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Picking up months after the finale, the premiere addresses Oliver’s “I love you” to Felicity Smoak by putting them in a less professional, more romantic setting: a date. Let’s just say it goes “horribly” awry. Arrow and The Flash executive producer Greg Berlanti promises that while Oliver and Felicity’s progression as a pair may be exciting for a portion of the fans, it won’t dominate the season.
“None of us like to throw stuff out there and then not deal with it in some way. It doesn’t mean it occupies the story and that’s all we deal with, but you want to be fair to the audience,” Berlanti tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Charting that particular relationship has been “something that we’ve been working toward and building toward since she first showed up on the show,” he says. “We deal with it head-on in the premiere, but there aren’t a lot of superheroes who are married. It’s more that we’re dealing with the finale than we are with them.”
While superheroes tend not to have spouses, a few have gotten hitched (though not always permanently, as is often the case with comic lore). The Avengers had a married couple with the Vision and the Scarlet Witch, while Peter Parker was married to Mary Jane Watson for decades, as were Clark Kent and Lois Lane. In the Green Arrow comic-book mythology , Oliver and Laurel do eventually marry.
With two seasons behind it, Arrow has started to embrace humor, albeit in small spurts — something that would not have happened in its rookie year. “There’s more of that [humor] throughout,” Berlanti says of Oliver’s change in demeanor in the new episodes. “He doesn’t have Slade hunting him anymore. Things are in a happy place for everybody.”
But not for long.
Prominent DC villain Ra’s al Ghul (Riddick‘s Matt Nable) casts a dark shadow on Starling City starting in episode four.
“There are some great twists and turns in terms of what their dynamic is,” hints Berlanti of Ra’s and Oliver, only to say that Ra’s is “looming” in the background at the start of the season. “We try with the big bads to make every season feel different and for them to be reflective of what we want to put the hero through and characters through.”
Berlanti didn’t divulge much about Thea’s reinvention, coupled with new love interest Chase (The Carrie Diaries’ Austin Butler), a DJ whom she first meets through work. “A lot of secrets with Thea,” says Berlanti, highlighting the scenes between Thea and her father, Malcolm, as being particularly “great.” One of the trailers showed a brief glimpse of Thea training to become a possible killing machine — a sign of a tougher, meaner Queen to come. “You’ll see more of that,” Berlanti promises. “It’s a great twosome to watch onscreen.”
Is Thea well on her way to becoming Speedy? Berlanti was mum: “She went away to become someone else. The question is, did she?”
Arrow returns Oct. 8 on The CW.
Sept. 9, 8:02 a.m. Story updated with additional information.
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