In Arrow’s season four finale, Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum) revealed to Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) that his heroics as the Green Arrow were what inspired Curtis and his husband to stay in their war-torn hometown of Star City.
“He reminded me that this city is worth saving, that my home is worth fighting for,” Curtis told Oliver. “That guy gave me inspiration. He gave me hope.”
And it seems hope wasn’t the only thing the Green Arrow inspired in the tech genius. In Arrow’s season five premiere on Wednesday, as Oliver sought out new team members to fill the void left by his sister Thea (Willa Holland), John Diggle (David Ramsey), and Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), Curtis was the first to step up, asking Oliver to train him after being jumped by some thugs.
“I really believe that he is sincere in his view that, 'I don’t want to put myself out there at risk and not be able to defend myself anymore,'” Kellum explained to ET’s Leanne Aguilera, dishing on his upcoming origin story. “I really think he's driven by a desire to stand up for himself, his family, and his friends more than just being behind a computer.”
“He wants to actively get out there and I think he's kind of always been that way,” he continued. “I just think he really understands what Star City is and he understands that it needs a big cleanup and he's got to be out there because he really believes in himself. He's such a determined person and I think any hurdle that comes up in front of him, he's willing to tackle it, and that's definitely something that's pushing him to want to get out in the field.”
Fans have been eagerly awaiting the revelation of Curtis’ heroic alter ego, DC comics’ Mister Terrific, and while there were hints of his potential in season four -- the Palmer Tech employee is an Olympic athlete with a penchant for T-spheres and a Fair Play jacket -- Kellum assures ET that his character does “indeed” have a “terrific future ahead of him.”
“I think that we are definitely going to get into that Terrific aspect of his alter ego and that's going to be a lot of fun to watch,” the actor added, though Kellum admits it won’t all be smooth sailing at first. “He's the least experienced at being out there on the streets and I think you'll see that. I think that it'll be a fun way to really see him progress as a superhero and see him just start incorporating more than just the fighting skills he's learning from Oliver. He's really competent in his brains and all those things [combine] to make him one badass person.”
So does that mean Curtis is ready to take on Oliver’s signature salmon ladder?
“Heck yeah I want to tackle that salmon ladder!” Kellum said with a laugh. “I have been training a lot and fighting, doing muay thai and boxing and stuff like that, which has been great.”
“I really am pushing myself to get there and we're working hard and learning all these cool new moves,” he added. “It's really just exciting to have that mind frame where I'm really starting to feel like a fighter and really trying to bring that through to Curtis on the screen and being honest to Mister Terrific. It's been really great.”
In the DC lore, several men have held the Mister Terrific mantle. But Kellum thinks his character, already a fan favorite, is ready to make it his own on Arrow.
“He is, in essence, just a guy who has a lot optimism, a love of pop culture and computers, a loving husband that he cares deeply about, and he wants to clean up his city.” he said of Curtis. “He wants to do things to really forward humanity into a great and wonderful place. This guy is an inventor, and an engineer, and now he's about to be on the streets kicking ass, so he's really somebody that you should check out.”
Fans have already seen Curtis’ brains on display, as he formed a fast friendship with Team Arrow’s resident techie, Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards), and it seems that bond will only strengthen as he beings to explore his heroic potential. After all, between Oliver, The Flash’s Barry Allen, and Legends of Tomorrow’s Ray Palmer, Felicity knows a little something about aiding an origin story.
“Emily and I in real life have such a great friendship, and I think that really comes through too with how Curtis and Felicity interact with each other,” Kellum explained. “They can almost read each other. They have each other's back.”
“They confide in each other, and they call each other out when one of them isn't being the most honest person,” he added. “I think that's really important in a friendship. I think you just see they're continuously going to grow as we move forward.”
And, while 'shippers might have been distraught at the reveal of Felicity in the arms of her new love interest, Detective Malone (Tyler Ritter), in the season five premiere, Kellum assured ET that he is “100 percent” on Team Olicity.
“Obviously he thinks Oliver is a dream boat and obviously he think's Felicity is an amazing person,” he agreed. “He definitely wants them to be together.”
What did you think of the Arrow premiere? Hit us up on Twitter at @etnow!
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.