On Arrow, Starling City isn't really fond of Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) right now because of his mother — along with Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) — are why half of The Glades was leveled during the Undertaking. But it's not just Oliver who will seek the public's support as he attempts to rebuild the city: Arrow will also need their help if he wants to be seen as a hero, not the killer vigilante they've come to know. Now that Ollie has sworn to go about being a hero a different way, will the city support the Arrow? TVGuide.com caught up with Amell to get the scoop on that, the true nature of Isabel Rochev (Summer Glau) and the super-powered elephant in the room (Hint: The Flash!):
Oliver has decided not to kill people as Arrow. Will he actually be able to do pull that off?
Stephen Amell: It's one thing to say, it's another thing to actually put it in action. It creates a whole new set of problems when you're trying to have a secret identity and clean up the streets. How do you stop someone if you're not going to kill them if that's all he's known? It creates a whole new subset of problems for us on the show because these people that Oliver interacts with come out the other side alive and thus can talk. Also, the most effective way to win a fight is to kill somebody when they're trying to kill you, too. It's a whole new set of issues for Oliver. It forces us to take stories all the way through to their conclusion, as opposed to ending them at the point of an arrow.
How can he prove that he really is a hero for the city when the police don't trust him?
Amell: He doesn't care what people about him. He says in Episode 2 that he's being taken to task about the fact that no one is ever going to think he's a hero. He says very simply, "As long as the city is safe, it doesn't matter." In the early episodes, he's not interested in public opinion. Towards the latter half of the season, public opinion is going to become a focal point. It's not really something that we've ever addressed. Last year, in Episode 9, we very briefly mentioned public support for the vigilante, but have not done that since then. Once we get around to talking about it, that will be a critical element to the rest of this season and probably through several seasons going forward because we are moving towards the vigilante being seen in more of a public light, which I'm very excited for.
Both Oliver and Laurel (Katie Cassidy) have a big obstacle in Laurel because she wants to take down the vigilante. How will that affect their relationship?
Amell: It doesn't affect Oliver and Laurel. Their relationship is certainly in a much more honest place than it's ever been. There are going to be some factors that begin to complicate that as we move through the season. But with Arrow and Laurel, she's so venomous against him that part of it feels like it has to be misdirected slightly. It has to be about something else, which we are going to address in short order on the show. I love the scene between Katie and I when we're at Tommy's grave and we see her declare war on the vigilante. You can read the thoughts going through Oliver's head: Oh sh--, this is inconvenient.
While Laurel is trying to take Arrow down, Roy (Colton Haynes) is trying to help him. What is their relationship going to be like this season?
Amell: It's interesting. We are interacting more and more, Arrow and Roy. One of the fun things that we have now is every once and a while as Oliver, I will see him and I know what he's up to because I'm interacting with him as the Arrow. That creates some fun scenes where I can say something to Roy and he's thinking to himself, "How does he know this?!" It's cool having him as part of the team. He probably thinks that he's more a part of the team than he is. Stuff is happening with the Roy Harper character. One of the things that I like about our show is we know that we have a plan for a lot of characters, but the writers aren't afraid to let the plan percolate for a little while. Not everything has to happen right away, so Roy is just waiting in the wings, but when his involvement with Team Arrow starts to become more and more dynamic, he'll be ready.
Not only will the Arrow be facing different villains this year, Oliver will also be facing challenges since his name is synonymous with mass murder. How will he take more of a leadership position in his family to try to repair their name?
Amell: He shot himself in the foot a little bit. The last time Oliver Queen was seen in public was when he faked being drunk and spoke at the dedication at the applied sciences division at Queen Consolidated and made a total asshole of himself. Now, he's the face of the Queen family and he really is the CEO of Queen Consolidated without any formal business training whatsoever. It's a whole new set of problems because he's out of his depth. Saving the company is really important to him. We see him struggle with that. I've read a lot of places saying Isabel Rochev is a villain, but I certainly haven't seen that yet. The way they've designed the character is that she is trying to actually save the company. This is what she does. He is continually proving to be irresponsible in her eyes because she doesn't know that being CEO isn't the only job that he has. It's creating tension between the two of us.
We're also going to get the introduction of Flash (Grant Gustin) later this season. Can you talk about shooting those episodes?
Amell: We're in the middle of Episode 9, but Episode 8 is in the books. I don't envy the job that Grant had to do because it is his episode. He's the most important character in it. He has the most dialogue. He's coming into a show that's already up and moving. He took ownership of it without being a d--- about it. He just came in and was ready to work and did a phenomenal job. People are really going to enjoy that character, and I can see why [executive producers] Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg were so interested in having this character stand on its own and become its own show. He's a very different character and it's a cool dynamic to have in these two episodes. I'm very impressed.
This world is so grounded in realism without superpowers. When you first heard they were going to introduce Flash, what was your reaction in that regard?
Amell: I never worried about superpowers or non-superpowers at all. It's a very simple piece of dialogue where you just start to try and explain things. Just because we're talking about superpowers doesn't mean that we can't try to ground them in reality. We also have to assume, and I think everyone has, that Oliver has never come across someone with superpowers before — what if he has? Hmm. A lot happened in the five years on the island that we are just getting to tell that story. Oliver has never talked about it for a very good reason. We haven't seen anything happen to Oliver where he's just been shocked and dumbfounded and at a loss. Anything that he sees, it certainly looks like he's seen it before. I'm interested to see how he reacts to the introduction of superpowers if, in fact, that happens. I think it might be different than most people would expect.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
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