Arrow Boss Shoots Down Thea Theory, Addresses 'Killer' Twist, That Juicy Reveal and Other Burning Qs

Arrow Manu Bennett Returns

The crafty creatives behind The CW’s Arrow (Wednesdays at 8/7c) are famously loath to reveal too much, so as to keep the superhero drama’s many mysteries and mythologies churning.

But during our in-depth conversation with Marc Guggenheim, the showrunner put to rest at least one theory that’s making rounds, while also teasing this week’s exploration of Ted Grant’s “Wildcat” alter ego (and how it will shed light on Starling City’s pre-Arrow vigilante past), the imminent moment fans have long waited for, Sara’s “return” and a juicy reveal to be unleashed during the two-night crossover with The Flash.

TVLINE | Would you say that Season 3’s first five episodes were spent getting certain characters to certain places before diving deep into the Big Bad/Ra’s al Ghul storyline?
Not really…. One of the things we always take into account when we’re planning out the season is the fact that Episode 9 (airing Dec. 10) is typically our midseason finale, so we try to create with those first nine episodes sort of its own little mini-season. Obviously there’s a certain amount of pivoting off of where we left our characters in the finale, there’s bringing various people back into play, there’s mixing up the kind of episodes — Villain of the Week, Mythology, Relationships-Centric…. There’s a whole host of different things that go into it, and it’s different for every season.

TVLINE | Coming out of the last episode, obviously it’s easy for us to speculate, “Oh, Roy has implanted memories,” or he was brainwashed, Guiltyor it’s Mirakuru aftereffects…. Regardless of the truth, why was it important to hit this beat?
That’s a good question — I appreciate the way it is phrased, so as to avoid spoilers — but it’s a hard one to answer. The one thing I’ll say is that hopefully in the first two years of the show, we’ve done so many crazy things, things that people have found unexpected, that even the stuff that seems patently crazy on its face you are wondering, “Well, that really might happen, because those guys really are just that nuts!”

TVLINE | It was definitely a most unexpected tag to that episode. I for one was like, “What the….?!”
That’s great to hear. That was definitely part of our game plan. Look, certainly the mystery of “Who killed Sara?” is a mystery where there’s only so many suspects, mainly because were not going to be jerks and introduce some day player character at the last moment. When the ultimate reveal happens, it will be someone who you know. Or maybe the reveal has already happened? Hopefully we’ve opened up a world where anything is possible, and to me that’s the most fun part of working on the show.

TVLINE | The “Who killed Sara?” Unthinkablemystery won’t run all season, though, right?
No, it wont be the entire season, but at the same time, to tell you when we’re going to turn that card over — if we haven’t already done so — would be bordering on spoiler territory.

TVLINE | And we definitely will be seeing Caity Lotz again, in some form of new scenes?
Yeah — we actually know when we’ll be seeing Caity Lotz again, but it’s a little down the road. We have a really clear plan as to when it’s going to happen.

TVLINE | Tell me about Arrow‘s take on “Wildcat,” because I was not expecting to see any semblance of a costume, but the promo for this week’s episode teases something.
One of the things that we started the year off talking about was the idea of doing Ted Grant and Wildcat, for a couple of reasons. First of all, as comic book fans know, Ted Grant trained the original Black Canary, and the idea of him training Laurel, given what I call Guilty“her comic book trajectory,” was too juicy to pass up. Plus, the character of Wildcat is a very grounded, street-level vigilante, and that fits very nicely into Arrow‘s world. With Ted, we have a bit of a spin; one of the things we found intriguing as the idea of “What if Oliver wasn’t the first vigilante in Starling City?” So we’ll get a chance to, with this week’s episode, do a deep dive into the backstory of Starling City. We’re really excited about this episode, because it’s got a little bit of everything for the fans – and there’s one moment in it that fans have literally been asking for since the pilot, so we’ll get to deliver on that.

TVLINE | I’m admittedly not that familiar with the Cupid character aka “Oliver’s No. 1 fan” being introduced Nov. 19 (and played by Amy Gumenick) — is she some sort of ongoing stalker pest, like Rose from Two and a Half Men?
[Laughs] Basically, by the end of Episode 7, she’ll have what I’ll describe as “a new status quo” that will suggest to you exactly how and when and under what circumstances we’ll see Cupid again.

TVLINE | Speaking of: Has no one in town noticed the surge in archery equipment sales in sporting goods stores?
[Laughs] It’s a good question.

