In a world where many of DC Comics’ most popular characters have struggled to make it to screens both big and small, freshman drama Arrow has been a pleasant surprise, earning solid ratings for The CW and the respect of fans.
Now, with season 2 already confirmed, the show’s cast and crew are beginning to make plans for the future, and Saturday night they took to the stage at PaleyFest to share some of those plans, discuss the source material, and explain why they are taking it slow with both Black Canary and Speedy.
Executive Producer Greg Berlanti on why they wanted to make a show about Oliver Queen and the story of the Green Arrow:
“In a movie you do an origin story and it’s the first 20 minutes of the film. But in a series, in this instance it’s the island, you get to tell that over multiple years”.
Serving as the lush and hazardous homebase for Oliver Queen’s tortuous journey of self discovery and transformation, the island flashbacks have been vital to the characters transformation, according to series star Stephen Amell, who explained how the island scenes have helped to shape the character:
“I always knew that eventually, at a certain point, my spine would begin to form -- so to speak -- and I think that we saw that in episode 14 when we actually took some time -- “The Odysey” -- and we spent more time on the island than we did in the present day for that episode.” said Amell.
Though producer Marc Guggenheim named Mike Grell’s “The Longbow Hunters” and Andy Diggle and Jock’s “Green Arrow: Year One” as comics that were an inspiration, producer Andrew Kreisberg made it clear that the show aims to tell its own side of Oliver Queen’s story.
“Sometimes comic book adaptations, sometimes there’s a little too much fidelity to the source material and there's not enough alchemy in translating it.” Said Kreisberg before Guggenheim mumbled “Watchmen” to the crowd’s delight.
While carving their own path away from the comic may be a priority, according to EW, the PaleyFest panel revealed that Oliver will travel to Blüdhaven, with Kreisberg saying: “Nightwing will not be there, unfortunately. He’s out of town that week.” before adding: “There are two cities that we’ll probably never go to. You can probably figure out which ones those are.”
“Never say never” said one of the panelists off camera, prompting Kreisberg to say that such a decision was “up to Geoff”, referring to producer and DC's Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, who moderated the discussion.
When asked about Roy Harper’s comic alter-ego, Speedy, and Laurel Lance’s alter-ego, The Black Canary, Guggenheim talked about Oliver’s five year long struggle to become a “killing machine” and that while other characters' transformations wouldn't “take as long,” they still had to “honor the reality of that.”
Guggenheim added: “the evolution has to be earned. It has to be real. The inciting incidents that may or may not turn someone into a vigilante have to have dramatic reality to them, first and foremost.”
Guggenheim later said that we will see more of Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) in coming episodes, and that: “We’ll get so see some glimmers of where his potential could be.”
While some may gripe at the show’s glacial pace on matters pertaining to Black Canary, their lack of commitment with regard to Speedy and their unwillingness to open up the DC Universe floodgates, it’s hard to argue with the final product. Arrow is a ratings hit for The CW and it seems like they’re dedicated to the world that they have created in a very mature and thoughtful way.
Because of that, Greg Berlanti, Geoff Johns, Andrew Greisberg, and Marc Guggenheim don’t seem like they are about to be pressured into stunt moves, and it’s hard to argue that fast tracking the godspark that transforms these civilian characters into vigilante compatriots would be anything less than that.
With only Man of Steel and a cloud of idle speculation and indecision coming down the pike from DC and Warner Bros., it’s hard to knock a show that is standing out for its gritty and mature take on a beloved character, even if that character is, at times, unrecognizable. Right now, fans will have to decide whether or not they're willing to wait for Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and Roy to grow into their heroism, or if you want Arrow to hurry up and add a few more costumed do-gooders to its roster so it seems a bit more like the Green Arrow that you know and love.
Arrow airs Wednesday @8pm on The CW