John Barrowman, Stephen Amell
Arrow surprised fans at Saturday's Comic-Con panel with a slew of scoop on the second season and a sneak peek that included a look at what's to come when Oliver (Stephen Amell) once again suits up.
The second season premiere, which will pick up five months after the earthquake, is titled "City of Heroes." "That's really what this season is about," executive producer Andrew Kreisberg said. "It's about Oliver becoming a hero. There's going to be a couple more heroes helping him out this season."
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In the sneak-peek trailer shown before the panel, we got a glimpse at Summer Glau's new character, who tussles with Oliver at Queen's Consolidated. Meanwhile, the Hood has apparently been MIA since the earthquake. We'll see him come face-to-hood with Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne), who now works as a beat cop. Also, Oliver kisses at least two women, one of which is Shado (Celina Jade). We also see Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) update the Foundry -- which is one of the catalysts for Oliver to apparently put the hood back on-- but he doesn't want to be the Hood anymore. Plus: The Black Canary briefly appeared, and she looked kick ass.
The producers stressed that the title of the episode applies to many characters, not just Oliver, who will be faced with more difficulties in his personal life since his last name is now synonymous with mass murder. "Some people are in jail right now, so that's going to be difficult," Kreisberg said, noting that it will be a season of redemption for Moira (Susanna Thompson). But the younger Queen, Thea (Willa Holland), will be doing just fine since she's running Oliver's night club.
"It's five months later when we pick up, some people have worked through their stuff and some people haven't," Kreisberg continued. "The city really took it on the chin. As bad as Starling City was in Season 1, it's even worse in Season 2. This season is really about Oliver seeing that this city needs a hero and needs hope."
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As Oliver does everything in the name of the slain Tommy (Colin Donnell) this season, he may find help from Roy Harper (Colton Haynes), who is still desperate to find the vigilante. "Roy wants that to happen and in the comics, it happens," Haynes said of the possible partnership. "In a way, Season 2 can be like an island for Roy like it was for Oliver. Roy is going to have to go through the gamut of things and realize he isn't as big of a badass as he thinks he is." He'll also have to get in Oliver's good graces outside the hero world since he's still courting Thea.
As for those who aren't faring well following the earthquake, Detective Lance has been demoted. "He was caught by his superior making some questionable decisions by allying himself with the vigilante," Kreisberg said, noting that while Lance's life has changed, it might be good since he's in a better place emotionally.
Meanwhile, the producers plan to tell the origin story of the Black Canary, as they previously teased to TVGuide.com. But just because it isn't Laurel (Katie Cassidy) in the costume, that doesn't mean she's not on her way to becoming a hero in her own right. "As I've said before, Laurel has to go on her path and through her journey," Cassidy said. "I slowly think she's growing and evolving and she starts to kick some butt." Cassidy noted that Laurel will have already mourned the loss of Tommy, but she won't be ready for a relationship with Oliver just yet. (However, she does look like the second woman who was seen smooching with Ollie.)
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The universe will also expand in Season 2, with True Blood's Kevin Alejandro being cast as Brother Blood. Meanwhile, Deadshot (Michael Rowe) will be back as a member of the Suicide Squad alongside Bronze Tiger, who will be played by Michael Jai White.
As for the fate of Malcolm Merlyn, John Barrowman joined the cast on stage sporting an Arrow shirt. But the producers remained coy on whether he'd be back next season. "Dead people can't come back to life, can they?" Kreisberg said. But Barrowman said he'd love to come back just to find out how they could make it work.
Season 2 will also offer more background on Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) as he inches closer to becoming Deathstroke. "The opening moments of Season 2 will give you a big hint," executive producer Marc Guggenheim said when asked whether Slade Wilson will be a villain or an anti-hero.
Arrow returns Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 8/7c on The CW.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies)