Season 1 of The CW's superhero crime-fighting show Arrow was a mixed bag of bad parenting, green eyeshadow and shirtless workouts with Stephen Amell, but the show has overall been a ratings smash for the network and definitely seemed to hit its stride in terms of storytelling by midseason - concluding with a pretty shocking finale earlier this month.
Ever since the show was renewed for season 2, fans have been speculating as to which characters from the comic books might be the next to make an appearance in the show, whether to provide further back-up for Team Arrow or to become the next predator stalking the streets of Starling City and inviting Oliver Queen into battle.
Speaking in an interview with MTV, Arrow actor Colton Haynes responded to questions as to how much he knew about the season 2 story arc, and which new characters fans of the show can expect to see:
"A few of the most important DC characters are going to be coming to Arrow. And quite possibly working in a team together."
Executive producer Mark Guggenheim also teased a couple of new arrivals for season 2, but these ones definitely won't be working on the same team as Oliver. On the contrary, Guggenheim promises two major villains from the comic book series:
"We made no secret of the fact that we subscribe to the Whedonesque model of having a big bad, and in Season 2, we'll actually have two big bads. They'll both be very recognizable names to fans of the comic book. We're really excited about both of them."
Since Arrow is already established as a superhero crime procedural show that takes place in the version of reality as we know it, introducing fantasy or hard sci-fi elements like magic or aliens would probably feel out of place with the tone of the series, so it's likely that characters will be limited to those whose powers don't have a supernatural or sci-fi origin, or will have certain powers and origins rewritten in order to make them a little more down-to-earth. Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment more or less have access to the full roster of intellectual properties within the DC shared universe, but the producers of Arrow are limited by the current movie franchises as to which characters they can feature in the show.
To recap, the show has already featured the Huntress, Helena Bertellini, and currently stars Haynes as Roy Harper AKA Red Arrow, who may end up being the next to join Oliver's small support team. That team currently consists of his bodyguard, John Diggle, and tech expert Felicity Smoak, and he also receives intermittent help (though she is not aware of exactly who she is helping) from legal aid attorney Laurel Lance, who may potentially take on the identity of Black Canary in future seasons. After all, Laurel has already demonstrated an ability to hold her own in a fight, as well as a passion for helping those in need as well as bringing criminals to justice, and her slowly growing sympathy for "The Hood" may eventually push her to embark on a vigilante career of her own.
Talk of "the most important DC characters" will inevitably cause a lot of people's minds to turn to Batman, Superman and other members of the Justice League. Though Guggenheim has expressed enthusiasm for the idea of Batman showing up in Arrow, this is slightly complicated by the number of similarities between the two characters; they're both billionaires with secret vigilante identities who use hard training and clever gadgetry to catch criminals, and have sidekicks to help them out. This could, of course, be used as an interesting avenue through which to explore their individual brands of vigilantism, but after the staggering success of the Dark Knight trilogy and two major Batman video games, it's uncertain whether audiences are ready for yet another incarnation of Batman, or whether they need a break from Batman saturation.
Superman is more or less out of the running, mainly because he's currently being used for Zack Snyder's Man of Steel reboot, but also because we've already had ten years of Smallville in which to thoroughly explore Superman's origins on TV. Guggenheim has previously made some very non-committal comments about Green Lantern possibly making an appearance, so that's another potential candidate to join Oliver Queen's list of allies.
In terms of villains, Deathstroke and Edward Fyers dominated the flashbacks of season 1, and Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) played the role of the season's big bad. Seth Gabel made a brief and very hammy appearance as a drug-dealing version of Count Vertigo, Constantine Drakon came and went extremely quickly in the pilot episode, and Deadshot also made recurring appearances. Daniel Brickwell is one likely choice for a season 2 villain, as is Oliver Queen's obsessive homicidal stalker Carrie Cutter.
Have you got any theories as to which important allies and villains will show up to flesh out the season 2 cast of Arrow? Share your thoughts in the comments, listen to the latest Screen Rant Underground podcast to hear what we thought about the first season, or read our review of the finale.
Arrow will return for season 2 sometime in the fall of 2013 on The CW.