DC Comics readers know Black Canary’s secret identity as Dinah Lance, so while it was somewhat expected that the character, traditionally linked to DC’s Green Arrow, would eventually appear on The CW’s “Arrow,” most presumed actress Katie Cassidy’s character, Laurel Lance, would assume the superhero mantle.
However, the “Arrow” creative team threw viewers a major curveball by introducing Dinah’s sister Sara as Oliver Queen’s (Stephen Amell) fellow costumed vigilante instead. Over the course of the second season, Sara’s origins and relationships have been developed as part of the series’ constantly evolving mythology. Tonight’s episode, aptly titled “Birds of Prey,” not only thrusts Black Canary into the spotlight, but serves as a shout out to the comic book of the same name by pitting Canary against the television counterpart of her one-time comics teammate, the Huntress (Jessica De Gouw).
Caity Lotz, who brings “Arrow’s” Black Canary to life, spoke with Comic Book Resources about her character’s upcoming slugfest with Huntress, Sara’s conflicted relationship with Dinah and what other potential comic book ties the series may have in store for fans as the season winds down.
CBR News: Tonight’s “Arrow” episode title, “Birds of Prey,” is a big deal for longtime Black Canary fans. What did it mean for you?
Caity Lotz: Well, I was really excited about it because it meant more female bad-assery. I knew there was going to be some cool girl fights. And, then of course, everybody seems so excited about it and that makes me excited, just knowing the fans are into it.
Obviously, Black Canary and Huntress butt heads in the episode. What brings them into conflict? And how would you compare their fighting styles?
There is the fact Helena is Oliver’s ex-girlfriend, which I think makes Sara underestimate the Huntress. She thinks it’s funny that Oliver has this crazy ex-girlfriend — and then this happens. Things get serious when Laurel gets kidnapped. Any time someone is threatening her family, Sara gets real serious, real fast.
Neither one of them are super-stylized martial artists. They are very practical — it’s about winning the fight. They are both well trained and pretty vicious. They have different weapons, but they go hand-to-hand.
Was the fight choreography difficult to pull off?
We had one scene we shot outside, and it was freezing cold. We’re in our costumes, and we’re trying to film this fight scene when we could barely move because it’s so cold. It was a lot of fun. I don’t usually get to fight girls, so that was a nice little change.
Does protecting Laurel throw Sara’s game off or make her work even harder?
I think it throws her game off a little bit, at least in the beginning. Any time family is involved, it triggers some issues.
Sara’s father, Quentin, knows about her ties to the League of Assassins. Why hasn’t she come clean with Laurel?
She believes Laurel wouldn’t understand. Sara doesn’t want anyone to know about this other side of her. It would also be dangerous for Laurel to know more. Sara thinks Laurel might be ashamed of who she is. Canary came from the League of Assassins, not the League of Heroes.
Traditionally, in the comic books — and the short-lived TV series — the Birds of Prey have consisted of Black Canary, Huntress and Barbara Gordon/Oracle. What are the chances of there being a nod to that third member or the formation of a team?
I have no idea. I know a lot of fans would like that. It would definitely be fun if they went there, but we don’t have an Oracle on the show yet — or if we do, we don’t know who it is. We have a little ways before that happens, but you never know.
Felicity would be an interesting choice for Oracle.
I’ve heard a lot of talk about that on the fan boards. That’s something running around. I think it would be cool. Felicity needs a cool superhero name, so I’d be happy about it.
Black Canary is nobody’s sidekick. What have you enjoyed about the way the writers have handled her?
I like that they’ve kept her so independent and kept some of her demons. It’s not like all of a sudden she comes back and everything is great and she’s perfect. They really kept in mind the history of where she came from, and that her coming back to reality is a process. I’m happy they’ve respected that, and kept her strong. Of course she’s vulnerable, but not in damsel-in-distress moments. She’s only vulnerable when it makes sense. It’s more character-driven than plot-driven.
What else can you tease about Sara’s role in the back end of the season?
Maybe what I was mentioning about some of her demons. She still has to deal with stuff, finding her place and who she is. She’s still a little lost. There are some interesting developments with her relationship with Oliver.
Slade Wilson/Deathstroke has started to make his presence felt in Starling City. Why does he pose such a threat to Oliver and, possibly even more so, to Sara?
Slade wants to take down the entire city, which is where Sara’s family is. Laurel is there. Her dad is there. She also doesn’t want innocent people to die, and she knows Slade. There’s a personal connection she has to him. There’s a responsibility over who he is and who he’s become. She’s a little bit responsible for that, so she feels the need to help.
Whether she’s facing Huntress or Deathstroke, Sara has one major ace up her sleeve: her sonic Canary device. Why doesn’t she use that card more?
I’ve always wondered the same thing. I would use it all the time. I guess they tend to save it for some key moments. Maybe Sara only wants to use it when she really needs it and most time she feels she can handle the situation without it.
Lastly, in what ways do you think your upcoming movie “The Machine” will appeal to “Arrow” viewers?
If you’re a fan of sci-fi, that’s exactly what “The Machine” is. It’s an awesome sci-fi movie. There’s a lot of action in it. It almost feels like “The Machine” is a comic book character. There could totally be a “Machine” comic. If you’re into that kind of world, you’ll like this movie. I’m so proud of it. It’s the coolest film I’ve ever worked on.