Their aim is true

Ar­row year three is upon us. Joseph McCabe draws his bow…

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Arrow -

It’s fit­ting that the saga of the world’s great­est marks­man hit its tar­gets last sea­son. Breathtaking ac­tion? Bulls­eye. Sex­ual ten­sion? Bulls­eye. Scope, spec­ta­cle, and heart­stop­ping sus­pense? Bulls­eye, bulls­eye... bulls­eye! But even after de­feat­ing his dead­li­est op­po­nent ever in Slade Wilson ( aka Death­stroke) and rid­ding Star­ling City of his su­per- pow­ered army, can even Oliver Queen ( played once more by the laser- fo­cused Stephen Amell) tri­umph against Ra’s al Ghul, ar­guably the most di­a­bol­i­cal mas­ter­mind in the en­tire DC Uni­verse? A vil­lain who, time and again, has outwitted even the Caped Cru­sader him­self ?

ar­row the third

“It’s all about iden­tity,” says showrun­ner Marc Guggen­heim of the emer­ald archer’s third sea­son. “Is it Oliver or is it the Ar­row? Can he be both? Nor­mally our theme is Oliver- cen­tric, and that’s cer­tainly true again, but this year what’s cool is that theme also res­onates with all the other char­ac­ters. Lau­rel – ‘ Am I Lau­rel or am I my sis­ter?’ Thea – ‘ Am I Thea Queen or am I Thea Mer­lyn?’ Dig – ‘ Am I a crime­fighter or am I a fa­ther?’ Felic­ity – ‘ Am I Oliver’s crush ob­ject or do I have my own iden­tity out­side of him?’ Ev­ery­one’s got their own lit­tle ques­tion of iden­tity and dilemma this year. It’s cool to have a theme that we ac­tu­ally look at through all of our char­ac­ters.” Amidst that du­al­ity, how­ever, lies a leg­endary

“When a vigilante kills, they’re do­ing bad things for a right­eous pur­pose”

Big Bad ( played by ac­tor Matt Nable) with an agenda he be­lieves is more noble than that of Star­ling ’s cham­pion.

“Evil peo­ple don’t think that they’re evil,” ex­plains Guggen­heim. “They think they’re do­ing the right thing. [ Ra’s al Ghul] will have a sim­i­lar self- right­eous agenda. Those char­ac­ters are just more in­ter­est­ing, and it’s more re­al­is­tic. Sad­dam Hus­sein, Osama bin Laden, all th­ese jerks – they didn’t think they were jerks. When you have a vigilante character killing peo­ple, that’s a character who is do­ing bad things for a right­eous pur­pose. You’ve got to con­trast them with a bad guy also do­ing bad things for a right­eous pur­pose, and force the au­di­ence to say, ‘ Why is this guy a good guy, and why is this guy a bad guy?’”

per­sonal tar­gets

Ex­pect Oliver’s sis­ter Thea ( Willa Hol­land) to take her own jour­ney be­tween good and evil this year. When we left the for­mer debu­tante, she’d aban­doned both her brother Oliver and boyfriend Roy ( Colton Haynes), and ac­cepted the pro­tec­tion of Mal­colm Mer­lyn ( John Bar­row­man), whom she’d just learned was her birth fa­ther.

“One of the things we re­ally wanted to bring into sea­son three that was present in sea­son one, but wasn’t re­ally part of sea­son two, was the el­e­ment of mys­tery. Sea­son one had a lot of mys­tery to it. There was The Un­der­tak­ing, there was The Well- Dressed Man, who we re­vealed was John Bar­row­man. There was a con­spir­acy, and there was a sense of cloakand- dag­ger that sea­son two – be­cause it was more of a straight- up re­venge story – didn’t have. One of the things that we de­cided at the be­gin­ning of sea­son three is to re- in­ject that el­e­ment into the show. John’s character Mal­colm Mer­lyn al­lows us to do that be­cause he’s a mys­te­ri­ous fig­ure, but also [ be­cause] his agenda is mys­te­ri­ous. We ended sea­son two, be­tween him and Thea, on this note of ‘ Ooh, what’s go­ing to hap­pen next?’ We’re ac­tu­ally go­ing to show you the re­main­der of that scene in the limo, and what she said to him, and what he said to her after they ba­si­cally looked at each other and we cut out. A big part of the fun of sea­son three is the mys­tery of ‘ Where is Mal­colm? What is Mal­colm up to?’ That will evolve and roll out slowly over the course of at least the first ten episodes.

“John Bar­row­man’s a se­ries reg­u­lar and he will be in at least 18 episodes this year. So he’s part of the cast now, of­fi­cially. Our goal is to sur­prise you. He’s not the Big Bad of sea­son three. We’re not go­ing to end sea­son three with a big fight be­tween Mal­colm and Oliver be­cause we’ve done that al­ready. So the fun of sea­son three and Mal­colm’s pres­ence in it is the un­ex­pected ways that he is in­jected into the story.”

Mer­lyn’s re­la­tion­ship with Thea is just one ex­am­ple of what Guggen­heim’s fel­low exec An­drew Kreis­berg tells SFX will be a sta­ple re­cur­ring theme of sea­son three – “new com­bi­na­tions of char­ac­ters that haven’t pre­vi­ously been ex­plored.

