The Season 3 premiere of Arrow is on tonight, and if you’re not already waiting on your couch in anticipation, perhaps some talk with Marc Guggenheim will do the trick.
We spoke with him in a group press Q&A last week after a screening of the Arrow season premiere. What kinds of details were we able to get out of him?
First off, Guggenheim tells us that Season 3 speaks to an issue of identity. Can Oliver still be The Arrow and be Oliver Queen? “This is the challenge or the struggle that he’ll be dealing with over the entire season. ‘Am I an Oliver Queen’ – certainly episode three will demonstrate how important Thea is to him, and how basically Thea is like the one last tie he has to his persona as Oliver. But, this is his season-long journey. Is there an Oliver Queen anymore? And there can be. And if there can be, what does that look like? It’s a real conundrum for him,” he says.
Part of that search for identity in the premiere involves Oliver letting loose and actually going on a date with Felicity. Is there anything Guggenheim can tease about that, for the “Olicity” fans? “I’ve been teasing them mercilessly on Twitter,” Guggenheim laughs. “I like to say it’s an explosive first date! It’s so hard to tease it without spoiling it but I’m very happy with the circumstances under which they have their first kiss. I hope it’s unexpected; I hope it plays as unexpected. I hope it plays as emotional.”
Another character who will be facing a new identity is Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) who is suiting up as Arsenal.
“One of the things I sort of felt we dropped the ball on a little bit is that in 212 we made a big deal about Roy joining the team and then didn’t get a chance to do that much with it because we were pushing a lot of other story,” Guggenheim admits. “In Season 3, we really get to play with that and you really feel like Roy is a part of Team Arrow and it’s more than just wearing a costume, that he’s really present and really a member of this group, that the trio becomes a quartet. That’s definitely true of Episode 6, [which] is a very Roy-centric episode and it sort of speaks in some ways to episode 212. It’s a little bit of like a… I wouldn’t call it a sequel but they are thematically related and they’ll feel very similar. And Roy being part of the team is an important part of Roy’s development. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that we’re doing this comic book that bridges the gap between season two and season three and the explanation for the costume actually is covered in the comic book as well as the collapsible bow and all the other new little things. Actually, the origin of the Veritigo drug that you saw in 301 that gets set up in the comic book,” Marc says, completely acknowledging the pimping of Arrow‘s four-color companion series Arrow Season 2.5.
In the series premiere, the Arrow refers to Arsenal as his “partner” rather than his “sidekick.” “I try very hard to encourage the writers to avoid like overtly comic book-y kind of dialogue. It just always takes me out of the show and takes me out of the grounded nature of the show,” Guggenheim admits. “I think sidekick is one of those. We try to avoid using the term secret identity unless it’s sort of self-referential or a little bit of an in-joke and typically people will only be referred to as super villains like by Felicity, who is making a joke. It’s a subtle little thing and I love comic books, I’m a huge comic book fan, write comic books, I love the genre, but at the same time, it’s the type of thing that those little things throughout an episode can actually take you out of the grounded episode and make you feel like you’re reading a comic book as opposed to watching a TV show, at least in my opinion,” he explains.
As for another partner in crimefighting, there are no plans as of yet to revisit the Diggle-H.I.V.E. storyline. “I know that fans have been waiting for it ever since we teased it at the end of 206, and it keeps coming up in the writers’ room,” he says. “Like everything else, it will have its day, and it will have its time. At the moment, I can’t say like ‘Oh yeah! We’ve got the episode where we pick that thread back up!’ But it’s definitely on our list of things that we want to get to,” he admits.
The Arrow season 3 premiere airs tonight at 8PM on The CW – read some teases about the season premiere and if you’d like to see some preview images, you can find them here!