Arrow Interview: EP Marc Guggenheim On Ray Palmer, Olicity & “Sara”

Craig Byrne July 18, 2014 48

City of HeroesYesterday at the CW’s Summer 2014 TCA Party, we spoke with Arrow Executive Producer Marc Guggenheim for a little bit to try and get some intel on Season 3. For starters, there was that Season 3 description which had some ominous tidbits for fans of “Olicity” – people who want Oliver and Felicity together. Should we worry about “shipper-baiting?”

“You know, it’s funny. I actually don’t know what shipper-baiting is,” Guggenheim admitted. “I will tell you, he does ask her out on a date. That is going to happen. I don’t know what to say beyond that, except that we’re really acknowledging the chemistry between the two characters and the attraction between the two characters, and we’re moving forward with their dance, that they’ve basically been doing since episode 3 of the show. From the moment they met each other, there was something going on, and we’re just honoring that,” he explained.

routh-supermanThe other big news for Season 3 is the casting of former Superman Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer, the hero known to comic book fans as The Atom. Guggenheim was quick to point out that the “Ray and Jean” reference from Season 1 was “just a fun Easter egg” and wasn’t necessarily meant to represent Ray. However, he did acknowledge the “Jean Loring” that we saw on Arrow last year, as Moira’s attorney.

“I’ll tell you this: Jean Loring has already been on the show, and if he was involved with that Jean, there would be a bit of an age difference,” he said, before adding that it will be addressed. “We will be acknowledging the Jean Loring that appeared in the beginning of Season 2 as Moira’s attorney, in the context of Ray Palmer, just not as boyfriend and girlfriend,” he said.

On the subject of Easter eggs, Ivy University is name-checked on the NBC pilot Constantine, which makes us wonder if this Ray Palmer is involved with Ivy University as well.  “I would keep watching,” he told us about whether or not we’ll see Ivy on Arrow, but as for matching Constantine’s shout out, it won’t be connected to that. “When we do our Easter eggs, they’re never in conjunction with other DC Easter eggs,” he admitted, pointing out that Arrow is “just in the Flash universe.”

UnthinkableMoving back to Ray Palmer, Guggenheim sayid that the casting of Brandon Routh was “completely beyond cool, in so many ways.”

“First of all, I was excited when we came in and just met with him. And then, he did a chemistry read with Emily [Bett Rickards], and they were just so magical together. And then, I got to see him on set, and that was a completely different gear. I was already thrilled. I could not be happier. He is such a lovely guy; he meshes in with the cast, already, so well. He’s a wonderful addition,” he said.

Finally, we asked Guggenheim about the title of the second episode of Arrow Season 3, which is “Sara.” What does that mean, exactly?

“Sara looms very large in the episode, but that name may have a double meaning,” he teased.

Arrow returns October 8 on The CW.


  1. Trish July 18, 2014 at 12:33 pm -

    Oh good grief, Craig! How is it that you continue to bring in the, “shipper-baiting” dig in anything that’s released pro-Olicity? Yet it’s not used by you in any other romantic context on the show? These two characters have fans. A hell of a lot of them to be exact. We shouldn’t have to continue to be insulted for making something popular and promoting the show, even during hiatus, mind you.

    “I don’t know what to say beyond that, except that we’re really acknowledging the chemistry between the two characters and the attraction between the two characters, and we’re moving forward with their dance, that they’ve basically been doing since episode 3 of the show. From the moment they met each other, there was something going on, and we’re just honoring that,” he explained.”

    This is coming out of the mouth of one of the shows EPs. So maybe it’s time you LET IT GO and stop with the digs & slights of hand anytime you report something on Olicity.

    • Chia July 18, 2014 at 12:43 pm -

      Trish, I speak as an Olicity shipper: I think that was a fair question to ask, since it is clearly an issue in the fandom. Everywhere I look I see people accusing the creators of either fan service or shipper-baiting, which means that it is relevant to ask the creators about those issues.
      Seeing those issues constantly argued about drives me nuts, but it’s the reality of a show that appeals to so many different types of viewers.
      I’m glad they’re acknowledging the chemistry and I hope they do it justice, whatever they do with it.

