Arrow @ PaleyFest: Talk of Oliver's Secret, 'Evil Bruce Wayne,' Black Canary and a Mystery Guest

Arrow Season 1 SpoilersThe producers and cast of The CW’s Arrow held court at PaleyFest 2013 on Saturday night to reflect on the freshman hit’s recent reveals as well as tease what’s to come in the final third of the season.

For starters, Tommy now knowing his BFF’s vigiliante secret “changes everything,” series lead Stephen Amell told moderator/DC Comics god Geoff Johns. “He saw me in the pilot kill three guys. And Tommy’s a good guy, he doesn’t want to have to reconcile that his friend would do that.” Plus, having Tommy in the know creates too thin of a “buffer” between Ollie’s worlds. “[Tommy] could just roll over in bed and say [to Laurel], ‘Oliver is the vigilante’ — and I don’t want that!”

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As for the bombshell Dinah Lance dropped on daughter Laurel’s literal doorstep — that Sara is alive — executive producer Greg Berlanti’s intention was to start paying off notions set up in the pilot, and the sooner the better. “If we hadn’t planted [that] flag in the ground now, by the time you do, the audience wants to pay attention to other storylines.”

And Laurel’s reaction? “As if she didn’t have it hard enough!” Katie Cassidy joked. But seriously, following the initial shock, “She kind of gets sucked in by her mother a bit…. Her mother also has a lot more information than you necessarily think.”

RELATED | The CW Sets Finale Dates: Which Show Is Done First?

Other topics touched on during the PaleyFest Q&A:

MOIRA VS. MALCOLM | Oliver’s mother, said Susanna Thompson, “is once again between a rock and a hard place,” charged by Malcolm to track down the person who ordered the hit on him — aka her! “Shes making another deal with this particular devil,” all of which she does “for her family.” Shedding a sliver of light on the elder Merlyn’s motivations, EP Andrew Kreisberg said, “In a way, Malcolm is ‘evil Bruce Wayne.’ We talk about that moment in Batman Begins when Bruce goes through the training with Ra’s Al Ghul, and then is told to execute a criminal. In the movie, Bruce doesn’t do it; in our minds, Malcolm did.” Coming up, “You find out a lot more about Malcolm and what’s driving him, and about the very scary-sounding Undertaking.”

WHEN WILL THE CANARY SING? | Noting that it took Oliver five years to turn himself from bad boy billionaire into a killing machine, Guggenheim stressed that Laurel’s corresponding conversion to Black Canary “has to be earned, it has to be real.” (Same goes for Roy Harper/Speedy.) “The inciting incidents have to have dramatic reality to them,” he stressed. “We don’t want to disservice Laurel or Oliver by saying she could have a bad day, put on fishnets and start killing people.”

LOVIN’ DEATHSTROKE | The producers love visiting the island via flashback and hope to have Slade Wilson back as much as Manu Bennett’s schedule permits. But in addition to he and Oliver as a dingy, dynamic duo, “an unexpected third element” will soon be injected into their existence.

RELATED | Arrow‘s Felicity on Being Oliver’s Wingman, Her DC Wiki Page and More

A FELICITOUS MOMENT | Everyone credited Emily Bett Rickards with turning the (almost-)randomly named Felicity Smoake into a fan fave. Warner Bros. TV boss Peter Roth reportedly called the producers to remark, “I love the blonde IT girl!,” while Amell noted to his bosses, “I don’t think my character had cracked a smile” before he first met the computer wonk. David Ramsey, who plays Diggle, welcomes the new blood into the Arrowcave, quipping, “How many sit-ups can I watch this guy do?!”

EASTER EGG HUNT | Guggenheim said that nods to other DC properties/touchstones are typically “the very last thing we do” before locking in a script. Case in point: Naming Episode 6’s bankrobbers The Royal Flush Gang, or erecting a Big Belly Burger in town. Speaking of which….

ROAD TRIPS? | The city of Bludhaven — glimpsed last episode on a sign — will actually be visited this season, though Nightwing “will be out of town that week,” Kreisberg noted. As for other well-known DC Comics cities, he acknowledged, “There are two we will probably never go to — and you can probably figure out which those are.”

