He’s responsible for a lot of the best and most successful TV in recent years, and his comic book TV empire began five years ago with Arrow. We are speaking, of course, of Greg Berlanti, who also has the DC shows The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl under his purview with Black Lightning on the way. Beyond that, Berlanti and his production team are behind shows like Blindspot and the upcoming [and excellent] Archie Comics-based series Riverdale.
We spoke with Berlanti on the Arrow 100th Episode “Green Carpet” to find out about tonight’s big milestone episode, the characters he’s always wanted to bring in, the return of Katie Cassidy, a Riverdale crossover, and more. Transcription follows beneath the video. Enjoy, and don’t miss the big episode tonight. All of our Arrow 100 coverage can be found here.
GREG BERLANTI: About two or three weeks after the show premiered, it was Halloween. We had been on the air maybe two weeks or something. I went out on Halloween and I saw a couple of kids had dressed up in makeshift Arrow outfits, and I thought “oh, okay. It’s connecting.”
100th episodes of shows are always so celebratory. You have a lot of people coming back. Can you talk about putting that all into one episode?
The episode is very much a love letter, and kind of a “what if” for Oliver. There’s lots to reflect on, and there have obviously been some big, dramatic things that have happened to him his life. It has its own kind of “It’s A Wonderful Life” feel which I like.
How much fun was it to have characters like Supergirl interacting in this world?
It’s always exciting to mix and match. You never know how that’s gonna go.
[Stephen Amell makes a surprise appearance, interrupting the interview. It’s fun though.]
You never know how it’s gonna mix and match together, but the dailies always come back better than we write it, quite frankly. It’s just so cool to see those scenes.
Was it surprising to you that DC was so generous with the characters that they’ve let you use?
Absolutely. They’ve always held us to a standard. They’ve been great partners and friends. Everyone’s been terrific.
Is there a character that you’d like to be able to bring back that you just haven’t been able to bring back yet?
Nope! There really isn’t now. I think having Superman [in Supergirl earlier this season], and growing up with trying to imitate Christopher Reeve and run around the house making anything red a cape… I’m not sure who’s left.
What can you tease about Katie Cassidy’s returning to the many different series?
She gets to play a couple of different things this year. That’s a good tease, right? She’s not just playing a character this year; she’s a couple different things.
But Black Siren is still on the table, correct?
In the comic books, we once had a crossover between The Punisher and Archie. Might we ever see Riverdale as part of a big crossover someday?
[Laughs] You know, they shoot right next door to the Supergirl set! So, you might see sets on each show. You might see some sets from Supergirl show up in Riverdale, or vice versa, because it saves us a little money. But you’ll see sets before people.
What is the proudest part of having this show go 100 episodes?
The relationships that you forge between individuals you make it with; everyone who’d been a part of it, when you get to work at a place for 5 years is really proud of what they do. It’s really about the people, I think.
See some official photos from Arrow Episode 100 here – we’re almost there! Our thanks to Mr. Berlanti for 5 years of great television.