Seeing that Goldstar had discount tickets available for The Flash and Arrow panels at PaleyFest, we jumped at the chance to go. The panels took place on Saturday, March 14 at 4:00pm at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. The theater is quite large, which an Orchestra section, a Parterre section behind it, and three Mezzanine balcony sections. We were in the Mezzanine 1 section, which is the lowest Mezzanine section. Read on for all the details!
First up was Arrow, which kicked off with a clip of scenes from the show. At first, the clip consisted of events that had already happened. Then suddenly, some very spoiler-filled scenes of what’s to come this season were featured.
[**SPOILER ALERT**] Here are some things we saw in the clip: Ra’s al Ghul seems to be coming for the Arrow Team; Malcolm Merlyn reveals to Oliver that there is a prophecy that the man who doesn’t perish at the blade of Ra’s al Ghul will become Ra’s al Ghul; the Suicide Squad will make another appearance; Thea and Roy share a kiss; Ray Palmer finds out that Oliver is the Arrow, and it seems like Captain Lance does as well – and isn’t very happy about it. [**END SPOILERS**]
The panel consisted of Executive Producers Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, and Marc Guggenheim, and cast members Stephen Amell (Oliver), Colton Haynes (Roy), Emily Bett Rickards (Felicity), John Barrowman (Merlyn), Katie Cassidy (Laurel), Willa Holland (Thea), David Ramsey (Diggle), and Paul Blackthorne (Captain Lance).
Aisha Tyler moderated the panel, and began by asking the producers about the development of the show from the comics. Kreisberg commented that since Arrow didn’t have a well known canon, such as Superman and Batman, this gave them the freedom to tell they story that they wanted to tell. He said that they know there are people who read the comics that expect certain things, so they try to come up with surprises where they can.
Aisha brought up how Season 3 has been a bit darker, and Stephen talked about how once they got away from the island, things have gotten darker every year, and told us “It’s going to get worse before it gets better.” Aisha then asked what Oliver becoming Ra’s al Ghul would do to Oliver and to his team. John Barrowman commented that “it pisses Malcolm Merlyn off!” Stephen went on to say that it’s interesting how a “big bad” like Malcolm Merlyn was now interested in Arrow staying alive. He further explained that, with the part in the clip about the prophecy, Ra’s al Ghul’s offer was an offer in name only. “It’s not really an offer, it’s a demand, and if Oliver says no, then there are going to be incredibly bad consequences,” which is what the last third of the season is about.
John Barrowman also talked about he has always thought about if he hadn’t killed that man, then Merlyn’s path would be very different. Aisha and John joked about how the Arrow Cave needs better security, because Merlyn is always just showing up there.
Moving onto Emily, she talked about how Felicity has been changing, and although she still cares deeply for Oliver, she needs time to explore other options.
When Aisha asked Katie about her transformation from lawyer to Canary, Katie commented that although Season 3 has been darker for everyone, it was actually a little easier for her as an actor than Season 2 was, emotionally, because we saw Laurel downspiral, and then come out on top. She also said that once Laurel suited up, that didn’t mean she was good, but she was out there fighting with her heart, and she had the drive and mentality of a fighter. Paul jumped in and joked how Katie was always crying.
Aisha asked Willa about Thea’s reaction to finding out the truth about her brother and her father, and Willa brought up how her character had been lied to for the past 3 seasons. She had felt like Thea was on an upwards trajectory for awhile, until she found out the truth. She doesn’t see things going well for her relationship with Merlyn, about whom she says, “Every time he comes into a room, I would like to kill him!” When Aisha asked if Thea is going to join Team Arrow, Willa pointed to the producers to ask, but they wouldn’t reveal anything. However, Willa did say that it’s a major turning point for Thea to find out that she has actually killed someone, just the fact that she was capable of it.
Then Aisha brought up the show’s theme of secrets and lies, pointing out that at this point, everyone knows who Oliver is. Well, that is, everyone “except the Detective!” as Paul jumped in and said. Andrew commented that coming up with excuses to cover up people’s secret identities was actually the least interesting part of writing the show for them, so it’s actually a relief for them that everyone knows.
