Arrow Set Visit: Producer Andrew Kreisberg and the Cast Teases Season 2by Clarissa / October 4, 2013
Arrow was a terrific success story for The CW last season. The show did well with the critics and the fans and ended on a high note. Season 2 is keeping up with that momentum. During a recent visit to the Vancouver set, producer Andrew Kreisberg said “we approached the first episode [of season 2] as if it was a movie sequel. Every character that comes back gets a real sort of cinematic introduction. Everything about it is [version] 2.0.”
We also had an opportunity to chat more with Andrew, as well as stars Stephen Amell, Emily Bett Rickards, Willa Holland and Susanna Thompson, who all shared more insight into their characters and teasers for what’s to come in season 2.
Oliver’s fortress of solitude. When we first see Oliver again at the beginning of the season, he’s back on the island. “The way that it was pitched to me is that the island for Oliver is kind of like his fortress of Solitude and after everything that went down with Malcolm and the Undertaking and Tommy that there was just nothing in Starling City for him. So, in that case, he goes where he’s most comfortable, which is the island,” Stephen said. But Diggle and Felicity aren’t prepared to let their friend spend the rest of his days there. Emily said that “We first see Felicity completely terrified. The island, full of dangers, obviously. Oliver describes it as the worst place on earth. Felicity and Diggle arrive and they just…I think they’re completely astounded and overwhelming that Oliver spent five years there and has decided to come back….I mean, what kind of psychological state are you in that you go back to the worst time of your life where you became this killer? We end up there, we end up finding Oliver and trying to get a lost Oliver found, try to put him back together.
Felicity’s assertive new role. “I think what happens is that Felicity has just signed off on taking a more hands-on role and Diggle and Oliver are forced to accept that,” Emily said. “Just being a part of the team is having to accept the fact that this is dangerous, this is every day. All of us can’t just be in the foundry all of the time and saving people. There’s only three of them and they have to use all their forces, use all their bodies. I think that her getting out in the real world and getting in danger and hopefully helping and not getting into too much trouble – which he does – aids the bigger picture.” Not only that, but expect to see her out of her IT room at Queen Consolidated. “She has been promoted, for lack of a better term. Oliver needs to communicate with her more so she’s more hands-on in Queen Consolidated.”
Oliver’s new attitude. Diggle and Felicity convince Oliver to return to Starling City to help save Queen Consolidated, but he’s less interested in picking up his bow again. In fact, he is adamant about not becoming the vigilante again. So he eventually turns his attention to a new purpose: that of a real hero. “The show is a lot freer this year,” Stephen said. “For Oliver, he has much less of a weight on him. There was very little that was heroic about what he was doing last year save for what he attempted at the very, very end. It was all vengeance and revenge and the burden of his father. For Oliver, this year, he’s just much more relaxed, much more easy going because what he’s doing and how he’s spending his nights is making him feel good.” “Last season was all about revenge and it was very Hamlet-esque, you know, driven by the ghost of his father. This season he’s also driven by a ghost, the ghost of Tommy who died not thinking the best of Oliver,” Andrew clarified. “So this season is less about atoning for his father’s sins and more about honoring the kind of man he wanted to be for Tommy. It’s interesting because last season had a very dark objective, you know, which was crossing names off of a list. In a way he was like a hitman. This season he puts the book away and it’s really about being an example and being a symbol and he’s going to discover that that’s not so easy.”
Thea’s stable new job. “Thea Queen, I’d like to think, is doing better off than most at the beginning of the season,” Willa said. “She starts off about five months after the tragic event in the Glades. Thea’s actually kind of got herself a bit put together now. She’s working at Verdant, she’s running the club, kind of managing around the bar and actually not drinking behind the counter, she’s actually on the other side taking care of things, which is good for her. It seems like she’s got her head a little bit screwed on tighter than before.”
Roy’s extra-circular activities. Roy has been even more actively trying to become a hero and help the Hood as a result of the Glades’ destruction, but that’s going to land him in some trouble, particularly personally. Thea isn’t crazy about his night time crime fighting ways. “I think that it’s definitely not [Thea’s] favorite thing in the world because she doesn’t like the love of her life throwing himself in danger,” Willa admitted. “She really does care about him genuinely and doesn’t want to see him get hurt and doesn’t think that he has the capability to do what he thinks that he can. I’m sure that [Roy’s] actually going to prove her wrong, possibly [and] I think she might start slowly following along with him and understanding the reasoning behind what he’s doing instead of judging him for him.” Despite that, Willa thinks the relationship between Thea and Roy is still solid, even with their ups and downs. “There’s definitely some roller coaster rides with her and Roy’s relationship in the first few episodes, that’s for sure. But I like to think their relationship is always going to be pretty tight. They’re always going to be yin and yang and always going to be clashing but I think they’re perfect for each other.”