CLOTHED CALL | Berlanti said Arrow‘s cast came together more quickly than with any show he’s worked on, and that it was Amell’s “brilliant” audition — and not his abs — that cinched the gig.  “We did not see him without his shirt,” the EP shared. But once pilot footage started trickling in, Berlanti observed, “The stunt guy is really ripped! And [the director] said,’ No, that’s Stephen!’ And so the salmon ladder was born.”

WHO’S THE MYSTERY GUEST? | Asked by an audience member about the show’s knack for guest-casting genre TV faves like Torchwood‘s John Barrowman (Malcolm) and Fringe‘s Seth Gabel (soon to return as Vertigo), Kreisberg chose his words very carefully to tease, “There is an episode coming up with somebody who is one of the stars of a very popular genre show that you will all recognize and be happy that they’re on our show.” Guesses, anyone…?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. M3rc Nate says:

    Just watched it, loved it. So amazing that it was lead by Geoff Johns. No one could have done it better.

    To anyone who doesnt know, the PaleyFest panels are on Hulu.

    The question i would have asked if i was there…is in the comics, animated series, Smallville and everything else, Green Arrow is a playboy and charming, it comes naturally and it is also his cover. No one would expect the playboy Billionaire to be a vigilante. But so far Oliver on Arrow is pretty stoic, and a tiny bit robotic. Im curious if he will evolve into a character similar to what we saw in Smallville, or if he will stay how he is. I personally think hes still got a lot to work through in his head from the island and integrating back into the real world, then he might.

    • Tim says:

      Stephen Amell’s acting is suspect to me–i think that’s the robitic/stiffness you are picking up on—the sister bugs me too–the way she speaks is annoying.

      • Ruby says:

        I saw Ammell in another movie and he was stiff there as well…I think it’s just him. But I also think it works for this part.

      • Jake says:

        Yeah Stephen’s acting is really horrible but it’s the CW what do you expect. Arrow’s probably the only good thing on that network but for folks who don’t watch anything CW, Arrow’s pretty bad acting wise… I pretty much laugh when I’m watching the show.

      • M3rc Nate says:

        Ya i have thought this as well. Its good for the part but it seems to be him. But oh well, i like him a lot and iv gotten used to it and i really enjoy the show.

      • Jellymoff says:

        LOL, the sister drives my wife crazy. She says that the actress never opens her mouth all the way.

      • Chelisa says:

        I know! I can’t figure out if the actress is intentionally speaking that way, or if she just naturally does. Either way, it’s kinda grating…

    • Drew says:

      Oliver is Stoic when he is alone or with Diggle. He tends to act differently around different people. The public image still seems to be of a (slightly matured perhaps) party boy.

      They just spend a lot of the show with Oliver alone or with Diggle.

  2. Andy says:

    Bludhaven! That will be cool. I’m guessing Oliver won’t be visiting Metropolis or Gotham City anytime soon.

    • M3rc Nate says:

      They said no, but Geoff said “you never know” and they (producers) said “hes in charge so its up to him” cause Geoff obviously runs DC.

    • Jak says:

      I’m guessing Metropolis & Gotham, but also Smallville maybe, as they said there’ll be no one with super powers, I just hope as we get in to later seasons & towards the end we do see some DC characters appear & more places visited, at the moment the show is pretty much grounded (all enemies are just normal people) as we get maybe towards the final season we will see some villians that Clark faces, we’ll see but for now at least I’m hoping we stay with how it is, as it is working, at least when it comes to the final season they can say “Well here we go, you’ve waited for them, here they are.” While they’re building him up it’d be stupid for places like Gotham & Metropolis, but as I say bring them on at the end.

  3. Dj says:

    I want Grayson to appear. Maybe Nightwing will show up next season.

    • M3rc Nate says:

      They said no Nightwing, “hes outta town that week”.

    • At this point, Dick is most likely traveling in the circus with his parents. Oliver is Bruce’s contemporary, not Dick’s.

      • Drew says:

        Dick is about the same age as Roy.

        • Maybe. Sidekicks are contemporaries. Roy and Dick were in the Teen Titans. It’s possible that, right now, Dick is as old as Roy is on the TV show. Does that mean that he’s Nightwing or that he is Robin? If he is Nightwing, how old does that make Batman in the Arrow universe? And can Dick be Nightwing before Roy even becomes Speedy?