Paul discussed Lance’s reaction to finding out that Sara is dead, and how this time he would have to get through it both without his wife and his daughter Laurel, his rock. He also joked how Lance has no friends in Starling City, but said that Detective West (from The Flash) seems like a nice guy.
Aisha brought up the fact that fans have noticed that Diggle seems a little more conservative this season, attributing it to the fact that he has a family. John said that for Diggle, the fact that he’s currently in peril, that’s what he signed up for. He went on to say that Diggle can have a wife and family, and still fight crime, because he has reconciled those two aspects of his life.
Regarding Roy’s relationship with Thea, Colton admitted that there’s a bit of a spark going on there, as we saw in the teaser. Willa began to cozy up to Colton at this point, and then licked the side of his face! She then exclaimed, “I don’t know why I just did that!”
Aisha commented to John, “Your character’s kind of a dick.” John defended Merlyn, saying that he’s trying to do what he thinks is the right thing to do, and that he definitely feels affection for Thea, and loves her as a daughter. He also went on to say, from a fan’s perspective that “Malcolm would have much rather had Oliver as a son than Tommy.” The audience didn’t seem to like that response, and John exclaimed, “Wait a minute, Tommy’s dead!” Stephen apologized to Colin Donnell (who played Tommy), if he happened to be watching the live stream of the panel.
Next, Aisha brought up how much loss Oliver has experienced, and asked Stephen if Oliver would ever be able to express emotion over it. Stephen replied that the cool thing about Ra’s al Ghul’s offer was that it allows Oliver to examine everything he has accomplished while back in Starling City. It turns out that Oliver doesn’t have a high opinion of that, which makes being the leader of the League of Assassins more appealing. Stephen said that the “game” Ra’s al Ghul plays with him this season causes Oliver to look inside himself, and that you’ll see a more introspective, vulnerable, and defeated character in these last few episodes. He added, “You can only stare broodingly out a window for so long.”
It was also revealed that Felicity will get a nemesis on The Flash, played by Emily Kinney, who played Beth on The Walking Dead. Apparently they have a “tech off.”
Aisha asked her own fangirl question, which was whether there would be a Reverse Canary. Andrew said, sure, they would love to have Aisha come on the show, but Aisha insisted on being Black Canary!
It was then opened up for audience questions. This consisted of ushers walking around on the bottom section and handing a microphone to someone who raised their hand to ask a question.
The first person asked what Season 4 would be like. The only answer we got was that “after Season 3, the show will never be the same again.” The next audience member seemed to insult Thea for being a “wet blanket” at first, but then went on to praise her for turning into a “kick-a**” character this season. Willa commented that it was great to have a job that forced her to get in shape. Another audience member asked if Oliver and Felicity would ever get back together, and Stephen said that if Oliver ever got back to “the land of the living,” then Felicity would be the object of his affection.
When asked what name he would give to his team members if he became the leader of the League of Assassins, Stephen said that he would allow them to pick their own names. Willa chose “Hamburger” for Thea, while Colton chose “Ranch dressing” for Roy, and John chose “Cialis” for Merlyn. Stephen commented that Diggle would still be Diggle.
An audience member asked if Merlyn would have a love interest, and John suggested Felicity’s mom. However, Paul jumped in, implying that Lance is the one who needs a love interest, pointing out that Lance hasn’t been laid in 7 years! John replied that that’s a problem he, John Barrowman, not Malcom Merlyn, could take care of!
The panel ended by displaying a poster on screen that a fan brought that used the word “Sinceriously” that Stephen Amell had made up. The panelists then took turns making up their own words.
When the one hour panel officially ended, fans rushed toward the stage to get items signed by the panelists, who were kind enough to stay and sign the items, and interact with fans for a few minutes. A few of them even took selfies with the crowd. But soon, audience members were asked to return to their seats so that The Flash panel could get started.
Check out our slideshow of photos from the PaleyFest LA 2015 Arrow panel below!