    • Chia July 18, 2014 at 12:45 pm -

      Also, I think your comment about them constantly digging at pro-Olicity is way out of line. The articles I’ve read on here have always been balanced and simply represent the information being passed to them by CW, etc.

    • Marilyn July 18, 2014 at 1:37 pm -

      I agree with this. The condescending attitude towards this large group of fans is very tiresome and I always consider that when I see posts on this site.

    • Craig Byrne July 18, 2014 at 3:23 pm -


      The reason “shipper-baiting” is a term that I used is not and never has been a slam at someone who is into Olicity. The reason it comes up here is because it’s valid and it’s accurate: It would be bad if fans were told they’re getting something they’d love, and then to have it pulled out from under them. That is what “shipper-baiting” is to me. I guess one could consider all of the Laurel photos near the end of Season 2 as “shipper-baiting” in its own way, but that’s all that’s meant from my words, so it would be appreciated if you don’t consider me to say things or assign thoughts to me that are not there. It’s very frustrating. Yet, if I asked nothing about “Olicity” in any way I’d be accused of a different bias, so I can’t win.

      I like Felicity. I like Emily Bett Rickards. I’m assuming all of the writers on the site do. So why you feel you must attack is kind of unknown to me. If there are other sites saying things you don’t like, okay; but please don’t take it out on me.

      • Trish July 18, 2014 at 3:41 pm -

        You’re right, Craig. Maybe I am being a bit hard on you as a result of my overall frustration at this pairings treatment in certain articles that have no issue marking to their fans for views. And that’s not fair to you. I actually enjoyed Marc’s comments because it needed to be said, finally, that this is a story that they’ve been telling slowly from the beginning. So please accept my apologies if I’m still a bit sensitive to a past perception of Green Arrow TV’s bias against Felicity when it comes to Olicity.

        I hope that we can go forward and enjoy the show that we love in Season 3 without baggage from previous seasons.

    • CJ July 18, 2014 at 5:56 pm -

      I look forward to the day when plot lines and scenes between Oliver and Felicity are not tainted with ‘shipper-baiting’ / ‘fanservice’ or whatever kind of reasoning that basically says Olicity is happening because of the huge Olicity fandom only.

      I wonder what it will take for that to happen.

      What I’m hearing from Marc’s comments is that, like the experienced show producers that they are, they know they struck gold the moment Stephen and Emily were in a scene together, and have been building that relationship since. The date and the angst between Oliver and Felicity will just be part of the natural progression of what they’ve been hinting at since the time that these two characters met.

  2. Stone July 18, 2014 at 3:29 pm -

    If you want a character (Ray Palmer) to be accepted by a shows community, don’t put him as a love interest for Felicity. He will immediately not be accepted by the shows majority of fans.

    • Trish July 18, 2014 at 3:48 pm -

      I don’t think that’s fair. I’m excited for Ray. I think it’s past time to give Felicity a life outside of the lair. I’m still an Olicity fan, but that doesn’t mean I need to see Felicity in a holding pattern. I can’t wait to see her dating.

      • Stone July 18, 2014 at 4:07 pm -

        Just because its not fair, doesnt mean its not true.

        • EP July 18, 2014 at 5:50 pm -

          I love Oliver and Felicity together. But I am very much looking forward to Ray Palmer’s character. Nope don’t hate him at all. In fact I think he’s a great addition. Felicity needs to have some attention showered on her and I think it needs to be someone other than Oliver.

          Plus some jealous Oliver will be fun to watch.

          • Stone July 19, 2014 at 2:00 am -

            Then you are the minority.