          • Drew says:

            Dick would probably be at the end of his Robin years, I think… it will probably be a while before Roy is Speedy though. But they should maybe wait a couple of seasons before Nightwing shows up.

          • Could be that Dick is in his college years, in between Robin and Nightwing.

            I’m glad we can talk about Grayson in this manner and not in terms of the Earth 2 version, who was still Robin well into his old age… urgh.

    • Azerty says:

      I say yes, definitely yes. I don’t know how they can manage the age problem (someone said Dick would be as young as Roy which is relevant and may be a problem because moving from Robin to Nightwing implies some maturity and a part of rebelion against Bruce) but anyway they make too much reference to Bludhaven to lose the opportunity to bring a live action Nightwing (I think it would be the first time right?).

  4. M says:

    I really want to say that the mystery guest is Nathan Fillion, but I doubt it is. Plus I’d hate to see him as a bad guy.

    • Joe says:

      Nathan’s played the bad guy before, and does it really well. If you’ve never seen him in Season 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Caleb the preacher…go watch now. Nathan is HELLA creepy.

      • M says:

        After watching so many episodes of Castle, I just don’t like the idea of him playing a bad guy. Other than in Dr. Horrible, but technically he’s the good guy. I guess I need to check out Buffy.

      • Ruby says:

        I love Fillion with my whole heart but he was scary as hell in that part. I have a hard time watching it because it’s so against anything I know about him.

  5. luli says:

    Where can I watch the panel if i live outside the usaa??? anyone??

  6. Ceylan says:

    I have the weirdest feeling that the mystery star might be oe of the guys from the Big Bang Theory

    • Alan says:

      ugh god no, i would rather someone who can act. those guys make the lame acting in the first 6 or so episodes of this show look oscar worthy.

    • Gem says:

      They said the mystery star was on a genre show which wouldn’t be the right categorization for the Big Bang Theory. It’s a comedy not an genre action show.

  7. Tom says:

    Just realized Felicity is the new Chloe Sullivan.

  8. Anna says:

    Maggie q

  9. Ian says:

    Love Felicity.
    Hate “the Undertaking”

    Just move the plot along and stop with so much fillers, the Island bits are getting so tedious I just fast forward through everything

  10. jj says:

    Can’t wait to see Canary. Love the show and characters except Tommy.

    HATE Tommy. (cannot stress this enough)

  11. Evyn says:

    No dammit I want Nighywing to appear, the rest of the looks really promising

  12. Sg. Grant says:

    Guest star Joshua Jackson.

  13. jedman says:

    The guest star is probably Tom Welling

  14. julia says:

    Stephen Amell is not a good actor the fact that his expressions are two : the shirt , without a shirt!

    • ChrisGa says:

      Yeah, I’ve warmed to him a little since the pilot and I think his “acting” fits the tone of the character, but sorry, Justin Hartley will always be Ollie to me.

      • Alan says:

        you know i think thats part of the reason people dont like him, if green arrow was never included in smallville then i get the feeling people would be a lot more positive about his acting. i think its just the usual case of people wanting what they cant have.

    • Jules says:

      He is not as bad as Katie Cassidy. Come on at least Amell has more than five expressions, She has none. Also Zero chemistry and cant act at all.

  15. nicole says:

    TOM WELLING? YES! but in the role of villain.

    • brb123 says:

      They won’t bring anyone from Smallville anytime soon, the show is trying to distinguish itself from Smallville’s Green Arrow and having guests from it won’t help them accomplish that.

  16. Alan says:

    i love that they can get geoff johns in to moderate the panel, shows how behind the show he is and based on the episode he wrote he needs to be involved more.
    im glad that they are taking their time with the likes of canary, we need to see the journey in order to make the end point look believable.

  17. Damongirl says:

    Maybe if Tom welling comes maybe it could be as bizarro Clark Kent’s alter ego that would be a major cool twist

  18. Drew says:

    Every time there is an emotionally guarded character on TV, people say that the actor is bad. They said the same thing about Anna Torv on Fringe until they started making her play different people and suddenly everyone.saw the nuance of the character.

    Stephen Amell has done a great job of playing the different layers of Oliver. He acts differently when he is around different people, which is as it should be. He is also played differently between the island scenes and the scenes in the present. He isn’t always a super emotional guy, but he is played exactly as he should be. Amell is doing a fine job with the character.