TVLINE | Or, maybe mail order is the answer.
I think that’s the thing — no one’s really buying stuff in the brick-and-mortar stores, which is a shame, actually.The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak

TVLINE | Speaking of the new generation of badasses: People are wondering if it could it be that Thea actually knows Oliver’s secret identity. I invite you to make an argument for why Malcolm would not have dropped that bombshell on her.
I’ll tell you, because I don’t think it’s a spoiler: Thea does not know that Oliver is the Arrow. We sort of played that trick with Moira — the idea that ever since the end of Season 1, Moira knew that Oliver was the Arrow — and to have Thea be in possession of that knowledge and not be telling Oliver would be repeating ourselves a bit, which we try hard to avoid doing. That said, the reason Malcolm doesn’t tell Thea Oliver’s secret is because that is Oliver’s secret to tell. The thing about Malcolm is we’ve always tried to write him as “the word’s most principled bad guy.” He has a very distinct code of honor. Even when he destroyed the city at the end of Season 1, he considered it to be for very noble, altruistic purposes. He was “burning the village to save it.” So where Malcolm is concerned, he doesn’t act like your typical villain. He believes that he’s doing the right thing by Thea, and he also believes that Oliver is like a son to him. Being like a son to him, he’s not going to spoiler Oliver’s secret.

TVLINE | What is the Ray Palmer plan? We’ve only been getting drips and drabs, the occasional raised eyebrow….The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak
For us, one of the fun things of Season 3 is, “Who is Ray Palmer? And what’s going on with him? And what is his plan?” There’s certainly history to suggest that whoever’s in charge of Queen Consolidated doesn’t always have the city’s best interests at heart. We got a little tease of it at the end of Episode 3, and we’ll get another tease at the end of Episode 7 (airing Nov. 19). And we’ll probably get our most concrete “mission statement” out of him at the end of Episode 9.

TVLINE | Stephen Amell recently teased an epic shirtless fight scene that had to be shirtless. That’s still on the horizon?
That’s still coming up – that’s Episode 9.

TVLINE | Also, there have been many hints about a great Arrow reveal during the two-night crossover (airing Dec. 2 and 3), but it’s in the Flash episode. Will the payoff continue the following night, on Arrow?
No, actually. The great thing about the Arrow reveal in Flash is that it’s basically a reveal just to the audience. We’ll be seeing more things happening with it down the road.

Want more scoop on Arrow, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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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66 Comments
  1. Kate says:

    I’m fairly certain I know what the Arrow reveal to us in the Flash will be…it likely comes in the form of a ten year old boy or at least the introduction of a woman in her early thirties as like, I don’t know, a DA or some other job that comes in regular contact with the police department and she has a kid at home but she just is introduced as a character in the world of the Flash and we can all grin at home when she says her name is Sandra.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      I know that’s a theory, but it’d be tricky to establish/make crystal clear, especially on an episode of THE FLASH. It’d at the very least require a quick cut to that flashback with Moira, but who’s having that flashback? Sandra, upon, what, glimpsing Oliver in Central City? (And does that mean we’re locked into the one-off Sandra casting?)

    • Liz says:

      The reveal could be that Oliver knows the child is alive. It might be as simple as a quick scene with mother and child. For safety reasons of course the child has no knowledge

  2. Mary says:

    What I want to know is, when will Laurel finally tell her father and mother about what happened to Sara?

  3. Till says:

    I’m confused, I was pretty sure Thea knew his brother was the Arrow in S2. When she was kidnapped by Slade, didn’t he tell her everything about Oliver? I thought it was pretty clear.

    • kd83954 says:

      It’s been awhile so I may be wrong but I’m fairly certain Slade just alluded to Oliver being more than what he’s presenting himself as. He didn’t tell Thea straight out about Oliver being the Arrow but he definitely hinted that there’s some big deep dark secret he’s been keeping from her. I think Oliver covered himself with the whole Malcolm being Thea’s dad bit –he used that secret to protect the Arrow. This is a big reason why Thea left Starling City with Malcolm.

      • johnhelvete says:

        Slade told Thea that Oliver had a secret, and the secret was that Oliver knew that Malcolm was Thea’s father. Thea confronted Oliver about it at the police station after she was safely returned in the scene where she did not even acknowledge her mother at all because she expected her mother to lie to her but not Oliver.

    • Erin2 says:

      No, what Slade told Thea when he kidnapped her was that Malcom was her father!

  4. Linda P says:

    If they’re going to bring in the Lazarus Pit, please let it be for Shado, not Sara. (Though what he probably means is Caty will be in a flashback). Laurel’s story – not interested in the least.

