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Everything We Know About Arrow: Season 3

We are still a little over 2 months away from the premiere of the third season of Arrow, but after the recent 1-2 punch of the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour and San Diego Comic-Con we are kind of drowning in season 3 spoilers.  Heck, in the time since Comic-Con closed the show has added two new cast members, a potential love interest for Laurel and Felicity’s freakin’ mom.

So, let’s gather together all of the pertinent season 3 details below, but, first, here’s the season 3 trailer from Comic-Con:

1. The season premiere will air on Wednesday, October 8th 

In its same old 7 PM CST/8PM EST time slot.  They have indicated that they actually have the entire season already planned out.  Just thought I’d throw that in there.

2. The story of what happened between season 2 and 3 will be told exclusively in a special comic book due out in September

There will be a 7-8 month time jump in-between seasons, as part of their attempt at acknowledging roughly how much real time (around 5 months) will have passed since the airing of the season 2 finale and season 3 premiere.  To fill in the gap, there will be a cool-sounding comic book, as Marc Guggenheim told ComicBookResources:

“Myself and Keto Shimizu, one of the writers on the show, we are going to write “Arrow Season 2.5,” and we are going to bridge the end of Season Two with the beginning of Season Three. And we’re going to answer questions. We’re going to introduce characters. And because it’s being written by me and another member of the staff, it will really fill in some major gaps. And what’s nice is because the digital copy is going to come out in September, that means, for a month, it’s your only “Arrow” fix. We really, really want to push ourselves to come up with sequences that we could never afford on the show in a million years.”

3. John Barrowman has been upped to a series regular

Streets of Fire

That likely means we will be seeing more of the “Wait a minute, why isn’t he dead?” Malcolm Merlyn, though there have been multiple TV shows as of late who’ve technically upped someone to series regular status only to have their screen time not noticeably increase. (THR)  Also, they seem to have realized that no one seriously thought they had killed off Detective Lance in the season 2 finale.  So, he’s right there in the season 3 trailer, clearly announcing, “I’m not dead!  Duh.”  Well, he’s bald now.  So, maybe we’re not supposed to quite recognize him, but, nope, that’s him.

4. Caity Lotz will be back as Sara for at least 3 episodes

The Man Under the Hood

With Sara having handed off her bitchin black leather jacket coat to Laurel in the season 2 finale, she’s officially now on death watch as surely she’s expendable if Laurel is officially being set up to become the full Black Canary.  Then again, many assumed Sara wouldn’t make it past the halfway mark last season, let alone survive all the way into the third season.  As of right now, she will be a part of the upcoming season, albeit on a reduced schedule.  According to producer Andrew Kreisberg, Lotz is only booked for 3 episodes, but they love her so much they’re hoping to book her for more.  One of her episodes will apparently be titled “Sara.”  That may mean absolutely nothing.  Or something.  I dunno.  Just passing it along. (TVGuide)

5. Screw the island – Oliver’s flashbacks will now take place in Hong Kong

At least they’re trying to change it up.  Obviously from where we meet him in the pilot, Oliver ends up back on that dang island, but the season 2 finale revealed that after battling Slade Wilson Oliver was actually taken to Hong Kong and forced to work black-ops missions for Amanda Waller.  That will carry on throughout season 3, although if you’ve actually been to Hong Kong don’t expect to recognize anything that shows up screen.  They’re using Vancouver to double for Hong Kong just as they used the woods of Vancouver to double for that island the past two seasons.

