Everything is going pretty well for Oliver in the Wednesday, March 20th return episode of Arrow, "which means [it's] about to go really bad," Stephen Amell told fans of The CW series at Saturday night's PaleyFest panel. And boy, will it!
After saving the life of his enemy, Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), Oliver Queen (Amell) will eventually have to face the Dark Archer, but he has other problems in store as well, the least of which involve the returns of The Huntress (Jessica de Gouw), The Count (Seth Gabel) and Deadshot (Michael Rowe). Lest we forget, his former flame Sarah Lance (Jacqueline MacInnes Woods) may actually be alive — this according to Dinah Lance (Alex Kingston), who will reunite with her family in a big way when the show returns. What else is in store? Check out more spoilers from the panel below:
1. Spoiler Alert: A new sizzle reel shown before the panel teased Gabel's return as The Count, The Huntress apparently telling Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) that Oliver Queen is the Hood, and Oliver and Slade (Manu Bennett) teaming up with Shado (Celina Jade) on the island!
2. Black Canary's evolution: When introducing Katie Cassidy on stage, DC Comics's Chief Creative Officer and moderator Geoff Johns called her the "Black Canary to be." But executive producer Marc Guggenheim reminded fans that it took Oliver five years to evolve into this hero, so they're letting her story unfold in a realistic way as well and added that her transition has to be earned. "For Laurel, where she's at right now, we don't want to do disservice to Laurel or Oliver that she could have a bad day and put on fishnets and just start killing people," executive producer Andrew Kreisberg says.
3. Oliver's big secret: Now that Tommy (Colin Donnell) knows the truth, there will definitely be conflict on the horizon between him and Oliver because the buffer between Ollie's two worlds has become far too thin. "It changes everything about the friendship," Amell says. "Tommy's big problem... is that I've killed people. Tommy is a good guy, he doesn't want to see that and reconcile that his friend would do that."
4. Is Sarah alive? Laurel's mother Dinah returned to Starling City with news that Sarah, who had presumably perished on the Queen's Gambit, is actually alive. Naturally, Laurel will be in "complete shock" over this possibility, and Cassidy adds that Laurel will have to rationalize whether Dinah is, first of all, telling the truth, and secondly, how trustworthy the information she has obtained is. Dinah will have a lot more information than we expect! Also look for Dinah to challenge Det. Lance.
5. Mama Queen: Because Moira's (Susanna Thompson) hit on Malcolm's life failed, Moira will be struggling to keep up her façade under Malcolm's watchful eye. "She's once again being put between a rock and a hard place and she's making another deal with this particular devil that she's been making deals with along the way, hoping against all hope for the ultimate not to happen," Thompson says. "It's all for her family."
6. Dark Archer showdown: Will Oliver regret saving Malcolm's life? There was a unanimous yes from the panel. "Malcolm is sort of evil Bruce Wayne," Kreisberg says and adds that both Oliver and Malcolm want what's best for the city. "You're really going to find out a lot more about Malcolm, what's driving him and what's going on with the Undertaking." He's a reflection of what Oliver could become without a moral compass. Speaking of awesome genre stars like Barrowman, Kreisberg also noted that another major genre star will be guest-starring in an upcoming episode. Any guesses?
7. Oliver and Slade's relationship: "They are a sort of proto-Butch and Sundance," Guggenheim says of the island mates and adds that the writers will be "complicating that relationship in future episodes. Not necessarily drawing tension into it, but adding a third element." Spoiler alert: Here's the third wheel!
8. Outside of Starling City: Oliver will actually venture outside of Starling City — other than the island, of course. "He's going to make a trip to Blüdhaven," Kreisberg says of the fictional DC Comics city that serves as the backdrop for Nightwing. However, "Nightwing will not be there," Kreisberg added.
9. Speedy's evolution: Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) will seemingly go through a similar evolution to Black Canary in that it'll be a while before we see him joining up with Oliver as his sidekick, but "We'll see glimmers of where his potential will be," Guggenheim says. There was actually a line cut from an episode where Thea (Willa Holland) called Roy "Speedy," to which he replied that it's a dumb nickname. "Tell me about it," was her retort.
Arrow returns Wednesday, March 20 at 8/7c on The CW.