        • Desert Dweller July 19, 2014 at 9:42 am -

          Most people I have spoken to or seen posting recognize the Ray storyline as a catalyst to further along Oliver and Felicity as he did for Chuck and Sarah in Chuck. People have a habit of generalizing for a vast group of people and no good ever comes of it.
          I for one am looking forward to the storyline as it gives Felicity a story and growth apart from Oliver. As long as they don’t repeat last season’s error where Sara dominated the 2nd half and over shadowed Diggle and Felicity then I think all will be well. The key is balance, and that has been a struggle with Arrow.
          Thanks for the piece, and I am glad that MG noted that they are just progressing in an organic form acknowledging the chemistry between these two characters. I hope to see Diggle in all of the action as well, as Team Arrow is key to my enjoyment of the show. Love the dynamic between Oliver, Felicity and Diggle.

          • befastordontbe July 21, 2014 at 5:22 pm -

            Not sure how a story line that’s main purpose has been said to act as fodder for the Olicity relationship could be said to give Felicity a real story line away from Oliver.

          • PsychiCat July 26, 2014 at 8:41 pm -

            I am hoping to see more growth for Diggle.
            Baby on the way!?!

    • Ace9 July 18, 2014 at 7:31 pm -

      Actually you should go to Brandon Routh’s twitter. The first thing he did was thank us for the welcome. Majority, if not all the shippers flocked to his twitter and immediately started to follow Brandon. I know I did. We like him and think he’s great for and with Felicity. You obviously do not know any of us, speak to us, or ask our motivations. We may be end game Olicity but we are invested in the show for the story and especially when it integrates our favorite character, who is not Oliver. Oliver is great and comes second to Felicity. Until you realize that, you’ll understand where we come from.

      • Stone July 19, 2014 at 2:15 am -

        Wtf are you even talking about? You don’t represent an entire fandom of a show and just because Brandon says something on twitter, doesn’t make it immediately truthful. All I’m saying is that he will be less accepted as a romantic interest than if he was just a character.

      • Desert Dweller July 19, 2014 at 9:48 am -

        I follow him as well! I am really looking forward to seeing how the story develops and how Oliver will deal with the fact that Ray (aka Atom) can run a company, be a vigilante AND have a personal life with HIS girl.
        Something that hasn’t been mentioned is what Diggle will be doing job-wise. I am also looking forward to Diggle’s thoughts and reactions to Ray …

  3. EP July 18, 2014 at 3:38 pm -

    Really!!!! Shipper baiting?!?!?

    It is as obvious as can be from the moment those two met that they had chemistry and just brought out the best in each other.

    To have so many people cheering these two on and wanting them as a couple is not something that was just conjured up out of thin air, it’s real and honest to goodness incredible chemistry between two people that was a big surprise for ALL!!!

    I enjoy Arrow and think it’s a great show. But Oliver and Felicity just make it ten times more fun and enjoyable.

    So let this very large fan base that supports two great characters finally have what is obvious to all….Oliver and Felicity as a couple.

  4. dmbsimone July 18, 2014 at 3:42 pm -

    I want Felicity with ANYONE but Oliver. Period. Fans need to think of the show and not putting another notch on Oliver’s belt. He’s going to dump her and then continue on his journey to becoming Green Arrow.

    • The Phantom Stranger July 19, 2014 at 12:42 pm -

      Don’t presume to know what the future will hold.

  5. Marko July 18, 2014 at 3:47 pm -

    I couldn’t agree more with “Chia” and “EP” ^^^^ !!!!! :) Olicity season 3 is good :)

  6. Thomas July 18, 2014 at 3:55 pm -

    “I actually don’t know what shipper-baiting is,” Guggenheim admitted.” – surejan.gif

  7. Marko July 18, 2014 at 4:01 pm -

    But I hope the ‘date’ that Oliver has with Felicity is not an ‘official date’ as I just absolutely loved the slow burn In season 2 between Oliver and Felicity and I honestly don’t think that either one of them are ready to be with each other (neither are the fans ready)and especially Oliver as he is the arrow.

