'Arrow' finale post-mortem: Marc Guggenheim talks about the explosive (and deadly!) fall-out
SPOILER ALERT: THIS POST CONTAINS PLOT DETAILS FROM THE SEASON FINALE OF ARROW
So that’s what they meant by epic. Arrow‘s first season finale, “Sacrifice,” delivered on several of the cryptic teases dropped by the show’s creative team and cast over the last few weeks, including a giant explosion, a giant earthquake, and a genuinely affecting death. We got Arrow EP Marc Guggenheim, who developed the show with Andrew Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti, on the phone to talk about next season and the fall-out from the death and destruction.
Where does season 2 go from here? “Our whole approach to the show has always been, we like to pass the time in-between episodes in real-time. So we will feel that three-to-four month gap, but basically The Glades being destroyed, I keep referring to it as season 2’s version of ‘the notebook.’ The notebook was the main thing that created a lot of story engine for us and the consequences and the figurative after-shocks of the earthquake are going to provide the new story engine for season 2.”
The way-cool effects: “The explosion on the island, that’s real — that was an actual explosion that was shot. The only thing that was added with visual effects was the missile itself. I actually felt bad for the special effects guys because I thought the explosion looked so good that people would think it was a computer effect. But that was all practical. One of the advantages of knowing what we were going to do early on was we were able to set aside money as we were going through the season. we called it ‘the kitty,’ where we just kept putting money aside.”
What’s the deal with Det. Lance? “We have really exciting plans for Lance in season 2. I don’t want to spoil them, but he definitely turns a corner in the finale as far as The Hood is concerned. Our goal has always been to make him our version of Commissioner Gordon. What I will say is that the scene that he has with Lieutenant Pike, where he basically outs himself as having worked with The Hood instead of capturing him, that will have huge repercussions for him in season two.”
Felicity, Dig, and Oliver unite! “I think that trinity, that trio, has really benefited us, in large part because the actors are so strong and they’re so good together and Diggle and Felicity and Oliver are all very different kinds of characters, so the key I think, when you’re putting together a group like that, is that they not all be so similar that it’s like an echo chamber.”
Killing Tommy: “We creatively opened ourselves up to the possibility of killing Tommy around the time we were doing episode 16. I think around episode 18 is when we fully committed to doing it. I can’t say enough about what a class act Colin Donnell is. He gave 120 percent every single day, every single scene, every single line of dialogue, from the moment he found out what our plans were all the way up to the very end. People on the crew were asking us, ‘Look at what Colin is doing. Have you changed your mind?’ Killing Tommy was never about Colin’s performance. It was always about if we do this, what stories does it tell? It’s definitely something I feel conflicted about, but that said, I think it was the right thing — especially as we start to talk about season two [and] the impact that Tommy’s death has on not just on Oliver, but all of our characters.
Is Malcolm Merlyn really dead? “Well, it certainly looks that way. John Barrowman is amazing and we love him and the one thing I will say with respect to both Tommy’s death and Malcolm Merlyn’s death is this is a show that does flashbacks.”