Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) has a lot of explaining to do in the first season of “Arrow,” especially to his former girlfriend Laurel Lance and his younger sister Thea Queen. Those two characters have changed a lot in the five years they believed Oliver was dead, and it’s shaped them into the characters they are when we meet them in The CW’s new TV show based on DC Comics’ Green Arrow.
Comic Book Resources had the chance to catch up with Willa Holland, who plays Thea, and Katie Cassidy, who plays Laurel, during a group interview while they were promoting “Arrow” at New York Comic Con 2012. Both actresses teased the ways Oliver would have to work to win back the affections of the two women he cares most about most in the world.
“Oliver and Thea’s relationship is a very dynamic one. In the beginning, you can tell almost from the pilot but from the rest of it, their relationship before he disappeared was very strong,” Holland explained. “She was the only thing that kept him grounded — not that he was grounded in any sense of the word — but probably the only thing that kind of kept him home.”
But Thea, whose nickname is Speedy, has changed a lot after she lost her big brother. She turned to the partying and drug-using ways Oliver used to live by before his disappearance and, according to Holland, “she kind of tries to put herself into his shoes and refill what was missing.”
“There’s things that get pieced together slowly but surely, but Oliver and Thea are going to have problems for a while,” she teased. “It’s not going to be just like that [snaps]. It’s similar, not in a romantic aspect, but to Laurel and Oliver. Things are very rough at the moment. It’s going to take a while for things to go back to where everything could be.”
Speaking of Laurel and Oliver, Cassidy said she doesn’t see the former couple reprising their relationship anytime soon considering he had been cheating on her with her younger sister Sarah at the time of his disappearance. Sarah died as a result of being with him that night, and Cassidy said she doesn’t think that can be forgiven.
“I think he’s the love of her life, and they have a huge history together with one another, and I think she will find it in her heart to forgive him at some point, it’s just a matter of when,” Cassidy said. “I think that she’s accepted it, and it’s been five years and time has passed and she’s been able to heal. I don’t know. I’m personally interested in the relationship and where it’s going to go, because I don’t know if you come back from that. I don’t know if you come back from losing a sibling to an ex-lover, or lover.”
â€¨Cassidy added that she personally believes Laurel and Oliver are meant to be together, even if they aren’t now.
However, Laurel does have a great relationship with another man in her life: her father, Detective Quentin Lance. It was the moral code her father taught her as a child that led her to become a lawyer, and her sister’s death and mother’s abandonment that drew the two of them together. That relationship between Laurel and her father is something viewers will see expand over the course of this season.
“You’ll definitely get a sense of the relationship between the two of them and more so. You’ll get history, you’ll get relationship,” Cassidy said. “Paul Blackthorne, I cannot say it enough, is such a fantastic actor and, as an actor working with another actor, I totally appreciate everything he does. I feel like he wants to develop backstory, he wants to work on it, he wants to talk about things, and he just brings it to life and makes it more alive.”
Thea’s nickname being Speedy seems to imply that she will one day act as Oliver’s sidekick — superhero or otherwise. Holland, who admitted she hasn’t yet had a scene with Oliver in his Arrow costume, said that the whole sidekick plot hasn’t been introduced at this point in time.
“We haven’t gotten that far yet, but I’d love for that to happen. That’s about all I can say of it as of now,” Holland said. “They like to keep us in the dark. It’s basically like each script we get is almost like watching a new episode for me. I have no idea what’s going to happen on the next one, so eight days later I get it, and then it’s like, ‘Ooh, God, oh my God, yes.'”
If Episode 1 was about setting up where these people are now that Oliver has returned, Holland said Episode 2 is about expanding upon that. She promised that it won’t be “an easy snap back” for any of the characters who were affected by Oliver’s absence.
“Episode 2, it’s kind of really describing their relationships and really just kind of putting out what their lives are going to be like now for a while. It’s a little bit of a taste of how hard things are going to be,” she said. “You don’t come back from the dead for five years and everything just goes back to normalcy. It’s going to be a little bumpy road for maybe a while.”
Airing Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT, “Arrow” also stars Colin Donnell as Tommy Merlyn, Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance, David Ramsey as John Diggle, Willa Holland as Thea Queen, Susanna Thompson as Moira Queen and Paul Blackthorne as Detective Quentin Lance.