As Amell settled in, moderator Morgan Hoffman immediately kicked things off by asking how long Starling City would remain safe now that Slade Wilson had been defeated.
“I don’t know,” said Amell. “Fifteen, 20 minutes. We do mention the fact. It is a big story point in season three. We don’t gloss over the fact that there was an earthquake and a siege, in consecutive Mays, in a major, fictional metropolitan place. We go over that. That’s actually a focal point for Brandon Routh’s character, Ray Palmer. We talk a lot about how nobody wants to live in Starling City anymore, despite the fact that we have criminals on the run at the beginning of season three.
When Amell was listing all the comic book properties coming to television this fall — “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Gotham,” “Constantine,” “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “Agent Carter” — he pitched his own Arrow spinoff.
“Instead of doing 23 episodes of Arrow, I’d love to do 17,” Amell said. “Then, in the middle of the year, we could do six episodes of the Suicide Squad. Then I could go on vacation.”
The big elephant in the room was Oliver and Felicity’s relationship status. Fans hoping for the duo to become a couple have dubbed them “Olicity” and the spark between them has been growing. Will that eventually lead to dating and romance?
“We learn a lot about Oliver and his relationship with Felicity and the feelings — or lack thereof — for one another in the season premiere,” promised Amell.
Fans were thrilled that this season’s fifth episode is titled The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak. Actually, no one was more thrilled than Amell. “I have four out of eight days off,” quipped Amell. “Unprecedented.”
At this point, Amell turned to answering questions from the two line ups of fans that had formed on either side of the stage. One fan wanted Amell to say Arrow’s classic line, “You have failed this city,” which he did.
“That line is coming back into the show this year,” said Amell. “I give the credit for that to you guys because it was an intricate element for the show in season one. Then we stopped saying it in season two. People would come up and say, ‘Why aren’t you saying it anymore?’ So, I went to the producers and said, ‘Why aren’t we saying this anymore?’ They said, ‘We always thought of that as a season-one thing.’ And I said, ‘Really?’ And here it is. It’s back.”
The topic turned to Zack Snyder’s ever-growing roster of superheroes in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Wonder Woman and Batman are already in the mix, setting the stage for the highly anticipated “Justice League” feature film. Green Arrow was the team’s first recruit in the original run of the Justice League of America comic book. Once again, Amell addressed whether there was any possibility Arrow might show up in DC Comics’ cinematic universe.
“We are creating a Justice League on TV for us,” Amell said. “I don’t think there is a logistical reality to us participating in the feature side. That being said, I never wanted to have to feel like the show was justified, just because we participated in the movie. I don’t think my character would participate on the cinematic side. What’s that saying? Is it six seasons and a movie? Our show right now has me, Arsenal, Flash. There’s going to be Firestorm and Atom. The Justice League elements of it are very present on our shows [‘Arrow’ and ‘The Flash’] already.”
Amell’s cousin, Robbie, joined the cast of “The Flash” as Ronnie Raymond. In the comics, Ronnie fused together with Professor Martin Stein to become Firestorm, the Nuclear Man. It seems Amell had some insider knowledge about the casting well before his cousin.
“I had dinner with Greg Berlanti, who created our show and is also the creator of ‘The Flash’ television show,” Amell said. “He told me about Robbie and Firestorm about two months before Robbie knew about it. Robbie texts me and goes, ‘I GOT A JOB ON ‘THE FLASH!” All capitals and exclamation marks. I wrote back, ‘I know,’ and then welcomed him to the Justice League of America. Robbie and I, for being in the same business, the only time we’ve ever teamed up is in beer pong. We’ve never actually teamed up on screen together. I think eventually there’s a chance that Oliver Queen and Mr. Firestorm may cross paths.”
Amell could barely contain his enthusiasm when asked about working with co-star John Barrowman. The former “Torchwood” star plays the devious Malcolm Merlyn and will be a series regular this season.
“He’s Captain Jack,” Amell said with a smile. “He’s had a show. He has taught so much about using all of the energy you guys give us and harnessing that when it’s 4 a.m. and it’s raining and you’re on a rooftop and you’re shooting a scene you’ve been shooting for eight hours. He’s taught me so much. Working with him…it’s usually very cold and wet. No. My wife sent me a text the other day of him holding my daughter with the evilest grin. And she couldn’t have been happier. For being on a show together now for three seasons, we’ve had precious few moments together. There was a quick moment in our sixth episode, our ninth episode and then the end of the year, 22 and 23. Then we didn’t see each other all last year. This year, we see each other. I’ve never been so fired up as I was to shoot the first scene between Oliver and Malcolm. We had 275 extras there for the scene. Big stuff.”
A female fan credited “Arrow,” and Amell, for introducing her to conventions and superheroes. She was curious which character Amell would bring into the “Arrow” universe. For the longest time, he said his top pick was Ra’s al Ghul. The villain is already slated for an arc, so Amell’s second choice was a familiar ring bearer from the DCU.
“Now, boy we’ve referenced Ferris Air a lot,” said Amell. “It would be really cool to have Green Lantern. Hopefully, that happens. I have no inside information, unless I do.”
The discussion shifted to the overall tone of the season — which will be both darker and lighter at the same time.
“Well, we’re going to see Ra’s al Ghul,” Amell offered. “Actually, season three opens on a much lighter note. I’m enjoying playing Oliver this year because he’s a little bit closer to a proxy of me. I’m not serious. I’m not a brooder. We find Oliver in that position at the beginning of season three.”
One of the other topics touched upon was Oliver’s relationship with Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) and how it continues to progress now that Roy will be adopting a costumed identity of his own.
“That is my favorite part about season three so far,” said Amell. “The relationship between Colton Haynes’ character and my character, we’re in a really good spot. We’re in a big brother/little brother spot. We have been trying to find little moments where I do everything short of giving him a noogie.”
Flashbacks have been an essential storytelling device on Arrow. They’ve filled in the gaps of what Oliver was up to while missing during his years away from Starling City. As teased in the season-two finale, the flashbacks will be shifting in location from the Island to a much more familiar locale.
“Our third season is very much the Hong Kong chapter of the show,” Amell revealed. “It adds a different element to the show.”
Arrow is no slouch in hand-to-hand combat. He’s held his own, and even bested, such expert fighters as China White, Malcolm Merlyn and Slade Wilson. Oliver has obviously received extensive training and will be mastering another martial art soon.
“One of the cool things we are going to do this year is we have never, in the present day, seen Oliver learn anything new, except maybe how to smile more. In terms of combat, Oliver is going to learn something new this year, which I’m very excited about.”
An attendee then asked if there was anything Amell would like Oliver to do that he hasn’t done before. A heckler yelled out, “Felicity.” After the laughter died down, Amell offered, “Other than that, I would like to see Oliver get his own place to live.” He hinted a change of residence could indeed be in the pipeline.
At the end of the panel, a good-natured Amell honored an earlier request by taking a selfie with the room’s crowd cheering in the background.
“Arrow” returns to The CW on October 8.