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Welcome to The Hollywood Reporter‘s weekly DC TV Watch, a rundown of all things DC Comics on TV. Every Friday, we round up the major twists, epic fights, new mysteries and anything else that goes down on The CW’s Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and Black Lightning and Fox’s Gotham. With most of the DC TV shows gearing up for their fall returns next week, THR spoke with showrunners of each show to find out what viewers can expect from this season.
The son becomes the father | The Arrow showrunners haven’t been able to talk about the season five finale Lian Yu explosion fallout all summer long (“Press has been hard, we can’t really talk about who made it, who didn’t. We did not think that through,” executive producer Wendy Mericle tells THR with a laugh). And even with only a few days left until the season six premiere, that hasn’t changed. But what producers are able to talk about are at least two of the survivors: Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and his son William (Jack Moore), and their awkward new dynamic as father and son. “It’s really the question of can a superhero be a father? How is Oliver Queen going to be a good father?” Mericle says of the season-long arc. “Initially, he’s not good at it. Part of the fun of the first half of the season is seeing him grapple with these issues of a 12-year-old boy really giving him a run for his money. It’s not easy and we’ve never seen Oliver deal with this. He’s always been a son and everything on the show has been through the lens of Oliver as a son and his father’s legacy. Emotionally, it’s new territory. This isn’t a supervillain, it’s a 12-year-old boy.”
Mericle can’t say who Oliver will turn to for advice on his new role as a father — because it’s someone who survives the island explosion, and she isn’t saying who. The obvious guess would be Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) helping Ollie navigate his new responsibilities.
New kind of flashbacks | Arrow wrapped its five-year flashback storyline last season, but flashbacks will still be apart of a story in season six. Mericle reveals the premiere picks up both right after the explosion as well as a time jump five months later. “Because we don’t have to do the five-year story of Oliver’s past, we can jump forward and pick up five months later with Oliver in Star City and then we can also use flashbacks to tell the story of what happened on the island,” she says. “It was our first experiment in not having the traditional flashback structure and it was super exciting and really fun to write. It’s new and different.”
Fighting a losing battle | Oliver may think there is still hope for Earth-2 Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) aka Black Siren to be one of the good guys, but Mericle says otherwise. “She’s a true villain,” she explains. “The arc of the season for her will be finding that little kernel of the Earth-1 Laurel Lance somewhere inside of her that can be drawn out to maybe start her on a different path. But this is really a nature vs. nurture question. How do people turn evil or turn good? On Earth-1, Laurel was a person who wanted to make the world a better place, but on Earth-2 she went down a completely different road. Why? “We answer that question,” Mericle says and also calls her “a force in season six.” The producer also notes she “would never rule her out as becoming a big bad.”
Girl power | Black Siren has also inspired the Arrow showrunners to explore some badass female stories this season. “We do have a different female villain early in the run who is different than anything we’ve ever seen on the show and very cool,” Mericle says. “We’re always looking for good female villains in the DCU to try to bring onto the show and in season six, that will happen more. We’re looking for that now more than ever.”
The storm’s gonna pass | Once Barry (Grant Gustin) finally returns from his self-imposed exile in the Speed Force, things are going to be looking up for Team Flash. “We’re returning to the fun-loving Barry Allen and make the show fun again,” executive producer Todd Helbing tells THR. “Barry making that sacrifice at the end of season three and what he experiences in the Speed Force will allow him to return to more of like the season one Barry Allen. The overall theme is very close to the title of the first episode, ‘The Flash Reborn.'” And as with “Flashpoint,” that will have lasting effects on the show “in his attitude and the way he approaches everything.” Helbing adds. “Every speedster has an experience [in the Speed Force] unique to you and what you’re dealing with emotionally so when Barry left, what he went through in there has allowed him to shrug off all of that baggage that was slowing him down for the first three seasons. In the first episode, he’s not exactly the same as when he went in, but you’ll see eventually Barry Allen returned, this more light-hearted, fun guy who enjoys and really loves being the Flash. All of the fun has returned from season one.”
Meeting of the minds | Because this season’s big bad isn’t a speedster, Barry is going to have to use a different skill at his disposal to defeat the Thinker (Neil Sandilands): his mind. “You’ll get to see him pretty early on,” Helbing says. “You’ll start to understand what he’s doing. He’s such a different villain than the three speedsters we’ve had. He’s a much more psychological and long-game villain. He’s a guy that not only built the chess board but all the pieces and put them in place and is now starting to move them around to create the circumstances for his endgame.”
Family feud | But what Helbing is most excited to explore this season is a little family drama between Cisco (Carlos Valdes), his girlfriend Gypsy (Jessica Camacho) and her father Breacher (Danny Trejo). “It’s hilarious,” he says with a laugh.