    • TVPeong says:

      I agree. Stephen Amell is doing a great job

      • brb123 says:

        Agreed, and he has created two characters that differ enough from each other successfully. I currently prefer the island Oliver to the current Oliver, but that might change as the show progresses,

        • Drew says:

          Both are interesting. I kinda like the Oliver of the present and seeing how he acts around the different people in his life. How much he lets them in and how much of himself he lets out.

      • brennan says:

        I completely agree. Amell is doing a great job. After going through everything he did on the island, I can see why Oliver should be shown as very somber at first. I think we are seeing a slow awakening of Oliver, and when you look at the season as a whole, I think Amell is acting it very well.

    • rikes says:

      Emotially guraded and still interesting is Dexter. Amell is just a bland actor no excuse for it

      • Drew says:

        I disagree. I think Amell has done a great job. I see a lot of nuance in the performance and think that he plays Oliver exactly as he should be played.
        Dexter is great, but voiceovers go a long way in that case. With Oliver you just have to watch him to pick up on the layers.

  19. Erin says:

    Not a big fan of Laurel’s character at all. Enjoy the Felicity character much more.

  20. Randy says:

    I hope they do use Nightwing and some others. I loved Smallville in the beginning because of the relationship between Lana and Clark. ( Kristen Kreuk got me hooked) The second half of the series was great because of the use of DC Nation. On Smallville they were not allowed to use Batman or Wonder Woman, I would be surprised if they used Superman to avoid comparisons. I wish they would make a live action series or movie out of Young Justice.

    • Azerty says:

      I agree it was the same for me, at first I was in love with Lana Lang (maybe still am) but the second part of Smallville with the Justice League was great and 12 years after Smallville I am no looking for teenage drama anymore and I am glad Arrow does not focus too much on the Laurel/Ollie relationship. If they turn Laurel into Black Canary, they will have no choice than bringing superpowers and that should open the door to other superpowers gifted heroes. But for next season I am still hoping for Nightwing. Would be nice to see him investigate Arrow and his method on Batman ‘s ideas.

      • JC says:

        Given that they’ve been pretty emphatic about the no superpowers thing, I’m pretty sure they’re going to do a non-superpowered version of Black Canary.

  21. lll says:

    I wil absolutely die if Tom Welling was the secret guest star.

  22. Ruby says:

    I have been back and forth on this show, sometimes it’s REALLY boring and seems directionless, but then the last couple of eps have been really good. I think they finally got me when Tommy asked Oliver if he was ever going to tell him [that he was the vigilante] and Oliver said “no”. Most shows would have just cut away without an answer or had the character lie, so I liked and was surprised by the fact that he was honest. And the scene was so emotional, Ammell really acted the hell out of that moment. So I think I am a fan now. They really need to do something better with Katie Cassidy’s character though…every time they go to her I’m just bored out of my mind. And I really like Katie, so it’s not about her. I just really don’t care at all what’s going on with her and Tommy. I think the stuff on the island is actually the strongest part of the show. And I love Felicity and Diggle. I’d love to see a bit more on their lives outside of Oliver, actually.

    • Jules says:

      They need to get rid of Katie Cassidy FIRST, before they do something with her character. She is the worst actor in the show, and if they give her good material it will only go to waste.

  23. TVPeong says:

    I love Felicity and Diggle. I mean how many times can Diggle watch Oliver do abs?

  24. Jake says:

    The thing with Arrow is it doesn’t really have a heart, it’s just monotone episodes with random people showing up. I’m not expecting to much because it’s the CW so my expectations are pretty low. But sometimes I get really bored with this show and sometimes I’m really excited but the thing it lacks the most is heart. Other superhero shows that watched the past 20 years have had heart, with heroes you can enjoy and root for, but with Arrow not so much. Oh well. For me Arrow’s just a good time pass after a long work day.