“There’s also op­por­tu­ni­ties for char­ac­ters who hadn’t re­ally got­ten an op­por­tu­nity to shine yet to re­ally find them­selves this year,” con­tin­ues Kreis­berg. “Es­pe­cially Lau­rel and Thea. Katie [ Cas­sidy] and Willa have been two of our strong­est play­ers and we haven’t al­ways fig­ured out a suc­cess­ful way to present their char­ac­ters. This sea­son it’s go­ing to be their year. It’s al­ways about Oliver, and Oliver’s cer­tainly at the fore­front, but there’s def­i­nitely room in this show to have some of the other char­ac­ters, whether it be Dig or Felic­ity or Lau­rel or Mal­colm, step for­ward and com­mand an en­tire episode on their own.”

In­deed the back­story of Oliver’s Girl Fri­day Felic­ity will at long last be re­vealed in the sea­son’s fifth episode (“The Se­cret Ori­gin of Felic­ity Smoak”), and the pair’s re­la­tion­ship will be de­fined.

“They’ve grown in close­ness through the years,” ad­mits Guggen­heim. “There’s been th­ese in­ter­ven­ing months that have hap­pened be­tween the fi­nale and the first episode. We show that there’s almost a do­mes­tic qual­ity to their lives and how they’ve grown to­gether.”

Felic­ity’s feel­ings for Oliver will grow in­creas­ingly com­pli­cated with the in­tro­duc­tion of another DC main­stay: Ray

Palmer. Bet­ter known as The Atom, he’s played by Su­per­man Re­turns lead Bran­don Routh, and is set to put the cat amongst the pi­geons at Queen In­dus­tries this sea­son.

“Bran­don Routh is great,” says ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Greg Ber­lanti ( who de­vel­oped Ar­row along with Guggen­heim and Kreis­berg). “He’s so tall and strap­ping and charm­ing, and he can go toe- to- toe with Oliver. We said we had John Wayne with Oliver, and we wanted Cary Grant. Bran­don has that qual­ity.”

With the in­tro­duc­tion of the Atom’s al­ter ego, Ar­row, ex­plains Kreis­berg, will fur­ther widen its embrace of the DC Uni­verse’s more fan­tas­tic el­e­ments. “That was why we in­cluded the Mi­rakuru serum last sea­son. We joked that it was our ‘ gate­way su­per­power.’ That if you could ac­cept that much of a su­per­power then the Flash wouldn’t be too much for you to han­dle. But the Ar­row­verse, which in­cludes the Flash, is def­i­nitely chang­ing, and it’s a world in which peo­ple are go­ing to ac­cept that things that were thought to be fan­tas­ti­cal – whether it’s the Flash or what­ever Ray Palmer’s up to this sea­son – they’re go­ing to re­alise they’re liv­ing in a world where those things are pos­si­ble.

“All that be­ing said,” adds Kreis­berg, “the show is called Ar­row and it’s about Oliver Queen, and as much as fan­tas­ti­cal char­ac­ters pop in and out of his life, it’s still about a man try­ing to save his city.”

all a- quiver

In ad­di­tion to new­com­ers like Palmer and Ra’s al Ghul, Ar­row fans will be treated to re­turn­ing faves like Roy Harper ( who fi­nally dons a red suit like that of his comic- book coun­ter­part), the Flash ( yes, a crossover with his new show is in the works), and Sara Lance ( ac­tress Caity Lotz), aka The Black Ca­nary.

“We love Caity and she’s amaz­ing,” says Guggen­heim. “She re­ally was such a big part of sea­son two that we ab­so­lutely had to bring her back for sea­son three. We made a re­cur­ring deal for three episodes, but we’ve got ideas and cer­tainly a need beyond three. So we’re gonna see her in a re­cur­ring role the way John Bar­row­man was re­cur­ring in sea­son two... One of the things we want to do that’s been on our bucket list since last year is we want to do a flash­back story that ba­si­cally takes Sarah from the shores of Lian Yu after the Amazo went down to Nanda Parbat and be­com­ing a mem­ber of the League of As­sas­sins. And ex­plain how she meets Nyssa [ al Ghul] and how that re­la­tion­ship de­vel­oped. All that is some­thing we are ab­so­lutely de­ter­mined to do. We just don’t know what episode it’s gonna go in yet.”

With the de­ter­mi­na­tion Ar­row is show­cas­ing on both sides of the cam­era, Ber­lanti as­sures SFX that the show will be truer than ever to its comic- book roots. “The fun for me is the ac­tion- ad­ven­ture el­e­ment. Ev­ery week is this larger- than- life kind of ac­tion- ad­ven­ture that touches down for hu­man mo­ments. We re­ally do ref­er­ence the comic books in that way too. They just lend them­selves, struc­turally and tonally, to what net­work TV has

be­come.”

Leather. Hard wear­ing and hard to wear.

The bar­bell turned in­vis­i­ble mid- lift.

Roy fi­nally dons the cos­tume. Fetch­ing, eh?

Never in­sult a man’s hat in pub­lic.

“Look at that lin­ing! Lovely.”

Queen In­dus­tries dress code: saucy.

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