Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Stephen Amell, star of the CW’s DC Comics-inspired Arrow, was deliberately coy about pending developments for his character Oliver Queen at this evening’s PaleyFest panel. The actor said things are “happening fast and furious now” for Oliver. “We’ve been shooting for just over 7 months. In coming episode 17, things are actually pretty good for Oliver, which means they are about to go really bad.” Producers also confirmed that one minor character will become a regular in Season 2: Emily Bett Rickards as IT expert Felicity Smoak. The character’s bright future was ensured by two things: One, the positive Twitter feedback during her first appearance as well the reaction of Warner Bros. TV President Peter Roth who, Andrew Kreisberg reported, called to say: “I love the blond computer girl.”
Amell also said Arrow is going to WonderCon this year and that he “can’t wait” to return to Comic-Con as well. He admitted he will miss the anonymity that the cast enjoyed on Arrow’s first visit to New York Comic-Con in mid-October, days after the series premiered. The series, which debuted on October 10, 2012, was picked up for a full season on October 22 and was renewed for a second season in February. Given the show’s success, Amell joked that like his dual-identity character, this year he might have to attend the fan conventions in disguise.
That next visit might not be too different from this evening’s PaleyFest, which series creator and executive producer Greg Berlanti joked was “an upscale Comic-Con.” Berlanti joined Amell on the panel with executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Kreisberg and cast members Katie Cassidy, David Ramsey and Susanna Thompson. The panel was moderated by DC Comics chief creative officer Geoff Johns, who has been part of the creative process and has written for the series.
With its complicated story line, large cast of characters and insider DC Comics references, it would take a diehard fan to figure it all out. Producers revealed that the action may expand into other arenas that are part of DC Comics lore, including Blood Haven. Ramsey, who portrays Oliver’s bodyguard John Diggle, is also a character who is not part of the DC Comics family but was written into the story. Joked Ramsey: “Every time I get a script, I just look to the back to see if I die. I’m in good hands. I trust Andrew and Marc not to kill me.”
As befitted the evening’s bantering tone, the producers confirmed that Amell, who spends much of his onscreen time shirtless and doing muscle-pumping pull-ups, was cast before he ever removed his shirt. Berlanti said that later, when he first saw video of Amell’s chest he thought it was a stuntman: “This guy is really ripped”.
Kreisberg said the show would continue to feature plenty of insider references for DC Comics aficianados, but said the show is intended for everybody. “My wife, who is in the audience, she couldn’t give a crap about comic books,” he said. “But she said the pilot was the best thing you have ever been part of. For that subset of comic book fans, that stuff makes us smile to put in the script, and we hope it makes you smile too.”