'Arrow': Stephen Amell Reveals Why You'll Be Seeing a More 'Vulnerable' Oliver Queen
By Philiana Ng
Arrow is taking over Hollywood!
On a sweltering, 90-plus degree Saturday afternoon in the heart of Los Angeles, the cast and producers of The CW’s hit comic book drama treated the enthusiastic Dolby Theatre crowd on the penultimate day of PaleyFest to offer some intriguing intel on what’s to come in season three and beyond.
To say Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) is in a predicament is an understatement. Following Ra’s al Ghul’s intriguing proposition to the former billionaire to take over the throne, Oliver finds himself at a crossroads: Should he go through with it? Should he politely decline? Let’s just say, there’s more to the “offer” than meets the eye.
The PaleyFest crowd was treated to a scene from the return episode “The Offer,” airing Wednesday, which showed the ever-trustful Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) advising Oliver that whoever survives Ra’s’ blade is the rightful heir to the throne. But, Oliver doesn’t exactly have a choice. “It’s an offer in name only,” Amell said. “It’s a demand. If Oliver says no, there will be incredibly dire consequences.”
Because of his unique set of circumstances, Oliver will be forced to re-evaluate what he and Team Arrow have accomplished – or not – since his initial return to Starling City.
“That’s what’s really cool about what Ra’s has put on the table. He is forced to examine, in totality, what he has been able to accomplish in the two-and-a-half years he has been back in Starling City,” Amell explained.
Though he’s done a lot of good since, Oliver’s self-evaluation of own progress won’t be very positive, prompting him to seriously take stock in Ra’s’ offer.
“That makes being the idea of being the person who commands the League of Assassins in any way that he sees fit, really appealing,” Amell explained. “But ultimately the Ra’s plays with Oliver throughout the course of the remainder of our episodes this year really does force him to really look within himself.”
Oliver’s psychological state has become a topic of discussion this season, and it became one again during the Q&A portion when it was brought up that the character has suffered (and lost) the most out of anyone on Arrow. That’s about to take its toll on the Starling City hero, who hasn’t been the same since his deadly mountaintop battle with Ra’s and his subsequent resurrection.
“We see a very different Oliver – a more introspective, a more vulnerable, and in a lot of ways, a defeated version of the character as we move toward the last portion of the [season],” Amell said of the rest of the season.
The 33-year-old actor was ready for the shift, admitting, “You can only shut people out for so long. It’s been almost three seasons and 70 episodes of ‘Don’t talk to me.’ You can only stare broodingly out a window so long.”
Joked Arrow executive producer Andrew Kreisberg: “I don’t know, you got more in ya.”
Of course the obligatory “Olicity” question had to be asked, and appropriately, Amell was seated in between Emily Bett Rickards (Felicity) and Katie Cassidy (Laurel). During one highlight, Rickards and Cassidy jokingly ignored Amell when asked about the female members of Team Arrow. (Girl power!) And after Felicity and Ray’s in-between-the-sheets action, it’s fair to assume it’ll be a while before Oliver and Felicity become romantically involved.
“If there’s going to be a moment where Oliver decides to let go, so to speak, and get to the land of the living, the object of his affection would most likely be Felicity,” Amell said. “But she’s spoken for.”
As for what the producers could tease for season four, Kreisberg had this to say about the remainder of this run of episodes: “After the end of season three, the show will never be the same again.”
Here are three more highlights from the panel:
1. When Rickards doesn’t know her lines, she tends to rap on set and the actress treated the obliging crowd with an impromptu verse about the PaleyFest event. One word to describe it? Amazing!
2. The fans weren’t too thrilled when Barrowman remarked that Malcolm always preferred Oliver as a son to Tommy. When the crowd booed, Barrowman jokingly exclaimed, “He’s dead!” in reference to Tommy. “Colin Donnell, if you’re watching, we’re really sorry,” Amell apologized on Barrowman’s behalf. (Barrowman also joked that he'd be all for a Malcolm and Mama Smoak romance. That certainly would be interesting.)
3. What would the Arrow characters’ League of Assassins names be if Oliver did become Ra’s? Instead of having Amell brand them with names, he had his co-stars do it for their own alter egos. Roy Harper’s would be Ranch Dressing, Malcolm’s would be Cialis, Felicity’s would be Maple Syrup, Thea’s would be Hamburger and Diggle’s – well, his would be the easiest to predict. “And Diggle would still be Diggle,” Amell said to laughter.