Legends of Tomorrow
Sunshine and STDs | After two seasons of saving the world, Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell) is finally getting his vacation in Aruba when season three begins. So what does vacation Mick look like? “Very sunburned and very drunk,” executive producer Phil Klemmer tells THR. “He has been on the same beach for effectively five months and drinks himself into oblivion and accumulating an impressive collection of STDs. He remains Mick Rory even when he’s on vacation.”
Hard-earned time off | But apparently Mick is the only Legends team member who is actually happy to have a break. “When we pick up with everyone else, they’ve been put on ice by Rip [Arthur Darvill] and his Time Bureau of highly dedicated and trained professionals to deal with the time anachronisms,” Klemmer says. “The rest of our Legends are not very good at real life and they actually miss one another. They miss being a team. But the Legends have essentially become obsolete [by breaking the timeline]. The extent of the damage they did requires a more formidable time police. So Rip kind of has a point when he tells them to take an early retirement.”
Taking things one step further | Of course, the Legends won’t listen to Rip. Despite the Time Bureau taking the Waverider and their mission to save the timeline, the Legends will continue to do what they always have done … with a twist. “They spent all of last season repairing things and returning history to the status quo,” Klemmer says. “This season there is a yearn to do more. Repairing history might not be enough.” In an upcoming Helen of Troy episode, Helen is displaced in time to the golden age of Hollywood instead of the Trojan War, and she starts a bidding war between studios. “Our new character Zari [Tala Ashe] realizes that Helen of Troy is a victim and having to take her back to the Greek king who stole her from her husband and started this whole horrible war, why should we do that?” Klemmer says. “Our Legends start to wonder what if we can make things better, what if we can tinker with time and our own futures? It’s dangerous.”
The time travel has only just begun | Klemmer reveals some of the time periods they’re going to in season three: “Our Hollywood, Coen Brothers’ Hail Caesar world is fun. We do a Jack the Ripper London, an ‘80s Amblin [Steven] Spielberg Southern California world, Billy Zane playing P.T. Barnum is a delight.” The real fun for the Legends showrunners is “all the genres” they get to play with. “It’s crazy that we get to do a heartwarming E.T. episode, a circus episode, a scary-as-shit horror movie in a mental institution,” Klemmer says. “It’s wild.”
Bruce Wayne, billionaire brat | Thanks to some advice from Alfred (Sean Pertwee) in this week’s Gotham, Bruce (David Mazouz) invented his most famous character yet in his quest to be a secret vigilante by night by pretending to be a rich, obnoxious brat during the day. He outbid Barbara (Erin Richards) for an ancient knife artifact that he knew belonged to Ra’s al Ghul (Alexander Siddig), not knowing that Babs also worked for the mysterious demon’s head. But here’s where Gotham threw viewers a major twist: turns out it was Ra’s who saved Babs from her electrocution back in the season three finale. She actually did die, and he bathed her in the Lazarus Pit to bring her back. Also, they’re making out. No one saw that coming.
Frog in a blender! | The Riddler (Cory Michael Smith) officially needs to find a different name. After an old elementary school acquaintance of his (who was super obsessed with him) was able to spring Nygma from his ice block prison in Penguin’s (Robin Lord Taylor) club, he was horrified to learn that while his body worked but his mind did not. He couldn’t figure out the answers to riddles (for children, no less!) so he attacked her in anger and fled to walk the streets alone.
A new ally | Gordon (Ben McKenzie) left the dark and dreary backdrop of Gotham for a sunnier atmosphere this week, traveling down south to some tropical locale where Carmine Falcone (John Doman) had retired. Gordon wanted Falcone to come back to Gotham to help him dethrone Penguin, but the retired mob boss revealed he was dying and the southern air was helping him delay the inevitable, so he wouldn’t be returning with Gordon. His daughter Sofia (Crystal Reed), however, was more than ready to reclaim the city she said was her birthright. After sharing a kiss on the beach with Gordon, she packed up her suits and arrived in the city — no matter whether her father thought she was ready or not. Sofia is definitely a force to be reckoned with.
Something to sing about | As if The CW’s newest hero Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) aka Black Lightning didn’t have enough to worry about with local gang the One Hundred causing trouble in town, now he has a new villain to contend with. Grammy Award-winning singer Jill Scott has been cast as DC Comics terrorist Lady Eve from the Kobra Cult. She will be the bridge between Tobias Whale (Marvin “Krondon” Jones III) and a secret group of corrupt leaders. Always a consummate professional, Lady Eve presents herself in Freeland as the owner of a funeral parlor, but quickly becomes an adversary to Black Lightning. Here’s to hoping that she’ll get to use her incredible voice on the show. The campaign for a Black Lightning musical episode starts now.
Gotham airs Thursdays on Fox. Supergirl and The Flash are back Oct. 9; Arrow returns Oct. 12; Legends of Tomorrow is back Oct. 10; and Black Lightning will premiere midseason, all on The CW.
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