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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.

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 5/25/2016

Season 4 : Episode 23

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So... Nothing on Felicity? At all? I was hoping that we'd learn her backstory next season. FYI, also curious about how the Ollie and Felicity's friendship will progress. Words spoken from a proud Olicity shipper. :)
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They didn't mention any backstory fleshing out, they did toy with the Felicity/Ollie and Felicity/Diggle shipping thing but didn't commit even remotely, that probably isn't going anywhere based on the jokiness. They did mention she'd be tricking out the Arrowcave, and they address how impressive it was that she started out as a small character and grew to importance.
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I think it's safe to say that we'll see plenty of Felicity this season. Emily Bett Rickards is now a series regular!
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(SPOILERS) I followed the show with great interest, but the ending had some quite disappointing moments, particularly with the way Oliver "killed" Malcolm. So, Olive just pierced through himself with an Arrow, which cut through him like a hot knife going through butter, and mortally wounding Malcolm, while Oliver walked away fine enough to lift a concrete column a couple scenes later. Holy shark-jumping, Batman!
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Greg Berlanti is the shittiest shit ever.
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This show is really ramping up its cast. I believe they have now added 4 series regulars since the pilot.
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It's only a net +2 regular cast members, I don't that counts as 'really ramping up' although it probably at the limit of what the show can sustain while still making the characters useful\interesting.
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You obviously haven't seen The Vampire Diaries!
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Emily Bett Rickards, Colton Hayes, Manu Bennett, Caity Lotz either promoted to or added as series regulars since the show started.
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From TV Guide last week :
"There's been a bit of misinformation printed out there and what I would say is, yes, Caity Lotz is joining the show in a recurring role and we're really excited," executive producer Andrew Kreisberg tells us.
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While it's possible that it might change mid-season I doubt that's changed in the last 7 days.
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Or course Malcolm isn't dead. Captain Jack can't die.

I love seeing Amell totally invested into the show and the character. That comes across on screen, much like Hugh Jackman's love of playing Wolverine. The stories may not always work, but that investment from the actor makes it much easier to get involved.
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It's NEVER too soon for Olicity shipping! :D
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I've been shipping since the minute she walked on screen for the first time :)
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Yeah! That's what I'm talking about!
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Speaking of Deathstroke I hope he show sup in Starling City in the present (as a good or bad guy doesnt matter to me) thats what i was HOPING all those island flashbacks would lead up to


Also how is someone else playing Black Canary when Laurel Lance already exists in Arrow and has teh same real name as the comic Black Canary it woudl make no sense if black canary was anyone other than her.. heck Laurels even shown that she has SOME fighting ability (maybe she has a LOT more then shes letting on) and she works for a place called CNRI too many hints pointing at her to be Black Canary for it NOT to happen.
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I love the flashbacks, despite Oliver's hair...
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"sounds like Ollie has fled Starling City in the aftermath of the Season 1 finale"
Oh he's definately gone.
The last digital comic had Laurel in a total breakdown; Moria on suicide watch; Felicity & Diggle getting million dollar pay-offs from Ollie; all while Ollie is obsessing over not getting to Tommy in time because he stopped to deal with a couple of muggers\rioters on the way to CNRI. Cue Ollie getting on a plane headed to who knows where.

As for Caity Lotz, wasn't one of the producers a little more coy about the casting a week or so ago? Caity was important to the Black Canary story but might not be Canary.

The one thing I do hope we get to see next season is a bit more of Walter but with nine main cast members plus four significant guest stars I'm not sure there'll be much room for him.
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And a spoiler alert would have been too difficult to write ?
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"To Serve Man" is a cookbook
Harry Angel is Johnny Favorite
Rosebud is a sled

.... guess so.
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I live for the island flashbacks!!!!Good write up
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I have enjoyed that the cast seems to get as geeked up for things as the fans do.
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Tommy's death should have come partway through season 2 if they wanted it to leave a lasting impact on the show. At the panel they drove home the idea that it'd change Ollie's path as a hero, but one-and-done characters - no matter well they develop their character - are never as impactful on a series as someone who makes it beyond the freshman season.
Ramsey seemed to have a lot of care for his character during the panel, but I got the impression there would be a fractuous relationship at play between Diggle and Ollie in the opening part of the season, we'll see what happens.
The Hood stabbed Merlyn through the exact same spot as he stabbed himself, why that would kill Merlyn and NOT Ollie is nonsense, but that whole scene was nonsense, so I am going to stick with "dead" and they're bringing back Barrowman in flashbacks.
Wow, you're the only fan of the show I know who doesn't like the island bits. I do see what you mean about them being jarring, they really aren't all that well tied-in anymore, but I find the characters there interesting and the building of the new Ollie compelling.
Ah! That's who they said was playing Brother Blood, I heard it but it zipped out the other ear, thanks.
Anyway, nice write-up, better than the one I did while also covering a lot of different ground from mine: http://www.tv.com/shows/arrow/community/post/comic-con-2013-arrow-reveals-season-2-theme-city-of-heroes-1374642479/
Sorry I didn't get to meet up with you at Comic-Con, hope your show went well.
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Thank you for the detailed article. Eagerly anticipating the second season.

- I absolutely love the island flashbacks. I think that they (flashbacks) tell a very different yet exciting story.

- So, Diggle and Felicity have to go trans continental distances to get Oliver back and Amell says when we see Oliver next his head is literally in the trees - what if Oliver has gone back to the island in the wake of the happenings of the S1 finale? Fled to his island both literally and metaphorically?
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I kinda like that idea, hopefully they go with it.
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