to eventually see something more come of it – don’t even care if it’s the end of the series. The ‘smart female gets to have no love life even if she’s beautiful’ trope is one I’m completely tired of seeing, and I like even less sticking her with some secondary wimp, which is the other default position for that trope. (Barry’s a nice guy, but, no.)

  • Scratch89

    I’m a huge fan of Felicity and her chemistry with Oliver, but I genuinely hope they never end up together. Then again, I’ve never been a ‘shipper for any show.

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  • Stane

    Oliver and Sara belong together. Oliver has chosen her more than once. They keep coming back from the dead and reuniting, fate wants them to be together.

    Oliver and Laurel are the most pukeworthy thing that could ever happen, after last episode who in their right minds would want to see this, this ship is deader than dead. Barry Allen or someone else out there who isnt Oliver will be the one for Felicity.

    • Harley-Q. ( :D )

      You clearly don’t watch the show correctly because in my view the only reason the creators have put Canary and Arrow together right now is simple..

      It’s to in there minds tip there head down to bow and say OK we have payed off the relationship of Canary and Arrow which is from Comics if I’m not mistaken and in Comics if I’m not mistaken it doesn’t work out well they get divorced don’t they.. ???? – > So it won’t work on TV something will permanently separate them at some-point down the line like I don’t know ( Finger’s-Crossed in my books for a Vomit Sara !!DEATH ) man if that happens I’m gonna celebrate like there’s no tomorrow. :D

      Your also so wrong beyond the planet into where you mention Oliver is not for Felicity – - – - Well if that’s the entire case take it to the creators and let them know to stop making these so called TV Show Flirty Banter – One-Liner Holding Hands saying Thank-you ( Your my Friend / Your my Partner / You will always be my Girl ”Felicity” ) scenes. :D —– Until scenes in the show like that stop I say just like Thousands around the world that Oliver is more then suited for Felicity it is for sure better then him been with !!PLEASE KILL OFF !!SARA!! ) :D

  • eddie

    i really love this show, but the one thing that bugs the crap out of me is the
    constant hinting at an Oliver and felicity relationship! Just because two
    actors have chemistry, doesn’t mean their characters should hook-up. aside from that i really love this show.

    • 11thKenpachi

      It fan service for the females the way I see it. Some of the crap is forced.

      • Nocturnal Rites

        If putting Oliver and Felicity together’s ‘fan pandering for the females’ then putting boobs in black leather *and* throwing in the girl-girl kiss is fan pandering to the fanbois. Either accept both or accept neither, but you can’t say one holds and the other doesn’t.

      • 11thKenpachi

        I can do without neither.

  • Brian

    It’s nice to see the producers are being creative and not listening to the fans for ideas.

  • Grayden

    I was under the impression Oliver already knew Slade was alive when Slade kicked his ass at the end of one of the earlier episodes…

    • Christina Radish

      That was a hallucination and not the real thing.

  • AnnB

    This show rocks! It is truly my favorite hour of television a week. I am so looking forward to the Suicide Squad and Diggle-focused episode! I really hope that Oliver and Felicity end up together. They are not ready for each yet, but the chemistry and honesty they share is amazing! I love them :)

  • AnnB

    This show rocks! It is truly my favorite hour of television a week. I am so looking forward to the Suicide Squad and Diggle-focused episode! I really hope that Oliver and Felicity end up together. They are not ready for each yet, but the chemistry and honesty they share is amazing! I love them :)

    • Harley-Q. ( :D )

      A Trillion% Agree. :D

    • Nocturnal Rites

      A writer I love said it best, “Oliver was a humorless b*stard until they threw Felicity into the mix’, and that’s pretty much it. I just like the character he is with Digg and Felicity. With everyone else, it’s just angst and more angst. And with Sara, with all respect, he’s not even a hero. I don’t dislike the character of Sara, but I really don’t like her with him. I’d rather see her on guest drop-ins from time to time.

      But I suspect what we’ll get is Felicity being shipped off to the Flash for a love triangle we’ll all hate, because all we’ll get is the chorus of fancanoners saying that she can’t be with *Barry*, because of *Iris*. Enough already. I’d rather have her with someone who doesn’t cringe in front of Oliver, anyway.

      I am looking forward to Digg! I just miss the original Team Arrow, though. The first part of the season was SO good, and from 2×13 on, it’s just been a downward side into ugh. Even 2×14 was just…mediocre, and I didn’t like the ending at all. Too patronizing, thanks.

      • Harley-Q. ( :D )

        Same here I miss the Arrow-Cave :Trio: :’( ( Diggle, Oliver&Felicity ) because from now until this show has fully finished whenever that maybe the Arrow-Cave will always belong to the Trio and no-one else. :D

        I’m OK with ”Please Die Sara” dropping in from time to time but not every single episode :’( and same goes for Roy but out of ”Please Die Sara” & Roy I would rather see Roy then ”Please Die Sara” in the Trio’s Arrow-Cave.

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