    • Patrick says:

      There is a great scene in a big fantasy epic book series where the main character has pretty much abandoned emotion. His friend tells him that he cannot survive in his emotionless state. The main character then replies that he is well aware of that. He goes on to state that he doesn’t need to survive. All he has to do is kill the big bad and then die. He doesn’t need to survive the final fight, merely win it. To me, this sums up Ollie’s “plan.” He wants to save his city. Because of what he has had to become in order to achieve that, I don’t think he really plans on surviving that fight. Or even if he does, he seems resigned to the belief that he is no longer really capable of normal human interaction. He has become a killing machine. He evaluates people based on strengths and weaknesses. He knows how to defeat anyone he comes into contact with. That doesn’t scream well adjusted.

    • brb123 says:

      I disagree, I think Arrow has a heart and I think characters such as Diggle, Felicity, and Oliver have a heart too, though Oliver is quite messed up

    • Kelv says:

      True, find the show lacking in heart. Many of the other characters seem like they are just there, there is nothing to make one want to root for them.

  25. luli says:

    I want to see Olicity!!! Is that happening any time soon or at least in season 2???

  26. Shaun says:

    My guess is it’s someone who was on Stargate…..Robert Carlyle or Amanda Tapping

  27. Julia says:

    Not to say that Arrow is a great product, packaged in a tip of the camera, with a flawless mix of suspense, adrenaline, intrigue, complete, thriller, romance and sense of civic duty. The problem is that Amell, in the role of the protagonist far too undressed, capture the eye’s attention to such an extent as to make women go all in the background. Even the fact that his expressions are two: the shirt, without a shirt.

  28. Margot says:

    Arrowr, from the first episode lost 1million viewers

  29. Rjrtist says:

    Mystery guest is Colton Haynes.

  30. Berry says:

    Here’s hoping the great mystery guest will be James Marsters. Seeing him and John Barrowman working together again would be so amazing!

  31. Zorkel567 says:

    So, we know already Shado will be the third presence in the Slade/Oliver team. Nice to see Vertigo will be back soon, that makes me happy. Maybe in the season fnale. I really hope Nightwing shows up next season. I wish they had addressed the possibility of Colton being a regular next season, though.

    • Drew says:

      I am curious to see how much of Shado’s story from the comics carries into the series. Seems like an odd choice, bringing in a character who spoilered Oliver and spoilered his spoiler if they’re not going to play out that story.

      (Keeping it blanked out just in case they actually go there) :-)

  32. 2pala says:

    I’m guessing David Tennant.

  33. Josh says:

    as long as we get more Deadshot I’m happy,

  34. sarah says:

    Stephen Amell is a mediocre actor has a face too hard can not express an emotion. but there were other actors?

    • Zath says:

      Were is this Amell hate coming from, He actually is expressive and is working hard in this show.

      They are far worse actors than that, Willa Holland, Katie Cassidy, Colin Donell.

      • 2pala says:

        Zath: I agree. Stephan Amell is getting better and better with each episode, and he works hard. But I also think Willa Holland and Colin Donell are getting better too. Maybe they’ll send Katie Cassidy’s Laurel away in training to be the Black Canary, but in fact send Katie back t acting school.

      • Alan says:

        i dont get the hate for colin donnel. since the reveal of malcolm as his father and everything that came with that he has been knocking it out of the park for me. i hated the character in the first 5 or so episodes but now he ranks just below felicity, deathstroke and diggle in my opinion.

        • ChrisGa says:

          Yeah, I’m with you I don’t get the dislike for him. He’s a better actor than Amell–sorry, but he is–and frankly he’s better on this show than Katie Cassidy, who’s usually a slam dunk but I fear is woefully miscast here. And yeah, I’d rank him just below Felicity and Diggle but ahead of Deathstroke–though I do heart Manu Bennett–and I’d throw Moira in the mix too because Susanna Thompson is just so damn good.

          • claw says:

            I dont dislike Colin Donnell, however Tommy is so whiny and dull. LOL I wouldnt put him near Felicity, come on, they are far away as day and night

            Yes to someone who said Katie Cassidy needs to go to acting school

  35. sarah says:

    I love everthing about this show! One of my top shows!

  36. jakesorenson says:

    jerry o’connell – sliders? LOL JK

    • 2pala says:

      If you’re still guessing who the mystery guest star is, I’ll say again, my guess would be David Tennant, the previous Dr. Who, since one of the producers (?) is such a Dr Who fan.

  37. jakesorenson says:

    i lnow it would never happen but timothy olyphant would be sweet

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