Can Team Arrow go on without their leader?
It’s been a hot minute since Arrow's chilling winter finale, but we’re still in shock over the fact that the show's captain, Oliver Queen, is no longer in action following a deadly battle against the unbeatable Ra’s al Ghul.
When Arrow returns tonight with an all-new episode – yay! – we can only imagine the heartbreak that Diggle, Felicity, Laurel (who finally suits up as Black Canary) and the rest of Oliver’s inner circle is going to feel when word of their leader's demise gets back to Starling City. It's certainly not getting to Central City.
We caught up with Arrow star Colton Haynes to talk about the impending Team Arrow fallout, how Oliver's absence affects Roy Harper – and a surprising romantic pairing you’ll never see coming!
ETonline: How does Oliver’s “death” and disappearance affect Team Arrow?
Colton Haynes: It’s insane. Basically, everyone doesn’t know how to deal with it. Felicity’s in love, so she doesn’t know how to handle it. [Oliver]’s our mentor so going on without him doesn’t feel right. The question is, do we close up shop or do we try to put forth what he’s taught us. But the problem is, when you have so many people, so many personalities, everyone wants to do something different. So, do you go logically or do you think with your heart? Really, going forward, it’s really [about] trying not to make errors that are going to affect the team. That’s going to be a big problem, especially with Black Canary and Laurel.
ETonline: Let’s talk about Laurel. We’ve seen her training in the first half of the season. Describe her state of mind when she first suits up.
Haynes: She’s like a toddler, knocking stuff over on the table. Trying to reel everyone’s excitement in and reel their heroism in is going to be difficult.
ETonline: Now you have another character in Black Canary coming into what was already a well-oiled machine, and she’s a rookie when it comes to doing the “hero” thing. How does her addition affect the team dynamic?
Haynes: She’s brought in a lot by Roy and Roy really has her back because the dynamic between Laurel and Oliver has been so tricky since the beginning, from love to the family dynamic together. We need all the help we can get. There are too many cooks in the kitchen and we have to hit the ground running. It’s hard because everyone is dealing with other emotional aspects of things besides Oliver and that’s going to be really fun for the fans to see because we can’t just drop our own shit. We have to keep moving forward and personally that’s going to be difficult, especially for Thea. She’s just getting the bad end of the stick all the time.
ETonline: How does Roy take Oliver’s disappearance? That’s his mentor.
Haynes: Roy’s good with keeping his emotions in – except during the meditation and yoga scenes. I think he’s a little pissed off, a little upset. Instead of being sad, now he’s really forced to being out on his own. [Roy and Oliver] had this moment with the whole “Don’t abandon me” thing – “We’re partners, we’re brothers” – and he just feels let down. It doesn’t feel right and Roy’s trying to find out if Oliver’s been telling the truth about a lot of things, and he’s also in shock a little and in denial. But Roy also has to deal with the fact that he’s a murderer, so there are questions about that, and he has to deal with losing the captain of a big team, so there’s a lot of pressure.
ETonline: How difficult is it for Roy to see Thea going through yet another traumatic event? Is he vital to helping her get back on her feet?
Haynes: Roy is still in a protection mode with her. Their [connection] is that they both killed someone. Roy’s dealing with it and she’s not – she doesn’t even know. Once that happens their dynamic is going to be different and Roy is going to take her under his wing and bring her to where he started, back to the Glades and get her in touch with her emotions.
ETonline: With Oliver missing in action for a while, does Team Arrow come to terms with his death? Do they reach a point where they accept that he may never come back?
Haynes: Some are. Roy does believe that that is the case. Felicity, because she’s in love, she doesn’t want to believe it. Also, it’s trying to figure out how Thea is going to find out – she’s basically lost everyone in her life, besides Roy and her horrible father Malcolm, who, if he doesn’t stop, is going to get her killed.
ETonline: How does Thea’s connection with Malcolm complicate things for Roy?
Haynes: The worst part about it is the vengeance we want to seek against Malcolm Merlyn but at the same time, we need him because Ra’s al Ghul is in the fold, a bigger bad than Malcolm Merlyn.
ETonline: What are the chances we’ll learn more or see some of Roy’s past?
Haynes: We’re just delving into it now. Within the next five episodes we’re going to see a lot about that. Roy is really becoming a hero this season. He’s not just hiding his emotions, I think he’s really going to prove himself especially toward the end of the season and show them that he really is grateful and grateful for what he’s done.
ETonline: If there was a Roy flashback in the works, tell us the point in his life you’d most like to see.
Haynes: Definitely his relationship with his mom. She was a drug addict and in the comic books, Roy became one. Stemming from that, his relationships with women has to do with his mom and I really hope we get to see that. That’d be really cool – it hasn’t happened thus far, but it’d be really cool to see going forward.
ETonline: Is he moving on from Thea romantically?
Haynes: There was a storyline that didn’t happen – I can say this – that put Roy in a very romantic setting with someone on the team. Who knows if that’s going to happen, but it hasn’t happened yet. That’s all I can say. So look for awkward eye movements!
ETonline: We have to end this conversation on a light note. There’s a Twitter account dedicated to Roy’s flipping!
Haynes: (Laughs.) @Roy_Flips, I know! I have to tell you, I don’t think Roy’s going to flip anymore. I’ve seen the one where he’s flipping over the person. My stunt double, Curtis, is like the coolest person ever and he’s a really good flipper. I’ve been using the batons now, so you’ll see a baton flip but yeah, I know… I’m going to let [the fans] down!
ETonline: At least you’ll have those awesome flips from earlier this season!
Haynes: Yeah, the one on the car… They make me look so cool!
Do you think Team Arrow can last without Oliver? Are you looking forward to Laurel’s debut as Black Canary? Who could Roy be cozying up to? Tell us your thoughts by tweeting Philiana Ng at @insidethetube, and don’t forget to use that #ETnow hashtag!
Arrow returns Wednesday at 8 p.m. on The CW.