6. Oliver will have company in Hong Kong – Karl Yune cast to play Maseo, and Devin Aoki cast to play his wife Tatsu Yamashiro

Apparently, these will (at least initially) be flashback-only characters, Maseo working as Oliver’s Hong Kong-based handler and Tatsu as his beguiling wife who is now slouch herself, described as “a deadly, blade-wielding martial arts expert.”  Those are both comic book-based characters, though there isn’t much in the way of long character histories for either of them.  Tatsu goes by the name Katana in the comics, and producer Andrew Kreisberg has teased her expertise with blades will likely add to Oliver’s skillset much in the same way her learned to master archery under Shado’s tutelage.  (TVLine)

7. Tommy will show up in one of the Hong Kong flashbacks

Tommy-dies-Arrow-590x328

Andrew Kreisberg previously revealed that Colin Donnell will return as Tommy in the season’s second episode, telling the story “about how Tommy and Oliver just missed each other in Hong Kong.”  Stephen Amell has since spilled the beans that the scene will basically consist of Oliver standing on a Hong Kong rooftop and looking down to see Tommy talking to his dad because they used to be the super duper rich types who could just randomly show up in China like that (plus, Malcolm probably had some nefarious goings-on in the area). (TVGuide)

8. There will be more flashbacks devoted to characters other than Oliver, including one all about Felicity’s college days

The first season had that episode where we got flashbacks to fill in the back story of how Oliver’s parents became entangled with Malcolm Merlyn in the first place, and last season’s Suicide Squad episode showed us Diggle in his old soldier days.  Those are just two examples of times when Arrow has devoted its flashbacks to someone other than Oliver.  The producers have promised more of that in season 3, most notably in the form of an early season 3 episode named “Oracle,” which will have Felicity-centric flashbacks delving into her history at M.I.T.  Ever the tease, producer Marc Guggenheim has promised this episode will deliver “the secret origin of Felicity Smoak.” (TVLine)

9. Charlotte Ross has been cast to play Felicity’s mother

Do you remember Quinn’s mom on Glee?  That was Charlotte Ross.

Interesting.  Where else might I have seen Ms. Ross?

Nashville, NYPD Blue, and Days of Our Lives.

They’re not saying much about what to expect from Ross as Felicity’s mom other than to re-confirm what we already know about their situation, Guggenheim summarizing, “We know that [Felicity] went to MIT, we know that her mom was a cocktail waitress in Vegas and we’re going to meet that mom. And we also know that her dad is not in the picture.”  It’s safe to assume Ross will appear in the Felicity-centric “Oracle,” but even if that’s true we don’t know if she’ll show up in the present, flashbacks, or both, or if she’ll stick around longer than just one episode (TVLine).

10. Oliver asks Felicity out on a date in the season premiere – it won’t go well

Oliver-and-Felicity

It’s not a particularly big twist anymore given that it’s the centerpiece of the season 3 trailer which premiered at Comic-Con: Oliver & Felicity will indeed go out on a date in the season premiere, and she will end up later that same evening bloodied and on a slab in the Arrow cave (Amell accurately described their date as “going horribly”).

11. They are following the Joss Whedon rule of drama – the moment the characters achieve any happiness is when you knock them damn, hard

In the past two seasons, Oliver has defeated his two biggest foes, Malcolm Merlyn (as far as he knows) and Slade Wilson, and season 3 will initially reward his heroic efforts as Starling City will view the Arrow as a hero, causing the cops to call off their anti-vigilante task force.  So, the starting point to begin with will see Oliver attempting to have some kind of social life until a villain arrives to re-focus his obsessive efforts on vigilantism.  It appears as if Felicity will get caught in the cross-fire.  In general, the idea for Oliver and Felicity for the entire season will be for each to explore the question of whether or not they can have everything they want.

The producers have consistently referenced Geek god Joss Whedon’s notoriously brutal habit of ripping our hearts out the moment that they gave us what we thought we wanted on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, will they/won’t they couples on both shows finally consummating their relationship only to be brutally torn apart by the very next episode.

12. Brandon Routh has been cast to play the Ray “Atom” Palmer, and will quickly emerge as a rival to Oliver for Felicity’s affection

Palmer will come in as a potential bidder for Queen Consolidated, and the producers have consistently referred to him as a game-changer for the show much in the way Eliza Dushku’s Faith changed Buffy the Vampire Slayer upon her third season introduction.

