Stephen Amell Talks to Dragon Con About ‘Arrow’ Season Four

Image credit: Arrow season four trailer, The CW.

Dragon Con attendees were happy to welcome Stephen Amell, star of Arrow, along with other guests from the show this past weekend. The show is about to enter its fourth season with new directions for many of its characters.

Amell began by premiering the trailer for the upcoming season, and it was full of treats for the fans, including Neal McDonough’s proclamation, “I am Damien Darhk.” It concludes with a Felicity line that’s so good; I recommend you just watch it yourself:

Amell then went on to answer questions from the audience:

On changes for Oliver Queen in season four…

“For the upcoming season, there’s a more patient, understanding, and team-oriented ersion of Oliver. We get into similar situations with bad guys and dire situations, but the way I deal with the repurcussions is almost fundamentally different.

At a certain point around the beginning of season two, we lost the public persona of Oliver Queen—the guy Starling City knows as the former playboy. But now, we’re reintroducing him to the public in a way that fans of the comic are going to enjoy. And we’re getting ever closer to the point where we met Oliver in the pilot. That was a dark, damaged person, and we’re seeing him right now as far away from the two people as we have since the first season when he was a scared kid on the island and a mercenary in Starling City. Now we’re moving in the opposite direction, where he’s a more pleasant person in the present day and darker on the island.”

On working with Matt Ryan…

You saw Constantine in the preview. I’ll tell you—it was so fun to work with Matt Ryan. It’s something about British actors. It reminded me a lot of the time I got to chat with John Barrowman, because John was the lead in the call sheet on his show, as Matt was on his. So we got to pick each other’s brains on process.

Matt was preparing for Broadway in the next couple of weeks with Keira Knightley, so I wanted to pick his brain about that process, as I haven’t done it since high school. And I think he fits in very organically to our show, and we sketch him into the Arrow-verse forever in a certain way, which is cool.”

And John Barrowman…

“You just never know what John’s going to be doing. You might be doing a shot, and suddenly he’s operating the camera, and he wasn’t even supposed to be on set that day.

Everyone has marks on the ground. I’m green, David [Ramsey] is blue. Six people are moving around, and it’s a difficult job to lay the tape as the actors are moving through. Typically, that person is really conspicuous. One day as we’re doing a scene, I look down, and laying the final tape is Barrowman. Not even supposed to be on set that day. Laughs his maniacal laugh, and then he was gone. Didn’t even say bye. That’s the John Barrowman experience in a nutshell.”

On Felicity’s growth as a character…

“The bare bones of making a TV show is that you’re going to shoot a pilot. We shot that in March of 2012. That pilot gets put together and picked up by the network. You announce you’re going to do a series. They need to be explosive and almost their own stories so the pilot gets picked up in the first place.

Then when you get into TV production, we had completed episode nine before the pilot appeared. So how do you know what’s going to resonate with an audience? You don’t really know until they watch it. After Emily [Bett Rickards]’s appearance in the third episode, people liked her.

I knew she was going to be an integral part when they built her a set. When they build someone a set, they’re going to be around for a bit.

But as late as the midway point of season two, I was like, ‘Do you think Oliver and Felicity will ever get together?’, and I swear the showrunner said, ‘Never.’ So never say never.”

On the team’s new space…

“The new Arrowcave is really something. I was having a conversation with a producer yesterday—it makes it feel like a new show, because the original Arrowcave, even though it was eventually populated by so many people, was really representative of Oliver on a solo mission. It was like a bachelor in a one-room apartment, and everybody moves in. But now it’s a foundry, a base of operations, that’s built for five or six people. It’s got a garage! And a gym!”

On whether we’ll see Matt Nable again…

“We had talked about the possibility of exploring the backstory of Matt Nable’s Ra’s al Ghul, between him and Merlyn and him and Damien Darhk, so he might come back, but it would be doubtful that that would be via the Lazarus pit. It would be magic. Magic called ‘flashbacks.'”

On why he chose to start a wine label…

“My buddy Drew, who I run the winery with, and I, we went to Paso Robles, CA, by accident with my buddy Nick. We were just sitting in wine country on a Monday on a pontoon looking out at the sunset, and I turned to Drew and said, ‘Hey, how do we do this all the time?’

Guys have this conversation all the time. And it usually ends with a semi-intoxicated conversation of how this would be great! It turns out, Drew is an entrepreneur, so we were able to start a winery in Walla Walla. We have six wines and work with three wonderful winemakers. Both of the white wines are named after our daughters.

There’s the new label with Drew riding a shark and me riding a grizzly bear! This is an actual company that we have! We enjoy it.”

Arrow season four premieres October 7.

Top 10 Reasons I’m Looking Forward to MegaCon 2014!

From March 21 through March 23, MegaConvention will be taking over Orlando, Florida, in force. With big names like Stan Lee, Zeb Wells (Robot Chicken), Ron Pearlman (Hellboy), John Barrowman (Arrow), Karl Urban (Judge Dredd), Eliza Dushku (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), James Marsters (Smallville), Rob Paulson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), and Jim Cummings (Tigger),  this is the place to be.

Of course, we all have our own reasons for visiting a convention, so here I present to you the top 10 reasons I’m happily anxious for MegaConvention 2014!

