‘Arrow’ Returns: Marc Guggenheim Previews Oliver Queen’s Next Steps

by Ryan Rigley

Like Gotham City, Starling City has its fair share of deadly secrets. Not to mention a vigilante willing to do whatever it takes to uncover them. With the mid-season finale of “Arrow” ending on a huge cliffhanger, there still remains many unanswered questions that will undoubtedly be addressed in upcoming episodes. Why did Moira salvage the Queen’s Gambit? How will Oliver defeat the Dark Archer? Who is Deathstroke? The list goes on.

“My hope is that all of the mysteries will be answered; at least all of the major ones,” states “Arrow” writer and producer Marc Guggenheim on the second half of this season, premiering tonight (January 16). “There’s certain mysteries that Oliver is holding in himself and then there’s other mysteries like, for example, what his mother is up to that Oliver needs to start to unravel.”

“You start to feel, in the second half of the season, that everything’s clicking in a really good way,” Guggenheim continues to explain. “The production value on the show just takes this huge leap forward; starting in episode 10 with all this fire and then in episode 11 we open with some amazing armored car sequences.”

But armored cars and explosions aren’t the only things to look forward to this season. “I always try to avoid spoilers when it comes to Deathstroke, but you’ll be seeing quite a bit of Deathstroke,” reveals Guggenheim on the deadly assassin. “I’m glad people seem to be responding to him ’cause he’s definitely one of my favorite comic book characters and he’s definitely a favorite ’Arrow’ character for me.”

The “Arrow” producer goes on to hint at Deathstroke making an appearance not only in flashback form but also in present day Starling City. “When and if Deathstroke appears in present day,” Guggenheim teases. “I don’t think I’m spoiling anything to say that were that to happen that that would be a fairly huge deal. But I’m gonna keep that one close to the vest.”

Deathstroke is just one of the many DC characters that have already made cameo appearances on “Arrow.” So what cameos will we be seeing in the latter half of this season? “Probably the most important one, at least as far as the Arrow pantheon is concerned, is Roy Harper,” dishes Guggenheim. “He makes his first appearance in episode 15 and he’s played by Colton Haynes, who is absolutely wonderful and very charismatic and very very handsome. We’re introducing him as the love interest for Thea.”

Oliver’s sister, who admittedly ran the risk of being a one-note character in the first part of this season is said to have a huge upheaval in upcoming episodes. In fact, she might even be the first person to discover Oliver’s secret. “I will say this; someone, another character, is going to discover the Arrow’s identity.” Guggenheim responds. “I’m not gonna comment on or spoil who it is, but it is coming.”

As fans of “Arrow” already know, there are only two people in Starling City that know the vigilante’s true identity: Oliver’s partner-in-crime, Diggle, and his former lover turned mortal enemy, Helena Bertinelli a.k.a. the Huntress.

“The last time Helena and Oliver interacted, Helena felt that Oliver had betrayed her and that’s a big deal.” Guggenheim elaborates. “She’s still hellbent on murdering her father, which is something that Oliver is going to be placed in the position of having to stop. But how far is he willing to go? Can he harm the girl that he has, or at least had, very deep feelings for?”

Only time will tell! But while we’re on the topic, can Oliver bring himself to harm his best friend’s dad as well? “We really get to explore the nature of the Tommy/Malcolm relationship now that we’ve revealed all of the different sides of it,” states Guggenheim. “We’ve revealed that the Dark Archer is Malcolm, we’ve revealed that Malcolm is Tommy’s father. Now that we’ve set all these pieces on the board, we get to really play around with what the nature of their relationship is.”

With all of these plot points finally coming to a head, it sounds like there’s a lot to look forward to in the rest of this season. “We’re here on the show and we’re feeling really good, which is not something any of us are prone to do,” Guggenheim jokes. “But the proof is in the pudding and we’re really happy with the episodes. We’ll be happier still if everyone else likes them.”