When the CW's Arrow returns tonight look for Oliver's enemies -- the Dark Archer, Brother Blood and Slade -- to increase their efforts to destroy him, but don't expect to see Barry Allen, aka the Flash, anytime soon, said Arrow's creator and executive producer Andrew Kreisberg in an exclusive interview with Blastr.
Arrow returns tonight with a new episode, and you can expect both the bad guys and the heroes to return in a big way.
Kreisberg chatted with us and spilled five big secrets about the rest of Arrow's second season, including the Flash, the new Big Bad and those tasty easter eggs that keep popping up.
Will the Flash return?
Grant Gustin made a big splash as Dr. Barry Allen, the eventual Flash, before the show's break. “If we hadn't had Grant, we're not sure what we would have done. We worked really hard on the character and the script, and we were just truly blessed that, like with Stephen [Amell], the first guy through the door was the one we needed,” said Kreisberg.
However, “we won't see more of him in this season. There will be a lot of ties to the Flash pilot. Hopefully we'll get to do more. Barry Allen and Grant had such a big impact on our show in those two episodes. It's an impact felt throughout the rest of the season,” he said. Kreisberg and his team are working to develop a Flash TV series for The CW, which will likely premiere in fall if it gets picked up.
“We look a lot to Buffy and Angel, the way Joss Whedon runs his shows. On Buffy, when they did the episode 'Hush,' or when they had a seasonal episode, it could have been a 'gimmick episode.' But it also came along at the exact right time to help illustrate what was going on with the characters. We were very taken with that. In a way, bringing in the Flash could have been a gimmick, but we hopefully tried the best way possible to have Barry's appearance not only tell the story of Barry Allen but really help further along with the story of Oliver Queen and Felicity and the relationship with Felicity and Oliver's journey as a hero and Oliver's journey as Oliver. I think that's why we're so proud of episodes eight and nine, because we feel like they were a great introduction to the Flash but also our best episodes of Arrow.”
Despite all the excitement surrounding Barry Allen's appearance, “the show is called Arrow. It's still the story of Oliver Queen, and of course we're going to keep it so.”
The bad guys are back in force
“Now that we've set the table, now it's time to eat,” said Kreisberg. In fact, it looks like a big meal is in store, with Arrow having his hands full trying to ward off not only some big-time villains, but ones who know his identity.
“It would be a pretty good guess to suspect that John Barrowman will be back. You don't drop a bombshell like that without having a game plan,” he said. Barrowman, who plays Malcolm Merlin and the Dark Archer. He stalked Moira as we discovered that he was not only alive, but also Thea's daddy. Oh, my!
And in the other big revelation before the break we learned that Slade was behind many of the evil deeds in the first part of the season. “We know that Slade is the villain in the present day and he's behind Blood's election and his rise to power. Unlike last season, where the villain was unaware of Oliver, of the Arrow's identity, this season Slade is very much on a mission of revenge against Oliver Queen,” he said.
The first episode returning is "Blast Radius," and "Oliver is on the hunt for the man in the skull mask, unaware that the man who's in league with Slade Wilson is in fact his new friend Sebastian. So that hunt gets sidetracked when a serial bomber begins targeting Starling City, played by Sean Maher. The character is based on the comic book Shrapnel. We're excited to have Sean join the cast for an episode. Felicity is also recovering ... Felicity actually has been out of town. She went to go visit Barry. So we'll be hearing a little bit about what happened to Barry and the emotional impact on both Felicity and Oliver,” said Kreisberg. Maher is best know by sci-fi audiences from Firefly.
"Now that Oliver saw the man in the skull mask, hunting him down would make up the bulk of the next few episodes when we return," he said.
And the new Big Bad is...
Slade is indeed the new Big Bad, said Kreisberg. “The back half of the season sees his fall from grace on the island and just how far he's willing to go to destroy Oliver's life. You obviously see this at the very beginning in their fallout, that Oliver feels culpability in Shado's death. You know that Slade not only loves her but now has the Mirakuru serum inside of him, which has not only given him enhanced strength, but it's also going to affect his judgment," he said.
"I think we did a good job of it last season, of connecting the present stories to the past. This year I feel like we're doing a much better job of having the past story not only thematically infuse what's happening in the present day, but literally filling in the blanks and helping us tell the story. One of the most fun aspects for us as writers this season has been figuring out when we hint at something in the present day and we pay it off in the past. When we first met Sara and she saw the hood, she said, 'The first time I saw the hood, Shado was wearing it,' and then in episode seven, we saw Sara meet Shado on the island. Planting easter eggs is a lot of fun,” he said.
In the comics, Speedy is the Green Arrow's sidekick. Since Arrow began, fans have been wondering who Speedy might be, with Oliver's sister Thea and her boyfriend, Roy, prime suspects. “The whole 'Who is the real Speedy?' with Colton and Thea will start to get answered in the back half of the season as we see the effect the serum has on Roy and the length that Oliver will go to not travel down the same dark path as Slade,” said Kreisberg.
About those easter eggs
Kreisberg is thrilled that he and his team have been able to keep us guessing in Arrow. “The secret of Sara, her being the Black Canary, was something we actually thought of on the pilot. That's something that we've been working towards. If you look back at season one, there were constant mentions of Sara. [We did that] to keep Sara alive in everyone's memory, so that when we finally did reveal it, she felt like somebody that people knew,” he said.
“The Malcolm revelation was another thing we thought of last season. Part of the fun for us as storytellers is the first half of season two has been finally letting the audience in on these delicious secrets that we thought of over a year ago, that we're finally letting people in on. Now we've got great new secrets for the back half of the season,” he said.
Arrow airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.
Here's a look at tonight's Arrow:
Who do you think is Speedy?