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Sunday, March 10, 2013

ARROW: PALEYFEST 2013 by Marco Elorreaga

Arrow PaleyFest 2013 panel, March 9, 2013 at 7 pm
He has a list (be careful NBC) and he's checking it twice, making sure who's naughty or, I don't mean Old Saint Nick, I'm talking about Arrow, Green Arrow. The new CW sensation Arrow made it's mark on PaleyFest on Saturday, March 9, 2013 at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills among teeming fans of comics and Stephen Amell's abs alike. And it was a bullseye.

Definitely one of the smaller panels in the PaleyFest lineup, it was still rich with laughs, secrets, and geeking out.  The stars descended into the press tent, showered in flash photography, and quickly made their rounds, answering questions ranging from Stephen Amell's own stunt work to what other DC character cameos to expect.  

Cast looking stunning for the press
For the most part, most of the stars and producers were hush-hush about the remaining episodes of the season, saying that the next batch, which return on March 20, are like the third act of a movie.  Don't expect the story or action to slow down.  

Stars Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy looked stunning in their outfits as they discussed a lot of what has happened so far in the first season with their characters, Oliver Queen and Laurel Lance, respectively.  While Amell got a lot of questions concerning his chiseled anatomy, Executive Producer Greg Berlanti adamantly defends that he had no idea what his body looked like until after they casted him as the titular character.  As he reiterated in the panel, "we did not see him without his shirt in any audition process, he's just a great actor.  That's why he got the job.  He got the job because he was an incredible actor and we felt really lucky."

Cast and executive producers of Arrow posing for the cameras

A fan favorite and one of many characters on the show who does not come from the DC canon, was John Diggle, played by David Ramsey, and he took the time to even pose with his Samsung phone to show his support for one of his favorite brands.

David Ramsey posing with his Samsung phone
He explain how his character has developed as the the "moral voice" of the show, saying he's "cool, reasonable, and he's just a fantastic character."

"I think Diggle, ultimately, becomes the solid partner for Oliver," when asked on where he wants Diggle to be at the end of the season, "he is a partner for Oliver/Arrow, but there is contention.  There's a contentious nature between them because I think Oliver is developing and I think ultimately we see the value of Diggle in a way that he becomes invaluable to the team.  So, ultimately he becomes irreplaceable.  I think that's what I want, irreplaceability. You can't kill Diggle."

Ramsey continued his crusade during the actual panel to make sure he isn't killed off any time soon, stating, "every time I look at script, I look at the end of the script to see if I die."  When panel moderator, Geoff Johns, from DC entertainment and comic book writer, asked the audience if they want more Diggle, the crowd exploded in support, prompting creators and executive producers, Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg to make a quick joke about rewriting the episodes.

Even though there was no full episode shown, the sizzle reel promised more action on the island and in Starling City.  Things seem to be coming to a head on the island as Arrow seems to confront a team of mercenaries.  At the same time, Guggenheim teased that the Slade and Oliver relationship will continue to develop on the island like a "proto Butch and Sundance."  Lastly, it looks like the Huntress (Jessica DeGouw) gives up Arrow's identity to Det. Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne).  

Secrets were tight-lipped with supposed physical harm to come to the producers if spoken aloud, so very little hints were dropped on what was to come in the remaining episodes of season one.  The producers were able to confirm that Arrow would be visiting other DC universe cities, such as Blood Haven, although they said not to expect Arrow to visit two notable ones (most likely Gotham City and Metropolis).  They also were able to confirm that a very recognizable icon of a popular genre show will make a guest star appearance that will provide full geek-out moments.  Vague, but intriguing.  What other star on top of John Barrowman, also known as Captain Jack Harkness to many Dr. Who and Torchwood fans, can genre show fans geek out on even more? 

That's not the only thing fans can look forward to when the show returns.  With Colin Donnell's Tommy Merlyn now knowing the truth, the veil of secrecy becomes thinner for the Queen and Arrow persona.  The producers said that Tommy might not be as forthcoming and accepting of Queen's newfound hobby and Amell said that "it changes everything about the friendship."  Can we see a potential villain with Tommy's character in the near future?  

In addition, Cassidy teased that the arrival of Laurel's estranged mother (Alex Kingston) will provide some confrontation with her Blackthorne's Detective Quentin Lance as we see more of that family dynamic in addition to the bomb she dropped on Laurel, stating that her sister Sarah could still be alive.

Also, whether Oliver/Arrow will regret saving Malcolm aka The Dark Archer's life, the producers and cast all agreed in very regretful "yeahhhh."  Already picked up for a second season, it's a good time to start watching as the story becomes richer and producers say they will burn through story until the network fires them.

What not to expect is to see superpowers any time soon with the producers saying that "for right now, no. We want to tell something grounded," explaining how Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy influenced them heavily, "it allows for a much wider audience."  Also, don't expect Amell to appear on NBC's Ninja Warrior also when answering the last audience question of the night.  

Amell spouting probably the best line of the night in response, "I don't know, Ninja Warrior is on NBC and NBC is on the list." Make sure to catch Arrow when it returns to the CW on March 20th or you might end up on the list, too.

Special thanks to Samsung Smart TV for sponsoring my coverage of PaleyFest 2013. Make sure to like Samsung TV USA on Facebook for an insider look at red carpet photos, video highlights, recaps from the day's events and more. Also, don’t forget to follow @PopCultureBeast on Twitter for live updates during the screenings and panels.

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