WonderCon 2013: CW punctures Stormtroopers, Zombies with ‘Arrow’

While CW’s latest hit series may not make up for all the years of dreck called “90210” and “Smallville” (kidding!), it’s hard to think of a bigger surprise this Holiday TV season than “Arrow.”

WonderCon 2013: CW punctures Stormtroopers, Zombies with 'Arrow'
One quote, that’s all you could give me, Derek. One quote?! ARE. YOU. OUTTA. YOUR. MIND!??!

It’s the little comic book show that can; the one that actually follows the darkness of a “Lost” island tragedy to the musty silliness of a billionaire vigilante. “Arrow” has provided a shrill fixture of both “Batman” (1966-68) and The Dark Knight. Thankfully, the show is about Oliver Queen, who only just recently — in the hands of Jeff Lemire — received a worthy scribe who could do the Justice Leaguer some, well, justice.

And, so, sure: Queen hasn’t been so much the joke his friend Arthur Curry has, but he hasn’t quite been as respected in the comic world since the days of Kevin Smith, Brad Meltzer and Judd Winick, either.

Perhaps the prime reason for the show’s success is that “comic book men” are running the show, with even superstar DC Comics scribe Geoff Johns contributing a script or two. Complete that with a fresh, new, fantastic cast — who still definitely fit the “CW mold” (i.e. wealthy, weirdly attractive, uh.. white) — and Saturday’s uproariously fantastic crowd at the Anaheim Convention Center, to pierce wide smiles about “Arrow.”

Senior Writer for TV Guide, Damian Holbrook, took moderating duties this afternoon, and begin asking Oliver Queen himself — Stephen Amell — if he’s getting tired at all.

Never that.

“You can’t make the show smaller, you can only go bigger.”

“I show up every day with my venti latte, “ sister Thea (Willa Holland) adds.

Holbrook asked Willa about how her character is starting to develop, to which Willa responded with much relief. “Finally Thea is out of the house and having fun exploring with Colin [Colton] and other characters.“

Newcomer Colton Haynes, who plays the Teen Titan formerly known as Red Arrow and Speedy, Roy Harper a.k.a. Arsenel appears to be a badass in his own right. But with oft-shirtless screen-hog Amell tending to snatch the most fun, how do the other actors react?

“I have been telling the writers that I am ready and willing and so frickin’ pumped to pick up an arrow! I want to kick some ass!” Holland said laughing.

WonderCon 2013: CW punctures Stormtroopers, Zombies with 'Arrow'
One of the more tender moments in “Arrow” coming up…

Colin Donnell, who plays Queen’s best friend Tommy, just panned, “Is [Tommy] gonna get a bow? Never say never.”

“We’re going to have something you’re going to like in the season finale,” says showrunner Marc Guggenheim. “Tommy has a cool moment with a gun!” Gugg’s also adds that there will be a scene in episode 23 that will be an example of where they want to take Thea’s character.

When Holbrook asks about the writing on the show, Guggenheim claims to write character first, casting second.

“We have a Season One board that’s like a grid which tracks all the bad guys, the major relationship moments, the major mythology moments…we have a board that is titled ‘Things We Want To See’…and we have a board that charts out the mythology as far as what the undertaking is,” Guggenheim said. “All those answers, by the way, are coming in the final three episodes of the season.”

Continuing with casting, Holbrook brings up John Barrowman (Tommy’s dad and “Dark Archer” Malcolm Merlyn) and Alex Kingston (the original Black Canary [?], Dinah Lance), two names that receive huge applause from the audience. In a continuing joke as the panel goes on, the panelists say either of the actors’ names just to playfully get a reaction out of the audience.

In response to a Twitter question that Holbrook asks about Stephen and his stunt work. “Our stunt coordinator always wants me doing something physical but to have a purpose behind it. I do as much [stunt-work] as I possibly can.”

When asked about the motorcycle riding though…

“No comment,” tips Amell, with a slight bit of remorse.

Dinah’s ex-hubby and “Arrow’s” version of Commissioner Gordon, Paul Blackthorne, was asked about any bad injuries on set Stephen tried to avoid.

“You broke that guy’s nose!” Blackthorne said.

“In fairness to me–” Amell tried to explain before Donnell interrupted with, “His face was in the way?”

“The guy had a big freaking nose!” Amell laughed, “I felt really bad, this was five episodes into the show!”

WonderCon 2013: CW punctures Stormtroopers, Zombies with 'Arrow'
No, that heavily annoyed bald guy is NOT Dean Norris. Sorry.

Amell said afterwards “Arrow” stunt coordinator J.J. Makaro told him, “‘Until you’ve punched a stunt guy in the face, you’re not really one of us!’ It was an accident! I bought him a six-pack of beer, and life went on.”

He then spoke on that infamous “list” that Oliver’s father gave him. “That’s creating a lot of damage, but the list isn’t going to be around forever.” Guggenheim relayed the message, “We’re coming to a point where Oliver is so hellbent about the list his father gave him and that is creating a lot of collateral damage. But, one of the things we’re driving towards is Oliver doing things for a more virtuous reason than just revenge.”

In regard to the character of Felicity (Oliver’s “Oracle,” if you will), Gugg’s says that, despite the apparent crush on Queen, there really isn’t time to deal with her right now. His hands are quite full with him, Laurel, and Tommy.

Holbrook asked Amell if there was a real life bond between him and his screen bestie: “There’s people under 18 here. We can’t talk about that.”

  • Looking to the Island flashbacks, Guggenheim explained that from day one, there has been a five-year plan for revealing what happened on the Island. “We planned out the big tent pole moments, the big jaw dropping moments for the first five years.” He also teased that in episode 21, they will be “flashing back to before the ill-fated boat trip.” And actor (Colin Salmon) will be returning as Walter Steele.
  • When they turn it to audience questions one person asks for a Barrowman/Kingston scene? Guggenheim says he is aware and it’s on the “wish list” board. Guggenheim also reveals that Deadshot will be returning in addition to the arrival of Argus. “For those people who have been waiting for rematch of lifetime between Arrow and the Dark Archer from episode nine, your wishes are going to be granted in ways you can’t expect.”


“Arrow” airs tonight on the CW at 8 pm Eastern/7 Central.

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