  8. Mariana July 18, 2014 at 4:03 pm -

    Season 3 seems really interesting for all parties, I like the idea of Ray & Felicity, a little romance among all the action is welcome IMO, and if that doesn’t work out please put Ray with Sara Lance/Black Canary…both and Olicity could double date!
    Yes, I like the action, heroes and villains, but I also love romance xD

  9. Meg July 18, 2014 at 5:26 pm -

    I am a Felicity fan. She is wonderfully funny and loyal. I love her chemistry with Oliver super fun to watch. But hey I am all for a “happy” Felicity which means she should find some love and appreciation and why not with Brandon Routh’s Ray Palmer. It might add even more fun dynamic with Oliver/Felicity.

    I am super excited to see this “magical” chemistry with Felicity/Ray. I am all for it.

    Thanks for the tidbits. I am confused on how “Sara” has a double meaning….hmmm…look forward to seeing Caity Lotz back she is fantastic. I would love to see more of her.

    • Mariana July 18, 2014 at 6:06 pm -

      In MY opinion it means we will see Caity Lotz in BOTH (DOUBLE) her characters: Sara Lance and Black Canary. She is a fan favorite, as Black Canary and Sara, so it makes sense.

      • Desert Dweller July 19, 2014 at 9:51 am -

        I am very happy to see the return of Caity Lotz as Black Canary. She has a great chemistry with Diggle, and Felicity. I am hoping she bring Nyssa with her as well.

  10. Kamaza July 18, 2014 at 5:27 pm -

    Idk if I’d watch the show if I thought they’d have no chance of being together.

  11. metrok July 18, 2014 at 6:33 pm -

    There is chemistry between Diggle/Oliver, Oliver/Roy, Diggle/Felicity etc as well as their actors.

    But why are they not acknowledging that by sending those pairings on a date. But of course they are not fan popular pairings,Olicity is. Cant be just a coincidence. I dont think its ship baiting but its definately is fanservice. You cant ship bait a popular ship on the CW, they get an automatic greenlight, that it will happen, just a matter of when.

  12. Marko July 18, 2014 at 11:58 pm -

    hahaha i think its funny how an Olicity spoiler gets 20 comments, but all other things that greenarrowtv posts, gets like 2-5 comments

  13. Lisa July 19, 2014 at 4:18 am -

    Lets Go Ralicity! lol.. You know we never know whats going to happen, maybe some olicity shippers will really like Ray and Felicty together… Im just hoping my girl Laurel’s new love interest is a good one!.. dont get me wrong I still want one day Lauliver but i think im tired of all the Lualiver vs Olicity… we need some fresh air IMO.. Let the girls have some goes who make oliver super jealous :-)

  14. laurelfan July 19, 2014 at 9:49 am -

    Laurel and Katie Cassidy has a lot of fans but they are not so active on social media as others. I hope that Laurel becomes Black Canary in season 3 and that she finds love. I don’t care if it’s not Ollie, Ollie’s a slut anyway, LOL.

    • befastordontbe July 21, 2014 at 7:15 pm -

      This. Laurel becoming BC is more important to her character than her ending up with Oliver.

  15. GoLaurel July 19, 2014 at 9:53 am -

    Another example of the biased attitude of “GreenArrowTV” towards Laurel/Katie Cassidy, no questions about Laurel. Laurel & Katie have a large fan following but we don’t have spare time to trend stuff on social media. Looking forward to Laurel kick some ass as Black Canary in S3!

    • Craig Byrne July 19, 2014 at 10:11 am -

      As I said responding to another comment, the “biased” accusation is tired.

      The reason Felicity was asked about in this situation and not Laurel is that there hasn’t been a lot of news to ask about re: Laurel yet, whereas we knew about the Olicity thing, we knew about Ray Palmer, and we knew about Sara. Interview time is pretty limited. Also, we’ll be seeing everyone at Arrow again next weekend where I can promise you, Laurel will be asked about.

      If you’re going to say people who don’t ask about a certain character are biased, you might as well get on our case for not asking about Diggle, Roy, or Thea in this interview, too.

    • PsychiCat July 26, 2014 at 8:45 pm -

      Well said!!!

