If you follow Arrow star Stephen Amell on any of his various social media accounts, you probably already know this, but I'll tell you anyway, just in case: He is very passionate about the show. It comes through whenever he's talking about his character, upcoming storylines, existing storylines, you name it. Basically, Amell understands exactly how wonderful Arrow can be, and it shows. So I don't know why I expected anything different when I sat down with the Arrow cast at Comic-Con to talk about Season 2, but I was super impressed by how articulate and thoughtful he was. Oh, and the rest of the cast was fine, I guess? Just kidding, they were awesome. Anyway, let's get down to it.
TOMMY'S LASTING IMPRESSION
When last we saw Starling City, the earthquake had leveled the Glades and Oliver Queen had watched as his best friend died in his arms, still thinking he was a murderer. Sad stuff, right? I cried. Like, ugly cried. But after a couple of days, I realized that Tommy's death was a necessary evil and that it would launch Ollie into the next arc of his journey. Don't you hate it when you start thinking rationally about TV? Anyway, when I spoke with Amell, he confirmed that Tommy's death will have a lasting effect on the the series, and also that it will make a five-month time-jump between Season 1 and Season 2.
"Everything that happens with Oliver—not just in this season, but going forward—is informed by Tommy's death and what Tommy thought about Oliver when he died," Amell explained. To really drive that point home, he said that he hopes Tommy's death will leave a lasting imprint on the show, that it's that important.
Amell also mentioned that Tommy's death will affect Oliver's life as The Hood. "He still cares about Starling
City," he said, "but if he's going to fix it, he has to do it for different
reasons. ... If Oliver's going
to put the hood on again, it's going to be because he wants to honor
Tommy." Executive Producer Greg Berlanti also noted that
Starling City needs a different kind of hero in the aftermath of the devastation of the Glades, and that Oliver wants
to be that guy.
David Ramsey, who plays Oliver's bodyguard and other best friend, John Diggle, said that Diggle probably understands better than anyone at this point that the mission must move forward. The only problem is, from what we heard at Comic-Con, it sounds like Ollie has fled Starling City in the aftermath of the Season 1 finale. It also sounds like Diggle and Felicity will be the ones who go the distance to bring Oliver back. And we're talking trans-continental distances, btw.
Of course, Tommy wasn't just Oliver's best friend; his death will affect the rest of the characters, too, including ex-girlfriend Laurel Lance, played by Katie Cassidy. "Tommy's death will always stay with [Laurel]," Cassidy said. "It's not something you
get over. It's just something that happened and she's going to figure
out how to move forward and move on with her best foot forward."
As you can imagine, Tommy's death will also affect the Laurel/Oliver relationship, too. "It's very complicated," said Cassidy. "I think it's very clear who the love of her life is, but there's a lot of damage that has been done. A lot of things have happened. ... I don't know that her head is necessarily in that space right now." Cue the Olicity shippers! What, too soon?
THE OTHER MERLYN
Whether or not John Barrowman's Malcolm Merlyn is really dead—The Hood stabbed him with an arrow in the finale—is up for debate. Not only did Barrowman make a surprise appearance at Arrow's Comic-Con panel (wearing an Arrow T-shirt he'd purchased on the exhibition floor, no less), but Amell was very shifty when asked about his return. He did concede, however, that it's very tough to kill Barrowman. And we never did see the body...
WE HAVE TO GO BACK
I don't know about you guys, but I've never really cared for the island storylines. I know they're meant to inform the present-day storylines and provide essential background information as to what happened during those years when Oliver was on the island, why he is the man he is now, but mostly they just seem jarring to me. Every time the show returns to the island, whatever's happening in the present loses a little bit of momentum. So take this next bit however you like:
"The island stuff that we shot for the [Season 2 premiere] might be my favorite stuff of the entire series," Amell said. "Because we take the five-month gap there, too. ... We find Oliver in a very different spot." Amell was also quick to warn against believing that just because Oliver shot a guy with an arrow in the Season 1 finale, that he's well on his way to becoming the man we know in present day.
SEASON 2 GUEST STARS
This season we'll see the beginning of the Black Canary story, and she'll be played by Caity Lotz. But in talking about the casting, Berlanti referred to last year's Deathstroke fake-out, so while there's still no definitive answer, I wouldn't be too worried about where the story is headed. The show hasn't led us astray thus far, so why should we have any reason to worry now?
In addition to Loitz, Summer Glau will join the show as Isabel Rochev, Kevin Alejandro will be playing Sebastian Blood/Brother Blood, and Michael Jai White is Bronze Tiger.
A FEW FINAL ARROW POINTS
– If you haven't seen it yet, here's the action-packed epic trailer for Season 2 that was released at the Comic-Con panel.
– Oliver's bow is getting an upgrade in Season 2 after his last one was broken in the Season 1 finale.
– When Season 2 picks up, Moira's legal troubles will be dealt with and Thea will be running Oliver's night club, Verdant.
– Ramsey said his hopes for Season 2 are for Diggle to get to fight more, to see more action outside of Oliver's missions. Cassidy is hoping to see Laurel in the courtroom in Season 2.
– Oliver's head is literally in the trees when you first see him, teased Amell. I assume that means he's taken to living in an epic lofted fort like the Lost Boys in Hook.