Summer Glau as Isabel Rochev. Summer reportedly told Andrew “‘I’ve never played anybody like [Isabel] before. She’s sort of like ‘so when do I get to punch somebody?’,” he said. “What’s interesting about Summer’s character is that even though Isabel Rochev is a character from the comic books she’s actually a nemesis of Oliver Queen’s far more than she’s an nemesis of the Arrow’s. One of the big story arcs this season is that the company that Summer represents is trying to take over Queen Consolidated because Queen Consolidated kind of took a massive PR hit considering that they were the company that built the machine that killed 503 people. Oliver really has to step in and become the CEO. With Summer, there’s a lot of banter and jousting and sparks flying and anger and yelling. It’s a really fun, different dynamic that we’ve had on the show. [But] just because sparks fly doesn’t mean people get together.” Stephen reiterated that Isabel is clearly not interested in working with Oliver to save the company, preferring to dismantle it or run it herself. But “that dynamic is interesting because I am a lot more intelligent than I necessarily let on as Oliver so she’s constantly pushing at me and it’s a great opportunity for me to push back.”
Moira’s solitary journey and the Queen family dynamics. “[Moira’s] in prison. She’s pretty much by herself,” Susanna said. “She was devastated by the end of last season and this season she starts very isolated, prison being the symbolic moment of all of this. her daughter is resisting seeing her. Her son is dealing with the ramifications of his best friend’s death. She’s pretty much alone. That’s where we start with her.” Thea has heavily distanced herself from her mother and refuses to visit her in prison. “[Thea’s] not too happy with her, let’s just say that. I mean, I don’t think that anyone who is related to someone who is known for killing 503 people would be too excited on that,” Willa said. But Moira’s relationship with Oliver has actually changed for the better. When asked whether we will see a different type of Moira this season, Susanna said that we will, and that much of that is due to Oliver. “I think so. And I think it started with she and Oliver towards the end and she really sort of mustering up her own soul again. I think she lost it so much with Malcolm and I think Oliver really helped her uncover it again. There’s a level of honesty that they’ve gotten back to. The writers have chatted about redemption this season and we’ll see where that road to redemption leads. And I think that the end of last season was the beginning of that road.” Stephen agrees with Susanna, saying that Moira and Oliver are in a good place. “[Oliver has] a lot of respect for her trying to get out in front of it. I know that what she did was wrong but I also know that I’m not in a position where I can sit in judgment on anybody. I don’t know if there’s one character in the entire universe of the show that I can sit and openly condemn as being wrong and immoral.”
The island backstory. Shado, Slade and Oliver are finally getting a measure of peace on the island after getting rid of Fyers and his crew. But that’s going to change very quickly. “Just as we start to see things go well [in Starling City with Oliver] they really go to s**t on the island really fast,” Stephen bemoaned. “You have to think about what type of person Oliver was when he got back from the island. Clearly the island can never stay deserted. We thought I was there all by myself and there was Fyers and that whole group. And now they are mostly taken care of and a new danger pops up pretty quickly.”
Olicity’s prospects. Quite a few fans ship “Olicity” and so the subject of Felicity and Oliver’s potential relationship came up. Stephen said that “Felicity as Felicity and a member of the team and Emily as Felicity have really come into their own. She’s really taken ownership of that and that character is doing really fantastic things and they’re giving her fantastic things to do. I definitely think that Oliver is changing his idea of who Felicity is and what she is capable of because she keeps proving herself over and over and over again.” Emily, meanwhile, admits that Felicity is still “super awkward and super hopeless. This is her first sort of social club or having a family. She really doesn’t want to ruin that. We get to see her still play with Oliver and still be awkward and weird but also reach to him on a friend level as well and give her an emotional depth and purpose in their relationship.” But is there a chance for romance? Emily said that “We go to the island to save him. And yes, that’s, ‘I’m here for you. We’re you’re friends. You’re not alone,’ but it just has to be so much more than that. Because there is chemistry between them….. [we’ve all been there and have to ask the question] is the next step gonna ruin it or is it gonna make it better?”
Arrow returns for its second season on October 9 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.