    • Cheyenne says:

      Tommy!

    • Phantom says:

      Agree with you. Could care less about Laurel’s story. She cant act as far as I am concerned. They killed off the wrong sister. We all loved Sara and her character….they made a big mistake with letting Laurel live and killing off Sara, who could actually act very well.

  5. herman1959 says:

    OK, I get it, episode 9 is REALLY important.

  6. sladewilson says:

    That Arrow reveal? Why do I have a strange feeling that it has everything to do with Harrison and what part Ollie plays in Barry’s future….

    • sladewilson says:

      BTW – if any or some or all of these names are the reveal, comic heads will explode: Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner, John Stewart and or (come on you know where I’m going) Hal Jordan…. After all, Green Lantern, Green Arrow and Flash are the three amigos of the DC Universe….

  7. Tim says:

    They need to keep Ray Palmer around—he’s great!

  8. Foshi says:

    Not too much to jump up and down about from these reveals. I am enjoying the way in which Thea and Roy are being written this season. I think less (me by that I mean subtle) is more with some characters. I’m interested to see how Ray’s story unfolds but only in relation to QC and Oliver and Felicity. I’m sensing this episode is heavy with characters I don’t care for so I probably won’t watch live but hopefully they’ll be some great OG Team Arrow next week!!!.

  9. kath says:

    Wow, other than Roy’s story and Cupid, there’s nothing here that I’m interested in,. Least of all Laurel becoming Insta-Canary. Not even Oliver shirtless scenes can make up for that.

    I need more Diggle and Felicity to keep watching.

  10. gadgetguy03 says:

    I wonder if the reveal will be Ray Palmer shrinking and becoming the Atom.

  11. Ben says:

    I absolutely think the big reveal will be Oliver’s son or something to do with him. The mother went to Central City and Harrison Wells will have a hand in revealing this via seeing the child or a camera shot of the future Red Arrow, Conner Hawk

    • herman1959 says:

      I’m no expert, since I just started watching Arrow after The Flash previewed, but this (Arrow 3.0) seems like too juicy a reveal for the first half of the season. I would think they would save it for later, but you never know.

    • anonymous says:

      I was actually hoping they would just forget about that storyline altogether. The kid would be like 8 years old what are they going to do with him? Nothing anytime soon except cause annoying emotional issues for Oliver. Dude has enough emotional issues without adding surprise kid to the mix. He can’t even figure out how to be a normal human being outside of his mask yet, the last thing he needs is to have to figure out how to be dad too. Somehow that just sounds painful to watch. I’d rather skip it. At least for now. The kid is probably perfectly happy with his mom and a step dad and their 2 million dollars and doesn’t need an emotionally stunted vigilante surprise dad to just appear in his life. This was just a very ill advised storyline to start right now. Maybe once Oliver has his life together but please not now. Just no.

  12. Cheyenne says:

    Can they please just make Thea a supper villain? That’s all I ask. Potentially going full dark side is literally the only interesting thing that has ever happened with this character.

    • Moment says:

      I would hope not. I personally want to see Thea continue to grow, and at some point fight side by side with Oliver.

      • Cheyenne says:

        See, and I want the opposite. I want her to become the villain and I don’t want her to get a redemption arc somewhere down the line either. I just want her to be pure evil.

        • Moment says:

          While your idea is interesting and plausible, I just don’t think she has it in her.

        • Briggs says:

          I think the way they had her trying to open the door to the lair is foreshadowing. She’s trying to get into every facet of her brother’s life. I don’t see why she has to be evil. For me, that would be too predictable. Far more interesting is the idea that she finds out his secret at the same time he finds out hers. And they work it out, because they’re family, and she’s already made it clear how important family is to her now. Making her a villain works against all that.

          • brynnomsfordmommasqwirl says:

            Yeah, she was definitely looking for something. She never seemed to notice or care about that door before? even if Malcolm has not told her that Oliver is Arrow he seems to have told her enough to still doubt him and think that he is still keeping secrets. I still don’t trust her since coming back from her time with Daddy, which I think is the point right now. I do agree that her going all bad just seems so predictable.

        • daisydaze says:

          That’s what I’ve been hoping for! Thea could take on her father’s name and become Merlyn the Dark Archer. Talk about emotional upheaval, but hey, that’s just good storytelling!

      • Jared says:

        I actually love that idea. Im glad they decided to let Thea grow as a character. Ive become really interested in her storyline lately.