They wanted Ted “Blue Beetle” Kord, but had to settle for the Atom when DC wouldn’t grant permission to use Kord. Pictured above is the Blue Beetle.

In the comics, Palmer is your standard brilliant scientist who gains superpowers due to a lab accident, the powers in this case being the ability to shrink to a subatomic level.  On the show, he will start out as a brilliant inventor and entrepreneur whose yet to gain his superpowers or has but is keeping it a secret.  Much like Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen, Routh’s Ray Palmer will be a far funnier presence than the usually taciturn Oliver thus bouncing off of Felicity quite nicely.  There will be some definite sparkage there, with Palmer consistently described as an endearing, old-school leading man type far more capable of the rat-tat-tat banter with a Gal Friday like Felicity than Oliver. (MoviePilot)

13. Stephen Amell thinks his only love interest this season will be Felicity; the producers don’t necessarily agree

The Man Under the Hood
Oliver’s worst nightmare: the ex and the new girlfriend comparing notes

In a roundtable interview at Comic Con, Collider asked Stephen Amell what the romantic situation will be like for Oliver in season 3.  He quickly replied there will be one woman in Oliver’s life this year, and when pressed whether he was just joking since technically his sister Thea will always be one woman in his life he explained the one woman he meant was Felicity.  When asked what that meant for the likes of Sara and Laurel Amell set off a small explosion in the hearts of Laurel/Oliver fans everywhere:

The ship has sailed on those romances. I don’t think we’ll ever see Oliver & Sarah or Oliver & Laurel together again. I mean – they’ll be together but just not ‘together-together’. They’ll be teammates. We discover in the premiere the way that Oliver feels about Felicity. Because of that — if we just introduced random love interests, it would undersell what we do in the premiere.

However, while these things always sound really officially coming from the actors they’re not actually the ones who make storyline decisions or write the scripts.  Prior to Comic Con, ComicBookResources interviewed one of the guys who does those kinds of thing, producer Andrew Kreisberg, and he seemed to leave things a bit more open for Oliver’s love life:

Oliver’s love life has always been interesting. Where are his romantic relationships going this season?

I think they’re going to get deeper and richer this season. We’re not known for treading water on our show, so things will escalate, probably faster than people expect, as always. With whom is always the question. But we feel really good about what’s happening this year. When it’s the right time to do something, we do it, and we feel like, not just with Oliver, but with all the characters, we’re really starting them off in the right place.

Have we seen all the fish in the sea for now, or are there new faces you might strike something up with as well?

Well, don’t forget Oliver exists in two timelines. There’s the present and the past. So there’s new people. There could be potential new people in both areas.

14. J.R. Ramirez has been cast to play Ted “Wildcat” Grant

Did you ever watch Emily Owens, MD?  No.  Then you may never have seen J.R. Ramirez before, but he’s going to be Arrow’s version of Wildcat, this TV incarnation being an ex-boxer who runs a gym for underprivileged youth in Starling City.  The addition of Wildcast to Arrow’s cast of DC-based characters was first spilled at Comic-Con by Stephen Amell, with Katie Cassidy revealing that her character would be involved with “The Man With Nine Lives.”  The producers had previously revealed that Laurel would have a new love interest this season, and the assumption is that we have now met that love interest.  Sure, Wildcat is more of a father figure to Black Canary in the comics, an elder statesman from way back in the Justice Society days (pre-Justice League) who is most know for training many of the Society/League’s best fighters.  But Felicity is also married to Firestorm’s dad in the comics, having nothing to do with Oliver Queen.  So, yeah, take that.  (ColliderTVLine)

15. Ra’s Al-Guhl will be the season’s big bad

1377079561_Ra-s-ras-al-ghul-26803356-1600-1000
The Liam Neeson version from Batman Begins

The actual Arrow panel at Comic Con held no real surprises other than the sight of a bloodied and unconscious Felicity, but they released a slightly longer season 3 trailer the very next day which revealed that after two seasons of teasing Ra’s Al-Guhl will indeed be season 3’s big bad.  According to the industry trades, the part hasn’t actually been cast yet which is why the Comic-Con trailer simply showed off some of the classic touchstones of his costume but not his face.  Either way, we will now have gone from Malcolm Merlyn being the first season’s big bad to season 3 featuring a man so scary that the mere mention of his name caused Malcolm to practically run away screaming last year.

