Producer/writer Marc Guggenheim joined CBR TV to help christen our all-new new Speakeasy set and, of course, discuss his upcoming work on “Arrow” while taking a look back at the recently completed first season.
After getting some tennis talk out of the way and explaining that he was wearing a Starling City Rockets hat, created to give Diggle a baseball cap to wear for an episode of “Arrow,” Guggenheim went on to discuss the various DC Universe sports teams, the challenges in and lessons learned from “Arrow’s first season and his recent Kord Industry tease. The writer/producer also spoke about which characters from DC’s library are on and off limits to the “Arrow” writing staff, the identity of the second season’s major villain, his upcoming “Trial of the Punisher” miniseries with Leinil Yu on art and more.
On balancing the will they/won’t they aspect of Oliver and Laurel’s relationship on “Arrow”: I think any time you do a TV show, and you’ve got two people together who are star-crossed lovers and they’re destined to be together, but you don’t want them together because you run into the “Moonlighting” problem of your two main characters, once they actually end up together, in a committed relationship, then it seems to lose all of its sexual spark.The little magic trick that we have to do with Oliver and Laurel is, keep bringing them together and pulling them apart, bringing them together and pulling them apart.
On finding the right mixture of melodrama and mythology on “Arrow”: You know, I think the reason the show is a success — I think we always knew if the show was gonna be a success, it’s that it blends mythology and melodrama and action and a little bit of humor in one big package — without feeling schizophrenic. That the trick. The trick is making all these ingredients actually complement each other and elevate each piece so that the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. That was a hard balance to figure out in the early going, but I think, by the end of the season, that we’ve really figured it out, cracked that special sauce on the show. All those pieces are very important.
On the biggest lesson learned about “Arrow” while crafting its first season: I think, probably, the biggest thing we learned was, to not try to do too much in any given episode. In the sense of, we want the episodes to be jam-packed… but in too many of the early episodes, there were D-storylines. Writers always talk about, you do an A-Story, B-story, C-story — we had A, B, C, D and a flashback. The D-stories inevitably felt ghettoized in sort of their own show.
On Oliver’s journey from vigilante to hero and what it will mean for the show: This was always sort of the trajectory we planned. This has always been the first two years of “Batman Begins.” In fact, last year, around October, right before the show premiered, we had a meeting with the head of the studio and we basically said, it’s about going from being the Hood to the Arrow to Green Arrow. We knew all along that it would take us two years to do that. The thing that makes me worried is, the show works well because it has darkness to it. It’s not gonna be all sunshine and rainbows in Season 2, I don’t want people to get the wrong impression that the show is going to abruptly change, tonally. It’s actually consistent in its tone even though Oliver has a more “Aspirational” mission.
On the success of the digital-fist “Arrow” comic and the benefit of tying it directly into the television show: The trade paperback drops in September, the day after the Blu-ray and DVD of “Arrow” season 1 — it’s very nicely timed! Corporate synergy, man! It’s the future! I’ve been trying to [figure out], what can we do to publicize this, because again, our audience is not just the comic book fans, but the fans of the show. In fact during hiatus, I think a lot of people — I’ve been getting messages on Twitter and such — [asking] “Where can I pick up this ‘Arrow’ digital comic?” Which is kind of cool! And hopefully [the comic] will have an even bigger audience once the trade comes out. It’s almost a full-time job publicizing any comic book, but I think it’s a fun aspect of the show because, for me — I’ve never seen a show have a comic book tie in that was done contemporaneously with the show, by the people involved in the show. And if you go back and look at a lot of those comics, you’ll see subtle little references to stuff that paid off only in the [season] finale.