Arrow producer on what they learned last season, strong women and adding The Atom

The CW’s Arrow has quietly grown into one of the best genre series on television, and producer Marc Guggenheim has opened up about what we can expect in year three.

Guggenheim recently chatted with Unleash the Fanboy about the new season, and he opened up about what they learned last year and elements they want to carry over from the first two seasons. Though season two was arguably better than the stellar debut run, Guggenheim said they have recognized some elements they’d like to reincorporate into the new season — including the sense of mystery that was lost with the Deathstroke arc:

“The best way to put it is, we’re trying to take some of the lessons we learned from Season Two and trying to apply it to some of the cooler aspects of Season One. We felt like Season Two was very successful. We do feel like it was an improvement over Season One and I think a lot of fans and a lot of critics felt the same way but there were elements of Season One that just because of the nature of the story we were telling in Season Two, we were lacking. Season One had a really cool, over-arching mystery. You had the glyph, you had The Undertaking, you were kind of wondering what was going on. There was what we called in the scripts the Well-Dressed Man, who turned out to be Malcolm Merlyn. And we wanted to basically take the epic quality of Season Two and fuse it with the mystery of Season One. Hopefully, we’ve accomplished that and it will be all the stuff you loved from Season One combined with all the stuff you loved from Season Two. That’s the over-arching approach. You guys will have to tell us if we’re successful.”

To this point, Arrow has thrived by introducing interesting new characters to keep the narrative fresh, and it doesn’t look like they’ll be changing that formula anytime soon. One big casting coup for this season is former Superman Returns star Brandon Routh, who will portray DC character Ray Palmer/The Atom.

According to Guggenheim, it sounds like Routh will have a relatively key recurring role in year three — especially when it comes to his burgeoning relationship with Oliver’s lady pal Felicity Smoak. Plus, considering Routh has let leak that there are apparently plans for him to suit up as the Atom, we can’t wait to see how he’ll fit into the ensemble:

“The idea of a new character coming in and being a change agent for a set ensemble was very appealing to us. That was one parameter. Another parameter was that we had Felicity and she sort of, from a dialogue perspective, lives in a different world than everybody else. We’ve been saying that Emily [Rickards] from a witty banter perspective has been playing tennis against the wall and we wanted to give her a tennis partner. His scenes with Emily are just so much fun — they’re everything I could have hoped for. We’re trying to write a little bit of a Spencer Tracy/Katharine Hepburn kind of relationship and that’s something that’s very much in our wheelhouse and it’s just fun to see it come to life with Emily and Brandon. I think one of the things that’s fun about Brandon’s character is that so many of our characters come in as proto-, ‘Here’s Ray Palmer, here’s Slade Wilson, when are they going to finish that evolution to their comic book destinies?’ That’s a big part of the show and the fun of the show, is when is that going to happen and how is that going to happen, and are we going to surprise you? We have a really cool plan in mind for Brandon and he’s game. We told him the very first day where we were headed with him and he’s excited and we’re excited, too.”

Finally, Guggenheim also touched on their portrayal of women on the series — which is to be applauded for including more than a few strong female characters. Most ladies on Arrow have been put through the fire already, and it sounds like Oliver’s younger sister Thea will finally get her chance to kick a little ass in year three:

“One thing that we’ve really strived for in the show is diversity of all forms. We’re very proud of our racial diversity on the show, we’re very proud of our gender diversity and having female characters who aren’t just sex objects, who have agency, who are tough. I mean, Felicity Smoak is by no means an ass-kicker, but she’s very tough and she has an inner steel to her. Same thing with Thea [Queen]. Thea’s going to be going through some changes because of her association with Malcolm Merlyn and that I think will bring her into more of the ass-kicking side of the spectrum, but as Malcolm said to her in Episode 23 [of Season Two], she has real iron in her. We try with all the female characters to give them a strength but not make that strength limited to kicking ass, though we have plenty of that, obviously. I think people will be very happy with Laurel’s trajectory specifically this year in that regard. She’s going to start trying to walk the path that her sister walked, which is something we set up in the season finale and I think people are going to be really excited to see where that goes.”

Season three of Arrow premieres Oct. 8 on The CW. What are you expecting this year?

(Via Unleash the Fanboy)

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