Kreisberg offered a bit more insight, observing that it will be a “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” situation.  He teased, “War is coming and each character is going to have to face which side [they’re] going to be on.” (Collider)

16. Peter Stormare has been cast to play a new version of Count Vertigo

Named Werner Zytle and played by Peter Stormare (the guy who put Steve Buscemi in  a wood chipper in Fargo), this new character, simply calling himself “Vertigo,” will take over the Vertigo drug line left behind by Seth Gabel’s Count last season.  Gabel was rather open that he was just doing an impression of Heath Ledger’s Joker for his Count.  We’ll see what Stormare does with it when his character pops up in the season 3 premiere.

17. Roy’s new Arsenal-like costume kicks ass

Just look at it:

18. Diggle will struggle to justify his work with Oliver now that he is on a kid on the way

In case you forgot, the season 2 finale dropped the bomb that Lyla was pregnant with Diggle’s kid.  That’s not going away.  Kreisberg:

A lot of the opening episodes are about Diggle’s changing circumstances and how that’s affecting his decisions and how he approaches being part of Team Arrow. There’s a lot of conflict between Oliver and Dig about Dig now being a father. There’s also interesting conflict between Dig and Lyla because Lyla is still working at A.R.G.U.S., which we’ve painted as a less than savory organization.

19. There will be a two-hour crossover event with The Flash

Buffy_Faith_five_by_five
When Faith crossed over from Buffy to Angel

The big cross-overs will be Felicity popping up in the fourth episode of The Flash, and episodes 8 of both shows forming a two-hour crossover event.  Their model for the crossovers is Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, Kreisberg telling Collider:

There’s the giant crossover where Buffy and Angel would be on the same episode but then there’s also little crossovers that I loved like on Angel when Angel became Angelus and he heard that there was a slayer in town and he picked up the phone and called Dawn and said ‘Hey — Is your sister there? Oh she is? Great’ and then he’d hang up and go ‘Damn – it’s the other one.’ Even that little thing — I almost love those even more. Because I feel like for the fans who are watching both shows, that’s almost in a way more of a love letter than both casts coming together. We have Felicity coming over [to The Flash] in episode four and we’re having this big crossover in eight, but there will also be those little ones along the way that I think for people who are watching both shows will really jazz them.

As a huge Buffy/Angel fan, I instantly recognized the moment he’s talking about (it’s from Angel‘s 4th season), and the fact that he’s using something like that as an example of the type of cross-overs they have planned makes me very excited for this emerging DC TV universe shared by Flash and Arrow. (Collider)

20. They don’t actually have an exit plan for their flashbacks

Oliver was on that island for 5 years, and the assumption is that each season’s worth of flashbacks is meant to represent 1 year on the island, even if that doesn’t actually make any logical sense when you stop and try to count the number of days which appear to have actually passed by.  So, Collider asked Andrew Kreisberg if they had given any thought to what happens if the flashbacks catch up to the present day on the show.  Here’s his response:

I think it’s a little bit of hubris to worry about what’s going to happen to your show in five years […] I guess at some point if the Oliver trajectory catches up to the pilot, there’s other things we could do but I think those are ‘champagne problems’, as my wife likes to say.

The Flash premieres on The CW on Tuesday, October 7th, while season three of Arrow kicks off on Wednesday, October 8th.

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