IGN TV: We’ve got two big shows to talk about, but let me start off with Arrow. Damien Darhk has certainly found a way to cross a new line, going after William. Suffice to say Oliver is going to be pretty pissed off about this situation?
Stephen Amell: Yeah, it’s kind of an unprecedented pissed off for Oliver, because he’s never had to deal with this before. There are instincts that exist as a brother, as a son, as a boyfriend/finance/lover, as a best friend, but those instincts pale in comparison to the instincts of a father, and that’s a dangerous spot for Oliver. If he’s not making sound decisions against an opponent like Damien Darhk, then he’s going to be in big trouble.
IGN: Of course, in the middle of this, this is all news to not just Felicity but a lot of people except for Thea right now, but is there even time to deal with the “I have a son” of it all given the fact that this boy’s life is in danger?
Amell: No, there’s not. Felicity finds out, and then there’s a quick moment where everyone on the team that doesn’t know about it finds out. So there’s the fact that I kept a secret from Felicity. There’s also the consideration of Laurel doing the math and figuring out who William is, who his mother is and when he was conceived, which is also something that we have to touch on in the episode.
IGN: Yeah, that’s a dicey situation. [Laughs]
Amell: It is a dicey situation! But that all has to wait, and I was actually very happy — because it would have been easy to get stuck in the melodrama of that situation when, realistically, there’s a mother [Samanatha] who’s lost her child, a father who’s lost his son and an understandably worried mother. So we compartmentalize all of that stuff in pursuit of William.
IGN: They set up Oliver having a son a couple years ago on the show, and it was always kind of there in the background. Do you like that now’s the time that you guys are really delving into what it means that Oliver has a son?
Amell: Yeah, I have to say, just from a personal standpoint, I think that this is probably my favorite storyline, for a variety of reasons. The fact that we introduced it in Season 2, I was actually part of the pitch for touching on it again in Season 3, and then the fact that we got into it this year with a little bit more depth — just the fact that we’ve been able to tell a story over the course of three years is not something that a lot of television shows are able to say. So many things have to go right for you to be able to tease and tell a story over the course of three years. It’s very rare. I’m very proud of it, and I think everyone involved has done a good job. It’s not that it ends this week, but it’s a very definitive chapter in the story.
IGN: And then of course in the midst of this, this episode is also introducing Vixen into the show and into live-action. How does she come into this story?
Amell: Megalyn did a fantastic job. She was such a pleasure to have on set, to work with. She had obviously voiced the character, but she dropped right into the action of it. She’s just a totally kick-ass, badass, interesting character that I hope we get to see again, certainly somewhere within this DC universe, whether she gets her own show or comes back and plays with us for a little bit.
You know, every time that Team Arrow goes up against Damien Darhk, he’s just summarily defeated them quickly and efficiently and without a ton of effort. So Oliver, once he finds out that Darhk has William, he’s just going to go back at Darhk in the same way that he’s been going all season, and it’s actually the team, Felicity in particular, that talks him out of his thing. Basically, “This is the definition of insanity. You’re just doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” which prompts Oliver to think outside the box and track down Vixen.
IGN: Vixen and Oliver met in the animated series, with you voicing Oliver. Will that be reflected upon here? Is that definitely in the history of the show, that meeting we saw in animation?
Amell: [Laughs] Well, there’s not a ton of time to get into, but I would say that Oliver makes a reference to it with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek.
IGN: Megalyn has voiced the role, but this is a new way to interpret it, seeing her there onscreen. Is it fun for you to welcome her, or anyone when they come into the superhero realm of this show, into the costumed world?
Amell: Oh, of course! The parts that I have fun with are the superhero costume when you first get it — it always looks good, but it fits horribly. Not that they don’t do an excellent job with the costumes, like fitting it, but there’s the element of fitting it and then you have to see how it reacts after 12 hours on set doing action, right? And there’s no way to anticipate that in any way, shape or form. We’ve learned some lessons since we started Arrow, but you know, the first time that I put on the Arrow costume, there were these big Army boots, and I couldn’t actually move my arm back to grab an arrow. So you learn from there. I remember the first time that Grant put on the Flash costume, he could only lift his knee so high, but he has to run! Same thing for Katie Cassidy, for Caity Lotz, and for Megalyn, I think she had some sore spots by the end of her action, but she looks badass, and she really pulls it off. She really did. She really embodied that character and brought an attitude and a badassness… if that’s a word.
IGN: Why not?
Amell: Yeah, why not? [Laughs] It was very welcome on the show. I really hope she comes back. She was a huge coup for us that we were able to bring her from… I don’t know that this has ever happened in reverse. Has someone ever played an animated character and then played the real-life version?
IGN: I might be forgetting someone, but I can’t think of it happening offhand – just the reverse situation.
Amell: Yeah, Eric, she totally nailed it. She was awesome. We’d be lucky to have her back.
IGN: Meanwhile, you’ve got this big season-long mystery of who is in that grave. The reintroduction of William and Samantha suddenly offered new possibilities. Do you enjoy seeing all the theories out there and everyone speculating and going down different roads?
Amell: It is interesting, because whenever there’s a big mystery like this on the show, people are almost always wrong, right? And I mean like 98 percent of people, which is always surprising to me, because, yeah, people are usually wrong. People who follow me on Facebook will know this especially, but Evil Story Steve has really enjoyed this element of storytelling. I think it’s super interesting. I was actually having a conversation with Marc Guggenheim the other day that it would be really nice if every season… Now, not necessarily revealing someone in the grave, because there is a really dark, almost perverse element to that that I haven’t enjoyed, because this is someone who I work with and could be someone I have been working with for a very long time – you just don’t want to see anyone in the grave, bottom line. But I do think that the flash-forward is a very, very fun storytelling technique, and I would hope that we can incorporate something like that in future years.
IGN: In the Flash crossover, the revelation about William was catastrophic for Oliver and Felicity. As we discussed, these are very different circumstances for her to find out in, where everyone’s priority would initially be rescuing William. But whatever happens at the end of this episode, how do they move forward given this giant secret he chose to keep, especially after what we saw the first time he kept that secret?
Amell: Yeah, for fans of the show and people who remember dialogue, there is a very interesting and I think appropriate callback to what happened before Barry altered the timeline a little bit that shows things do come to their inevitable conclusion, regardless of how long you put them off. It’s an interesting reveal for Oliver and Felicity, and I’m very proud of how we resolve things in this episode. I feel like it was very adult and reflective of a real relationship that’s built on more than just stolen looks and superhero exploits.