"Arrow" -- The CW drama based on DC Comics' Green Arrow character -- was one of the first shows the network picked up for a new season in 2013, and in response, its characters are going to hit the ground running. At Comic-Con International in San Diego, stars of the action series including lead Stephen Amell (Oliver Queen), Katie Cassidy (Laurel Lance), David Ramsey (Dig), Emily Bett Rickards (Felicity Smoak) and Colton Haynes (Roy Harper) shared plans for their characters, the new guest stars on the series, the overarching plans for Starling City and the island and more.
Each and every member of the cast pointed towards the finale of Season 1 as the spark that lights the fuse of Season 2. The loss of both the "Glades" section of Starling City as well as the character of Tommy Merlyn will loom large when the show returns on October 9, but not in an immediate sense.
"We take some time between Season 1 and Season 2. We take a five month break," Amell explained. "We were basically pretty honest in the timing before in that Season 1 took place over the course of a year. When we took our break between episodes 9 and 10, we took about six weeks because that's how long we were off air. But here we're taking roughly five months, and again, one of the last things Tommy called me was a murderer. That doesn't sit lightly with me, and it impacts everything moving forward for how I do what I do."
Ramsey agreed, saying, "The end of last season affected everybody. The destruction of the Glades. Tommy's death. All of that. Everyone in these first few episodes -- particularly Oliver but also Laurel very seriously -- are reeling from that. Diggle is very purposeful, and I think he's very stallwart and military in how he keeps on course. With the destruction of the Glades, as devastating as it is, brings out the soldier in him where he says, 'The mission is what's important.' But other people in the show like Laurel and Oliver have dealt with this in very different ways."
Amell noted that one major difference between Seasons 1 and 2 was the way in which show runners Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg were able to plan out the series' second year, knowing they had a full order of episodes to work with. "When the writers were doing the first season, they were writing for 13 episodes and then figuring out the rest as it came," the actor said. "When you shoot almost ten episodes before anyone even sees the show, what people see and react to becomes a critical instrument in the series. This year, the writers can write for 23 episodes, and they have a plan. Not that there wasn't a plan before, but they were telling me the island stuff, and wow! The present day stuff is a little bit more open to interpretation, but the island stuff as a finite amount of time means that the Season 2 plan is set."
Cassidy said that while there is always an overarching mythology at work in "Arrow," the development and growth of each individual cast member remains paramount. "It's nice going into Season 2 that we have a lot to go off from what happened in Season 1, and it's all a reaction to what happened in the finale. It's nice to see these characters each evolve and grow on their own. It's the story of a hero not just in terms of Green Arrow, but in a way, as characters we're all on our own journey evolving into our own heroes."
In that respect, each member of the cast was excited to see how their own character would be expanded on in Season 2. For example, Rickards looked forward to digging a bit deeper into Felicity beyond the fluttery hacker persona that made the one-off character a series regular. "It's fun that we got to put a little bit of our own story in the show. We got to change the way they were thinking about going with the characters," she said. "We know that she hates kangaroos but she's never been to Australia. We know these very specific things about, but we don't know anything about her family. And I think we have to. We have to know where she came from. When you look at your friends, you want to know what their parents are like."
Haynes had a more set trajectory, saying, "I don't think Roy has a very great future ahead of him. He gets into a lot of trouble this season -- taking on some people who are double his size and can knock him down a couple of pegs. This season, Roy is trying to impress the father he doesn't have. He's looking for someone to latch onto -- for a mentor. But he's looking in all the wrong directions. His struggle this season is that he's going to have to get deep down to the bottom of where he is...and he didn't really think that Oliver was a good role model before."Photos by Pinguino Kolb