In the weeks leading up to San Diego Comic-Con, excitement surrounding The CW’s duo of superhero shows, Arrow and The Flash, has reached an all-time high. Arrow has cast Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer a.k.a. The Atom, and Devon Aoki as Katana; yesterday, Entertainment Weekly revealed the first look of Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) as Arsenal.
The Flash also cast two notable characters in recent weeks: Wentworth Miller as Leonard Snart/Captain Cold and Robbie Amell as Ronnie Raymond a.k.a. Firestorm. Ahead of Warner Bros’ three-hour DC television panel hosted by Arrow star Stephen Amell – where the pilot of Gotham and The Flash will screen as well as preview footage for Arrow and Constantine – the producers of The CW’s superhero shows revealed new details about both series’ upcoming seasons. Needless to say, Flash & Arrow SPOILERS FOLLOW!!!!
In an interview with THR, Arrow executive producers Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim talked about season 3 of the show, which would delve into the question of identity – but not just the identity of Oliver Queen (Amell). Oliver’s team (and the show’s ensemble) has grown over the first two seasons, so the overarching theme will relate to all the characters, not just the titular bowslinger.
The first episode of season 3 will pick up six months after Arrow’s second season finale and will see Oliver questioning his identity early on. The season 2 finale left Starling City’s premiere playboy floundering without a family, a trust fund, and a cause for which to fight. This will be explored in the premiere episode by means of a date between Oliver and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) that should make some fans happy. Read Kreisberg’s quote:
Oliver might be catching up to how some of the audience feels in that maybe there’s a life with her… This season, particularly the premiere episode, is Oliver questioning whether there’s a life beyond the hood. Can he be Oliver Queen and the Arrow at the same time? One of the things about being Oliver would be what kind of romantic life he could have.
Though Oliver has never found himself bereft of a love interest — especially so long as Felicity has been around — that’s not the only side of his identity Kreisberg and Guggenheim will be exploring in season 3. Viewers will be treated to a lighter side of the Arrow, Kreisberg said, specifically his sense of humor:
One of the things we are doing this season on ‘Arrow’ is injecting a little more humor. It’s part of the reason why we brought Brandon Routh in [as Ray Palmer]… He’ll be invading Oliver’s life in every aspect, whether it’s his business, his personal life and possibly down the road in his nighttime activities.
However, the producers said the show won’t only focus on Oliver, Felicity, and Ray; Guggenheim explained that both Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) and Thea Queen (Willa Holland) will be given their strongest character arcs on the show to date as they deal with the aftermath of the season 2 finale. Although the season 3 premiere will pick up months later, there will be flashbacks to what happened when Thea got into a limo with her biological father, Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman).
Read Kreisberg’s quotes on Laurel and Thea’s story arcs in season 3:
At some point, if all the characters are going to become their comic book selves, they have to go through their island… This year is going to be Thea’s island. How that plays out and which side she lands on will be the fun of the season. [Laurel]’s an attorney with a nice, sweet jacket. We’re going to see Laurel take a few big steps toward her comic book self this season. Let’s just say that Katie Cassidy is pumping iron.
In terms of the other characters on Arrow, John Diggle (David Ramsey) will be dealing with his impending fatherhood; Roy’s guilt about Thea’s disappearance will affect his relationship with Oliver; and the Hong Kong flashbacks will provide insight into Oliver’s skills as well as his relationship with Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) of A.R.G.U.S.
As Kreisberg and Guggenheim point out, the first two seasons of Arrow have followed Oliver as he evolved from playboy to vigilante to hero, but the third season will be when the show truly hits its stride. With the Arrow’s origin story if not fully played out, then at least a little tired, the show must weave in new characters (and new origin stories) to the already established world of Starling City.
However The CW’s other superhero series premiering this fall, The Flash, is very much an origin story, but one with a much different tone than that of its predecessor. Kreisberg also serves as executive producer on The Flash and he told THR the main story arc of the first season will be about Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) coming to terms with his new powers. Read Kreisberg’s quote:
It’s Barry Allen coming to terms both physically and emotionally with what’s happened to him. He’s not really The Flash yet because he’s still in the early days. By the end of the year, he will come to resemble The Flash that we know from the comic books. That’s really the arc for the first year.
Greg Berlanti, executive producer of both The Flash and Arrow, also talked about the fledgling superhero series and how it differs from its precursor. Specifically, each series were born of two very different inspirations. While those behind Arrow were influenced by Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy, Berlanti looked to Dick Donner’s Superman films for The Flash — they were inspired by the “heart and humor and scope and Americana.” In addition to the tone, the genres of the shows are different: “Arrow is a crime world and The Flash is a sci-fi world.”
Berlanti also talked about the crossover episodes between Arrow and The Flash. The Arrow himself will appear in episode 1 of The Flash, Felicity in episode 4, and there will be a 2-hour event in both show’s eighth episode. The series will each have their own villains for episode 8 that will help keep the shows separate, but there will be an “overarching story” that will tie it all together. Berlanti said of the event: “I just know that it’s something, as a fan, I would want desperately.”
In terms of the highly anticipated appearances of Captain Cold and Firestorm, Berlanti explained that Miller has only signed on for one episode, but hopes the actor will return. Similarly, the younger Amell will appear in at least three episodes throughout The Flash’s first 13-episode run, but Kreisberg said they’re leaving room for him to return. Read Kreisberg’s quote:
Having Ronnie be Caitlin’s fiancé brings up great story lines for Caitlin and great stories for Barry. Barry is someone who’s learning to love and enjoy his powers and when we meet Ronnie, you’re going to see somebody who’s a lot more damaged by the experience. As always, any of these external characters are there to mirror what’s going on with our core characters.
Though The Flash seems to be relying heavily on Arrow tie-ins and familiar names from the comic books in order to launch the show, early reactions to the pilothave been largely favorable. Whether The Flash will be able to keep pace with recurring characters while also developing their main cast remains to be seen. Berlanti and Kreisberg have revealed some compelling story arcs for the first season, but we won’t know how successful they’ve been in creating a cohesive television series until The Flash debuts in the fall.
What do you think Screen Ranters? Are you more excited for the upcoming seasons of Arrow and The Flash? Sound off in the comments!
The Warner Bros./DC Entertainment television panel at San Diego Comic-Con will be held @8PM on Saturday, July 26th.
Arrow season 3 Premieres on Wednesday, October 8th @ 8/7c on The CW.
The Flash premieres Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 @8PM on The CW.