Although a lot has changed since Comic-Con began, fans still show the most passion for a classic superhero. So Stephen Amell and the cast of the CW’s Arrow did not disappoint in Ballroom 20 for the show’s panel. After an eventful second season, lots of questions remained about the future of Olicity and Starling City. Here are the highlights (spoilers ahead if you’re not caught up):
• Executive producer Andrew Kreisberg admitted the beginning of season two was his biggest challenge to write because of the pressure he had put on himself and the show. However, some of Arrow‘s biggest twists—Sarah not being dead, Oliver waking up in Hong Kong—were discussed when writing the original pilot. Because season one ended on a low note with the death of Tommy, Kreisberg and the writers figured a happy ending to the second season would be the biggest surprise for fans. But don’t get too comfortable: “The minute you give your character happiness, you have to yank it away from him,” Kreisberg said, quoting Joss Whedon.
• Star Stephen Amell said that when the show premiered back in 2012, he felt as much responsibility for its success as his character does for Starling City. “I remember sitting in this ballroom [two years ago] and making a promise to the people who were here that we were going to work really hard and the show wasn’t going to suck,” he said. “It sounds simple, but that’s what drives us every day.” Then someone who didn’t want things to get too heavy yelled for him to take off his shirt. (He didn’t.)
• Willa Holland had to check with the producers about how much she could say regarding Thea’s future. Now that we know she’s Malcolm’s daughter, maybe evil lurks within her too? She said she’s been hitting the gym a bit and hinted that Thea would return a different person, but couldn’t elaborate. The producers did say that they will flash back to the season-two scene where Willa entered a limo with Malcolm and show how that played out.
• John Barrowman will return as a series regular in season three as Malcolm Merlyn, having spent some time on Doctor Who—as Kreisberg put it, sometimes “you have to go away a little bit so you can come back better.” Because of his work schedule, Barrowman hasn’t finished reading the third season, but he says he finished the entire DC Comics Encyclopedia that he keeps on his bedside table.
• The producers already announced that Brandon Routh would join Arrow this season as The Atom.”We were looking to add a lighter hero, someone a little more fun, a little bit Superman—so we got Superman.” Routh’s character will also start a love triangle with Oliver and Felicity.
• Also already announced was the episode-eight crossover of The Flash and Arrow, and when asked which actor from the former he most wants to work with, Amell answered Jesse L. Martin—apparently forgetting that his cousin, Robbie Amell, is on the show. As for other teases, Colin Donnell will return for a flashback in episode two of an unknown encounter between Oliver and Tommy. Just don’t expect more island flashbacks to what Amell described as the “cold and rainy and wet, no matter what time of year” location where they shot.
• And yes, Stephen Amell can actually shoot an arrow and would beat Katniss Everdeen in any competition. Hands down.
Arrow returns for season 3 on Wednesday, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m.
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