  16. Metrok July 19, 2014 at 10:41 am -

    Why is my comment not published on this site?.
    If there is no bias then how come my anti Olicity comment was not published.

    Even the people who insulted a real life person, the author, are published on this site.

    • Craig Byrne July 19, 2014 at 11:01 am -

      As far as I can tell, it WAS published. Unless you used a different IP or name…

      I’ll look through but generally, anyone who’s a first time poster has to go through a moderation process. I hadn’t been home so I wasn’t able to approve. I’ll look for it, but I think it’s either already published or wasn’t submitted properly….

    • Craig Byrne July 19, 2014 at 11:02 am -

      Found it. Don’t know why it didn’t go through before, though it was from a different IP address. In any event, it’s up, and the delay is something that every poster can run into, regardless of character preferences. Once you get to posting regularly I doubt it’ll happen at all.

  17. Matt Tucker July 19, 2014 at 1:36 pm -

    As one on the site who doesn’t particularly care for “Olicity,” it should be clarified that it has nothing to do with not recognizing the chemistry between the characters and between the actors. It’s also not any kind of hatred toward the characters or actors, either.

    In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I don’t care to see them make Olicity a reality because I think it has a chance to harm the chemistry and relationship between Oliver and Felicity, something that would be a big negative for the series in my book.

    Season 2 already saw Felicity reduced to pouty and shrill regarding Oliver with other women, and it wasn’t appealing for the character or the show in the slightest. Yes, there is a degree of that response that can be very human, which is welcome. Not when it starts to drag on the character.

    One can only imagine what it would be like to put them through the riggers of a full-blown relationship, which would no doubt have to feature its fair share of drama. In my opinion, it would be a hearty case of ‘be careful what you ask for.’

    It’s safe to say that all of us at GATV love Felicity and adore Emily Bett Rickards. Certainly, it would be foolish not to address the fun, natural chemistry between Emily and Stephen Amell. There’s a balance, though, and my feeling is giving into full-on Olicity has more risk than reward.

    • Matt Tucker July 19, 2014 at 1:39 pm -

      Oh, geez, rigors, that should say.

    • Carla Krae July 19, 2014 at 9:17 pm -


      One thing that makes me tentative is Oliver was just in love with Sara. In a relationship with Sara. Asked Sara to move in with him. So entering into another relationship fast is a rebound. And speaking from experience of jumping into a rebound relationship, it’s a BAD THING TO DO 99% of the time.

      Oliver has been in one relationship after another most of his adult life with few breaks between, and with all of his issues that came with the past 6 years, that ain’t healthy. He needs to focus on Arrow life and getting his company back and reconnecting with Thea before jumping into bed with another girl.

      • befastordontbe July 21, 2014 at 5:28 pm -

        That’s always been Oliver though. He dated McKenna and Helena while harboring feelings for Laurel. I don’t think it’s out of character for him to harbor feelings for Felicity while he’s with Sara or even getting over Sara so fast. Honestly, I just think it proves that Felicity isn’t as special to Oliver as people want to act like she is.

    • befastordontbe July 21, 2014 at 5:34 pm -

      Agreed, Matt. I never minded Felicity until season two when she became a totally different person to fuel the heavier Olicity moments. Her repeated “you can do it” pep talks to Oliver were grating especially considering that was always Diggle’s role. Watching her reduce her worth to whether or not she was “Oliver’s girl” and letting him go so far as to pet her like a puppy was just horrible.

  18. Metrok July 19, 2014 at 2:40 pm -

    [As far as I can tell, it WAS published. Unless you used a different IP or name…]

    I do believe I have same IP from my ISP, but I do use different computers/laptops.

    Anyway thanks for publishing my comments.

  19. Marko July 19, 2014 at 5:35 pm -

    i am an Olicity fan, but i cannott help but totally agree with what Matt said about the more risk than reward regarding Olicity

  20. Jhett July 26, 2014 at 4:14 am -

    What about Oliver’s son? Any news about ‘him’?