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[Warning: Spoilers ahead for season three of Arrow.]
Team Arrow hasn’t failed Starling City, but things are about to change.
When the action picks up again on Arrow, Oliver’s crew has become a well-oiled machine. There’s Felicity, supplementing her nonexistent Team Arrow income with a gig at a Buy More-esque electronics store. (Watch THR‘s exclusive scene from the premiere.) There’s Diggle, preparing for the arrival of his new baby with Lyla. And then there’s Roy, debuting his Arsenal suit as the Arrow’s rightful partner. With crime in Starling City steadily decreasing thanks to Team Arrow’s heroics (the Anti-Vigilante Task Force is even disbanded) and Slade Wilson’s lock-up, are they finally catching a break? And will Oliver and Felicity’s much-teased date and kiss go over well?
“This episode is a really good jumping-on point for new viewers. We closed a chapter at the end of season two and this is a brand-new opening,” said executive producer Marc Guggenheim of the Oct. 8 premiere, telling THR in July that season three’s main theme is identity. “It’s pretty new-viewer friendly. That wasn’t necessarily by design, it just happened to work out because of the story we were telling.”
That story begins with the return of a familiar villain, Count Vertigo (last played by Seth Gabel and this time portrayed by Peter Stormare), who injects his victims with the powerful Vertigo drug, which brings out their greatest fears. Oliver will be forced to face his own crutch in a tense showdown with the Count: himself. Can he be both the Arrow and Oliver Queen? From the looks of it, not likely.
“One of the things we wanted to do was reintroduce the concept of mystery to the show. We had that in season one with the glyph and the Undertaking and the list. The nature of season two moved us away from that because we had Slade Wilson and it was a much more up-front story of vengeance,” Guggenheim said. “With season three, we wanted to reintroduce some of those elements of mystery that make you go, ‘What’s going on there?’ ”
The Hollywood Reporter shares 10 things to know from the upcoming third season, with teases from Guggenheim.
1. What about that Oliver and Felicity kiss?
While early trailers featured Oliver and Felicity in a corridor (hint: they’re in a hospital) near-kiss, the two do lock lips in the premiere. But what leads up to that kiss is drama-filled. Guggenheim called their first date at an Italian restaurant “explosive” — and it literally is. As for the context of Oliver and Felicity’s first kiss, which comes after an intense exchange between the two, Guggenheim had this to say, “I’m very happy with the circumstances under which they have their first kiss. I hope it’s unexpected. I hope it plays as unexpected. I hope it plays as emotional.”
2. How does Ray Palmer’s entrance affect Oliver’s professional life?
Oliver will have a formidable foe in the person of Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), who first encounters Felicity at her day job and later becomes a serious bidder for/eventual new owner of Queen Consolidated — all of which was revealed in the July casting announcement. Ray’s presence lightens up the show considerably, and his intentions/end goal with Queen Consolidated, as well as Felicity (porcupine farts are involved), are unclear. “We know from past seasons that people in charge of Queen Consolidated aren’t always the best people,” Guggenheim hinted. “What Ray is planning and up to with his Star City campaign, and what he plans to do with the company will be one of those mysteries.”
3. What was the main reasoning for bringing in Ray Palmer?
Simple: The writers wanted to bring in a character Arrow hadn’t seen yet and was closer to the writers’ voices than say, a “taciturn” Oliver or the “man of few words” Diggle. “One thing we haven’t seen is someone who can play at Felicity’s level in terms of banter. We would always say we write her as if she came in from a different show, but the problem is, she doesn’t have anyone else to talk like that [with],” Guggenheim said. “You can’t write West Wing-y banter with Felicity because banter requires two people.” That’s where Ray Palmer comes in. “Ray is a joy to write for because his banter with Felicity is a lot of fun. It’s a quality of the show we’ve never seen before,” he added. “Ray’s either an interesting departure or an interesting twist.”
4. Will Ray Palmer be seen as the Atom?
Not so fast. When asked about the likelihood of Ray turning into his superhero alter ego, the Atom, Guggenheim seemed to shoot down that idea — at least in regards to Arrow. “Anything is possible. My instinct is if Ray Palmer is going to shrink, he’ll probably shrink on another show [The Flash],” he said. “With The Flash in existence, there’s no real compelling reason to do superpowers on Arrow because we can bring characters to Flash to have superpowers.” Guggenheim teased that they “have plans for Ray that don’t involve shrinking” and called them “cool.”
