By Charles Webb
"We approached the first episode as if it was a movie sequel" explains "Arrow" showrunner Andrew Kreisberg during a recent visit to the Vancouver set of the CW drama. The series enters its second season tomorrow night, bringing back Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), AKA "the vigilante," with a new mission to clean up crime in his hometown.
But first, someone's got to get him back off that island.
****Mild spoilers for the season premiere of "Arrow" will follow.****
At the start of season two, Oliver retreats back to the island where he was once shipwrecked (and learned to hone his archery skills) in the wake of the devastation caused to Starling City by his mother Moira and her co-conspirators with the Undertaking. "The way that it was pitched to me, is that the island, for Oliver, is like a Fortress of Solitude" says star Stephen Amell. "There was just nothing in Starling City for me."
He might be grieving, but ultimately Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) will drop in (literally) to bring him back home--with a new mission and a new outlook. "There was very little heroic about what he was doing last year," Amell says, alluding to the Vigilante's kill first, ask questions later approach in season one. Kreisberg says Oliver doesn't want to be the Vigilante any longer--he wants to be a hero. "Last season was all about revenge... he was driven by a ghost, the ghost of his father... This season, he's driven by a ghost: the ghost of Tommy," Kreisberg says.
Still, Kreisberg says there will be "consequences" to Oliver's actions in season 1, including new villains and having to deal with Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) donning a costume to fight crime--whether Oliver wants him to or not. Kreisberg says that this will be a fun arc for Oliver throughout the season as he goes from initially disliking Roy, to gradually growing to respect his pseudo sidekick to realizing that he needs to keep his little sister's boyfriend alive.
None of this really sits all that well with Roy's girlfriend (and Oliver's sister) Thea Queen (Willa Holland). "She definitely doesn't like the love of her life throwing himself in danger," Holland says when asked how Thea reacts to Roy's nighttime activities. Still, she holds out hope that over the course of the second season, the newly-focused Thea--who's given up her partying ways and has been singlehandedly running Queen Industries--will come to respect what Roy's trying to do. Holland adds that the last five months have offered Thea some time to grow and figure out who she is beyond the Queen family name.
And much of that has involved living outside of the shadow of her brother, who's simply disappeared without a trace, and away from her mother, who's doing time for her part in the deaths of hundreds of people in the midst of the Undertaking. When asked about her relationship with Moira, Holland says Thea is "not too happy" with her estranged mother. Actress Susanna Thompson tells us that Thea is effectively "by herself" when the second season starts, still reeling from the consequences of her actions last year. "Her daughter is resisting seeing her, her son is dealing with the ramifications of his best friend's death."
The second season might offer some kind of peace between Moira and Oliver, who Thompson says is regaining her soul this year. "Our relationship is in a really good spot," Amell says of Oliver and Moira; Oliver respects that his mother didn't run away from her responsibility for the 503 deaths resulting from the Undertaking, but it will take more than a mea culpa for her to restore the fractured relationship with Thea from behind bars.
Thompson says fans can expect a bit of a right turn for the character this season which was a surprise even to her.
There's more excitement on the way in the second season of "Arrow": a new female vigilante (whose identity was supposed to be a secret but has leaked here and there). Kreisberg says that this character, who we'll keep under wraps for now, might not be the final iteration of that character--just the beginning of that costumed identity's journey.
What else is in store for the second season of "Arrow?" Well, the introduction of the Flash/AKA Barry Allen, but we'll talk about that a bit more--and how this new hero will rock the DC TV universe--later this week.
The second season of "Arrow" premieres Wednesday, October 9th at 8/7c on the CW.
What are you looking forward to in Arrow Season 2? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter!