12:31pm PT by Aaron Couch
'Arrow' Star: Oliver's Death Prompts Team to Step "Into Leading Roles"
The heroes and villains of The CW universe assembled Sunday to reveal clues about Arrow and The Flash.
Arrow shocked fans by killing off Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) in the midseason finale, a move that will allow other characters to step forward in a big way, Amell said at the Television Critics Association winter press tour.
See highlights of the panel, divided by show.
"I personally … love when there is adversity for the protagonist and when we give other characters on the show [the chance] to acquit themselves and come more into leading roles," said Amell. "We are 50-plus episodes in the show. If we don't give other characters the opportunity to shoulder the load, then we give viewers nothing to attach them to."
Laurel (Katie Cassidy) will take the mantle of Black Canary, which has been the plan since before the pilot was shot.
"I've been waiting for this to happen and am obviously very excited and thrilled about it," Cassidy said. "She goes from avenging her sister, to honoring her sister, to becoming her sister.”
Diggle (David Ramsey) will have to assume a leadership role in Oliver's absence, but does that mean a mask for him? Ramsey said he and the producers are discussing it, but he's hesitant to give Diggle a mask, saying his appeal is that he is a well-adjusted everyman.
"You don't want a mask to take that away from you," Ramsey said.
Executive producer Marc Guggenheim said the growing array of masks was not something Oliver foresaw happening, and changes the dynamic of the show.
"Oliver started off as one man. He never envisioned all of these characters being part of that plan," said Guggenheim. "What he's experienced this year is seeing the crusade grow beyond him."
After some hemming and hawing, Tom Cavanagh (Dr. Wells) confirmed that yes, he is indeed Reverse-Flash, while executive producer Andrew Kreisberg teased a tie between the villain and Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett).
"Eddie's connection to the Reverse-Flash lore is going to pay off big time in the back half of the year," Kreisberg said, referring to the character's comic book history.
Guggenheim fielded a question about Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) potentially moving to Central City, neither confirming nor denying it by saying "Ray is on a slightly different track than the other heroes." He did note the character's close ties to Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), which would suggest he's staying put. (He could even be getting his own show.)
Grant Gustin (Barry Allen) addressed the differences between playing his character on Arrow before getting his own show, saying there was less pressure as a guest star, but Barry is the same Barry no matter what.
"I've been playing superhero since I was a kid," Gustin said. "As an actor what I always try to find first is my truth in that scene.”
The Flash returns Jan. 20 and Arrow returns Jan. 21.