UPDATED with trailers for The Flash (above) and Arrow (below) shown at PaleyFest: Fans hoping for big spoilers about upcoming The Flash and Arrow episodes during this afternoon’s PaleyFest panels might have been disappointed, as cast and producers on both shows were adamant – often excruciatingly so – about keeping mum on future developments. But hints and innuendos during both panels suggested huge twists and more crossovers between the two shows, and in the case of The Flash, the adaptation of one of DC Entertainment‘s biggest comic events for the small screen.
First up, the Arrow panel, where moderator Aisha Tyler kept the conversation focused on character and generally hilarious during the Arrow panel. That was thanks in part to Malcolm Merlyn actor John Barrowman, who alternated between trenchant observation and zings. He confirmed, for instance, that his character would have preferred to have Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) as a son rather than Tommy Merlyn, (who died during the season 1 finale but returns in periodic flashbacks). Shortly after, he joked that he’d love to see his character paired off with the cocktail waitress mother of Arrow ally Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards). Here is the Arrow trailer shown at PaleyFest:
As for what to expect when Arrow returns this week, after a two-week hiatus, Oliver Queen had just been asked by Season 3 villain Ra’s al Ghul to take over leadership of the League of Assassins. According to star Stephen Amell, Oliver may be accepting that offer. When the show returns, Arrow will take stock of what he’s accomplished in the two and half years since returning to Starling City, and realize he’s disappointed by the results. “That makes being the idea of being the person who commands the League of Assassins in any way that he sees fit really appealing,” he said. Not that there might be a choice in the matter. “It’s an offer in name only,” Amell said, adding that “If Oliver says no, there will be dire consequences.”
It was also revealed that the characterization of Oliver Queen/Arrow will be changed drastically by season’s end, with a more “defeated” and “introspective” interpretation going into future seasons. Among other reveals, confirmation came that (no surprise) Felicity Smoak will be appearing in another crossover with The Flash.
Speaking of The Flash, that panel was adorable, with the actors barely distinguishable from the characters they play, and the audience full of a surprising number of little kids, demonstrating the show’s cross-generational appeal. It was also even more tightlipped than the Arrow panel. Throughout the discussion, the panelists – stars Grant Gustin (“Barry Allen/The Flash”, Jesse L. Martin (“Det. Joe West”), Tom Cavanagh (“Dr. Harrison Wells”), Candice Patton (“Iris West”), Rick Cosnett (“Det. Eddie Thawne”), Danielle Panabaker (“Dr. Caitlin Snow”), Carlos Valdes (“Cisco Ramon”), along with executive producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg – fell all over each other to avoid giving even a hint of what to expect when the show returns on March 17.
Even so, questions from Tyler and from members of the audience prompted a few surprises. Asked by one fan if there were plans to dig even deeper into DC Comics lore for plots on the show, Kreisberg hemmed and hawed a bit, before saying “There’s a fairly big Flash storyline from the comics that were going to tackle in the future.”
Make your own bets, but odds are high he’s talking about “Flashpoint”, a 5-issue miniseries from 2011 that DC used to reboot its entire lineup, heavily speculated as possible since The Flash‘s premier last fall. In it, the timeline is changed drastically, with Barry Allen’s deceased mother now alive, his father never having been framed for her murder, and the DC universe suffering as superpower factions exist in a state of almost permanent war. Barry retains his memories from before history was altered, and is forced to go back in time to fix things, with mixed results.
That ties into themes already introduced in the CW series, particularly involving the supervillain Reverse Flash. Whether or not this adaptation would impact events on Arrow or the as yet-unannounced super hero team up spinoff featuring Brandon Routh’s A.T.O.M. is far from clear, but it’s interesting to see, yet again, how the Arrow/The Flash production team continues to work around the restrictions placed on them by Warner Bros. preventing them from using Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman.
Also of interest, Kreisberg and Berlanti did confirm one huge tidbit: plans are in place during Season 2 to add two important characters from the Flash comic mythos into the tv series. Asked whether Bart Allen or Wally West, both of whom have alternately operated as The Flash in the comics, will appear, Berlanti said “That’s our hope. If we’re going to be doing something like, we’d do it” in Season 2.