    • Maryann says:

      That would be terrible! I like Thea way more than Laurel. It would be great to see her a costumed part of team Arrow at some point. She has both the maturity and the fighting skills for it, while Laurel does not.

    • anonymous says:

      Yeah that’s a big no to Thea being evil. She has her issues but she is a good person at heart. And she and Oliver need each other. One day, not really anytime soon but one day, she needs to be fighting with Oliver, not against him. She can make mistakes along the way but she and Oliver are the only family they’ve got left, ultimately they need to end up on the same team.

  13. With Cupid coming up it keeps making me think that she’s behind Sara’s murder. Her storyline in the comics was that she was a crazy stalker of Green Arrow so she kept trying to kill Black Canary so she could replace her as his partner. But I suppose that wouldn’t be a “big” enough payoff.

    • Briggs says:

      I’m not sure the media ever knew about BC, so I don’t know how she knew about her, let alone where to find her to kill her.

    • KatsMom says:

      Sara seemed to recognize her killer since she asked, “What’re you doing here?” or something like that. They’d have to establish that Sara knew Cupid somehow for that to work.

  14. Tony Lang says:

    I want the Vegan Police to show up and use the deVeganizing ray on Ray…

  15. K says:

    This season is so disappointing. I feel like I’m not even watching Arrow anymore. It’s all about Laurel now.

    • Jared says:

      All about Laurel??..lol what show are you watching?

      • Briggs says:

        Really. I meant, didn’t we just have an ep that was practically all about Felicity? I mean, someone pulled together all the scenes with Felicity in them, and it totally 33 out of 40-something minutes. Laurel has maybe 5-10 minutes per ep, like anyone else not-Oliver, unless there’s a specific focus.

  16. Briggs says:

    I *knew* Thea didn’t know. And Malcolm makes sense, really. That conversation will be fun to watch, for many reasons, not the least of which being that Thea might *finally* understand why Oliver never told her about Malcolm in the first place.

  17. Jared says:

    First off let me just say that Arrow has become one of the best shows currently on TV. But what I dont understand is why Oliver would keep Thea in the dark about him being the vigilante. What would be so bad about her knowing? Especially considering everyone in Olivers circle(that he cares about) now knows his secret. The same goes for Barry Allen not telling his sister/friend Iris that he is The Flash. Whats the big deal?? Anyway I hope that Roy is NOT Sara’s killer. I love him as Olivers protege especially this season so I hope this is just something to add to the mystery of “who killed sara” and not away to make Roy an enemy.

  18. I hate when I get done reading interviews with TPTB and I start seriously questioning their logic.

  19. Joey Padron says:

    Great interview. Can’t wait to watch new episode tonight!

  20. sophia7470 says:

    Wow. There is literally nothing of interest in any of this for me…how disappointing!

    Where is news about what Oliver is going through? His storyline? You know? The actual lead character of the show?!

    Where is mention of Diggle? Felicity?!

    Sigh. There’s little here to get excited about, beyond Roy and Cupid.

    And quit bringing characters back from the dead – it makes their loss meaningless… “next week on Arrow, Robert and Moira return, and have a face off with Isabel!!”. Meh.

    And I wish they’d spin Laurel off onto her own Black Canary show. Then I’d be relieved of ever having to watch it.

    • Briggs says:

      Matt’s stated in the comments section that he has more. Find the comment and e-mail him. If you really want it, ask for it. Don’t just complain. That hasn’t gotten us anywhere.

  21. V says:

    I hope the reveal is something that fans of both shows can enjoy. If it’s something about Arrow’s kid or something like that, fans of the Flash series wouldn’t have a reason to care. If it is, however, something about the overall DC universe, that would be more entertaining. Like if they reveal that Batman and Superman actually already exist in this world. Or if the “reveal” is that Felicity’s dad is Toyman or Ultrahumanite or something.

  22. Maryann says:

    I don’t care for Palmer in the least, and would just like to see him gone, along with a return of Queen Consolidated to Oliver.

  23. Maryann says:

    Hey, Matt, the next time you do an interview with TPTB for Arrow, could you please consider asking if Oliver will ever get Queen Consolidated and/or his family wealth back?

  24. skyblaze77 says:

    Wonder if it’s possible that thea killed Sara?

  25. Lauren says:

    Ever wonder that maybe Sin killed Sara?

  26. jason harper says:

    When Malcolm said to Oliver there are places in this world where death is an illusion after the climb that’s what’s going to happen Oliver will live