5. Are Oliver and Laurel in the best place they’ve ever been?
Now that Laurel knows of Oliver’s masked identity, the two have become a force to be reckoned with at the start of the season: The Arrow catches the bad guys, Laurel indicts them. Guggenheim referenced a moment in episode six where the history and backstory between the two is fully felt. “They were best friends; they were lovers; they were in love with each other and now they’re post-relationship — but there’s this history there that’s always going to follow them, and there’s always going to be a bond between the two of them,” he explained. “There’s a scene in episode six where there’s a really good example of that.”
6. Is Roy and Oliver’s team-up a preview of things to come?
For Guggenheim, integrating Roy into Team Arrow was an arc that first began back in season two’s “Tremors” episode. “We made a big deal about Roy joining the team [back then] and then didn’t get a chance to do that much with it because we were pushing a lot of other story,” he admitted, promising that Oliver and Roy’s “mentor-mentee, master-apprentice relationship” is “a big component of the [new] season.” “You really feel like Roy is a part of Team Arrow and it’s more than just wearing a costume. He’s really present and a member of the group — the trio becomes a quartet.” Guggenheim hinted that episode six — another Roy-centric hour — will have similarities to “Tremors.” “I wouldn’t call it a sequel, but they are thematically related,” he said. “Roy being a part of the team is an important part of Roy’s development.”
7. How does Ra’s al Ghul play into things?
Well-known DC villain Ra’s al Ghul (Aussie actor Matt Nable) becomes a looming presence starting in at least episode four, though Guggenheim remained mum on just how impactful his impending arrival would be. With Ra’s’ return comes the reappearance of his daughter, Nyssa (Katrina Law), who Guggenheim confirmed does appear in the fourth episode.
8. Will Captain Lance’s health become a liability and does he adapt to not being in the field?
Newly promoted to police captain — which takes him out of the field, a fact Laurel is happy about but he’s not OK with — Quentin Lance disbands the Anti-Vigilante Task Force, publicly acknowledging the vigilante’s accomplishments in keeping the city’s crime rate low. But his health (mainly his heart), compromised a result of being thrown across the room in the season two finale, continues to be a big problem, causing him to take pills on a regular basis. “It’s really our outward manifestation of the fact that he’s got a medical issue that’s plaguing him for the course of the season,” Guggenheim said, adding that Lance will struggle with “his new responsibilities” as captain, which will actively place him “at the center of city-wide crises in a way that’s never happened before.” Case in point: Episode five will see Lance interacting heavily with the new Starling City mayor. “He’s moving up the chain and it’ll require him to rely on some different judgmental skills, and maybe some political skills as well.”
9. What has Thea been up to?
The younger Queen isn’t seen in the premiere, but Guggenheim hinted that episode two will provide a lot of answers. “As we were breaking this episode out, we discovered, ‘It could be more interesting if Thea, who left town at the end of season two, wasn’t around.’ And it’s part of the mystery,” he said. “Where is she? She’s not in Starling City. … You’ll find out where Thea went.” And just what was said in the limo between Thea and Malcolm? That will also be answered sooner rather than later. “The beginning of episode three is [where] we pick up with Malcolm and Thea in that limo and we hear that conversation that you didn’t get to hear at the end of season two,” Guggenheim teased.
10. How big will The Flash and Arrow crossover be?
From the sound of it, pretty big. Currently in production on the Arrow side of the two-hour event, which will be each show’s respective eighth episode (Spartacus‘ Nick Tarabay plays the villain Boomerang), Guggenheim geeked out when talking about it: “It’s so freaking awesome!” “I’ve never had so much fun writing a script before maybe in my life. It was such a blast to work on,” he said enthusiastically. “I kept telling everyone, ‘We should try for Avengers.’ These two heroes together, big production value, we’re blowing out the doors on this. … Watching Grant [Gustin] and Stephen [Amell] together is just magic.” Having Arrow on The Flash and vice versa introduces the possibility of having characters interacting who would never have been able to, and allows the chance for “inside jokes.” “What happens when Cisco gets his eye on Thea? Moments you can’t do in a normal episode,” Guggenheim said.
Arrow returns Oct. 8 on The CW.
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