The series premiere of “Arrow” didn’t pull any punches. The action-packed CW show hit the ground running when it debuted last week to record ratings, and it was clear from the trailer shown at New York Comic Con that the rest of season 1 isn’t going to slow down.
During a round table session with the show’s star, CBR and other members of the press spoke with Stephen Amell about the series, and one thing the man who plays Oliver Queen made a point to discuss was the pacing of the rest of this season. Amell said that with the exception of a “bit of a reset” in episode 5, which is a “different kind of episode,” the first half of season 1 is very fast-paced.
“The show is manic in subsequent episodes. Episode 2 is manic. I feel like we are advancing our story really well, but that we’re also doing it responsibly,” Amell said. “There hasn’t been anything posed in the show right now that we haven’t addressed. The other thing that I really enjoy is that, while there are twists along the way, they all make sense. At no point are you going, ‘That’s a twist just for the sake of it being a twist.'”
That twist in question is the reveal at the end of episode 1 that his character’s mother, Moira Queen, had actually ordered to have him kidnapped. The implication is that she will become a villain this season, and Amell made it clear that the plot line won’t go unresolved.
“We saw what happened with my mother at the end of the first episode. That wasn’t there for shock value, that was there for a reason, and it’s something that we address,” he said. “We don’t do anything on the show that we don’t pay off later. We show the Deathstroke mask at the beginning of the pilot; Deathstroke’s on his way. I like that. I like that aspect of our storytelling.”
It has been clear from the get-go that Amell’s Oliver Queen is a very athletic person, something that was highlighted in the pilot’s exercise sequence. Amell seemed to take pride in the physicality of this character, and teased similar scenes showcasing his abilities in episodes 2, 3 and 8.
“When I auditioned for the part, I told these guys that I want to do something physical. I want to do this while everything still works,” he said. “I don’t have any superpowers, so it was important to me to be believable as a guy who could fight crime, could go after bad guys and snap a guy’s neck just by tensing up.”
Even though Oliver seemed very put together in the pilot episode, Amell hinted that things won’t stay that way for long. There is a lot of baggage that comes with becoming a superhero — even if he is currently recognized more as a vigilante — and it’s a duty that doesn’t rest lightly on Oliver’s shoulders.
“Oliver in the pilot is very centered. Immediately in the second episode, we see angry Arrow,” Amell said. “He doesn’t want to do this — he has to. He made a promise to his father. If he could retire into the country, probably with Laurel, I think that he would, but he’s nowhere close to doing that now.”
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.