1. Voice Actors Gone Wild! This is a must-see panel and includes some of my favorite voice actors,  including Phil Lamarr (Green Lantern, The Daily Show), Rob Paulson (Pinky and the Brain, TMNT), Jennifer Hale (Aayla Secura in The Clone Wars), Jim Cummings (Tigger), and Quinton Flynn (Naruto). In this hour-and-a-half panel, the actors will read the script to Ghostbusters in voices of their own making. After the panel, I’m excited to get some autographs at their table located near the 501st Legion booth.

2. Aayla Secura. Due to the expense of the body paint, I only get to wear my Aayla Secura costume three to four times a year and MegaCon is one of those times. She’s my rock star costume and I’m eager to get airbrushed and suited up as my favorite Twi’lek in the Star Wars universe.

3. Comic Book Creator Lineup. This year, MegaCon is bringing in some of my favorite writers and artists, including Zeb Wells (Marvel’s Nova Now), Mark Waid (Daredevil), Skottie Young (AVX Babies, Oz), George Perez (Superman), and Neal Adams. Each of the these creators is special to me in some way, and I have a modest two items for each of them to sign.

4. It’s Family-friendly. If you’re bringing a little costumer in tow, check out the kids areas this year including the costume contest, Kid Zone, and Lego pit. I also have it on good authority that the 501st Legion will be showcasing some family-friendly displays and may even let you blast a stormtrooper with a Nerf gun. If you plan on bringing a stroller, I suggest you check out the convention on Friday or Sunday because the crowds won’t be as bad and you’ll be able to swivel in and out a bit easier.

If your child is interested in competing in the costume contest, make sure you hit up the 501st Legion booth first thing, because there are limited spots available.

This puppy is coming home with me! \ Image courtesy of Monica Ravenwolf
This puppy is coming home with me! \ Image courtesy of Monica Ravenwolf

5. Good Times With Friends. Two years ago, I met two good friends, Bill and Julie, while they were volunteering at the Hero Initiative booth. We talked comics for a bit that day and thanks to Facebook, we were able to become after-con friends. I also have a few friends in the 501st Legion that I only get to see a few times a year, including my best friend and fellow 501st Legion costumer, Mark. We always have the best times when hanging out and I can’t wait to see him again.

6. Artist Alley. This area alone takes me a day to walk and enjoy, because so many talented artists come to display what they have to offer. From crafts to art to independent creator-owned works, I never walk away from Artist Alley disappointed.

This year, four of my favorite artists will be in attendance: Graven Ravenwolf and his wife Monica Ravenwolf, The Art of Charles Thurston (check out his great kids books), and the Art of Danny. I plan on hitting up each of these great artists for something awesome to frame up in my office.

7. Comic Book Vendors. Since getting into comic books two years ago, I’ve learned the joy in going through boxes of comics and discovering something new. Sometimes, I’ll run into a creator or fan who will suggest a book and it’s nice to be around so many vendors who might just have the title on hand, and sometimes at a great price. 

8. I don’t know about you, but I hate buying clothes online because of the shipping costs. MegaCon is great because it brings one of my favorite vendors,, to me. A few of the vendors in the past haven’t been so reliable, so it’s nice to see SuperHeroStuff return with a bundle of goodies to check out.

9. Costumes, Costumes, and More Costumes. This is the place to see and be seen in Orlando, Florida, for costumes. Last year, I saw some amazing cosplayers both young, old, disabled, and some furry with four legs. I can’t wait to see what my fellow costumers bring this year.

10. Star Wars Fandom.  My friends and fellow troopers in the 501st Legion, the Rebel Legion, the Southern R2 Builders Group, and the Mandalorian Mercs will be bringing the best of the best to show off at their booths, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with this year. Last year, we had an awesome turn out with Blast-A-Stormtrooper, Roxy the Rancor, and the trash compactor set. I have no doubt the gang will come up with something just as awesome this year.

MegaCon is family- and stroller-friendly. Tickets start at $25 for a one-day wristband and $60 for three days. Children 10 and under are free with a paying adult, but must be present when the adult purchases their ticket. 

The Cliffs of Insanity: Arrow

Arrow season 1, promotional art via the CW
Arrow season 1, promotional art via the CW

In this week’s adventures climbing the cliffs of insanity, I’m exploring why I loved Arrow, Season 1, the serious problems with this season’s The Big Bang Theory, and I have a quick note about the new video game for the 3DS that has my twins in fan-squee mode.

Ah, Arrow. I’m not going to claim it’s a great show. But it has just enough of what I love that I’m hooked, especially after that heart-wrenching finale. Here’s why:

  • Oliver Queen wants redemption for his father’s sins yet he has no real idea of what that means for most of the season. He’s struggling with morality, the law, and what it means to be a vigilante dedicated to this kind of vengeance.
  • Felicity Smoak. She’s not Oracle. But she could be. According to an interview,  she was supposed to be a one-off character but the producers were smart and increased her role throughout the season, until she became a regular part of the team. She’s a bit socially awkward, sweet, and smarter than just about anyone on the show. Every scene she’s in is fun. Kudos to Emily Bett Rickards. Now if we could just get Laurel into the fishnets for a team-up….
  • The Queen Family. Continue reading The Cliffs of Insanity: Arrow