The TCA Press Tour has been extremely compelling this year, and as part of The CW portion of the event, Arrow's executive producer Wendy Mericle sat down for a chat with Collider to talk about what's coming up in the fourth season of Arrow.
Speaking about the show's new Big Bad, Damien Dahrk, she said: "He is definitely a super bad-ass, scary guy. We really were excited that we got Neal [McDonough]. We've had Malcolm and we've had Slade. If you start to break it down, they're the villains, but they're the heroes of their own story and you understand why they're doing what they're doing. Damien doesn't have that. Damien is just pure evil. We wanted to explore that. We've never really done a sociopath on the show, and that's what we're exploring this year. That's why we're introducing him so fast and early in the season."
Mericle also touched on introducing John Constantine to the world of Arrow, after the standalone series was cancelled.
"I wouldn't say it was a challenge. It is tied to Sara Lance's resurrection. We knew that Sara had died at the beginning of Season 3 and that she was going to be on Legends, so we had to find a way to bring her back. We were like, "How do you do that?," and he was the most obvious character to do that. We feel honoured and excited that we got him, and that Matt Ryan is available. He's amazing."
It's not going to be an easy road for Oliver when he returns in season 4, with John Diggle especially frustrated with his friend.
"Dig has a huge bone to pick with Oliver when they see each other again, at the top of Season 4. We're gonna work that out. It's not gonna be easy. With what happened to Dig's family, it's really tough to buy that back, and Oliver is not gonna to be able to. Obviously, they can't be mad at each other forever, or what are we doing? But also, in the intervening months while Oliver has been gone, Dig has, more or less, been leading the team. It's a little bit more democratic, Speedy and Black Canary are both super bad-ass and kicking butt. He's not happy, when he and Oliver meet again. It's not an open-armed, "Hey, buddy, all is forgiven," reunion."
Chatting about the challenges Oliver and Felicity Smoak will face through their relationship, Mericle adds: "It's dangerous. They're both soldiers, essentially, just in different ways. She's a bad-ass on her own. She's been attacked and she's put her life at risk. The other piece of it is, how do you maintain any sense of normalcy? Any couple that works together, I don't know how they do that. Everything you have at home comes into the workplace. Hopefully, we'll have fun with that, this year. If they're having a fight, how will the team members react?"
The producer also confirmed that Diggle will be getting a "fun, cool code name", that he'll start to "embrace a little bit more".
On the topic of Malcolm Merlyn now being Ra's al Ghul, she said: "Does he keep his promise at the end of Season 3 to Oliver, or does he come back and jack things up? What we like about him and what we are really excited about is that he's gotten what he wanted. He wanted to be Ra's. He really wanted that ring and that power. He went back and forth, in terms of being allied with the team and not allied with the team, in Season 3. He was obviously playing a longer game, at that point, but he's won that game. So, I think we're going to see a little bit more of that Season 1 Malcolm, which was ruthless and more cunning and definitely more out for himself."
"He has knowledge of Damien from the League, that some of our team members are not going to have. He'll help them, in that way, but by the same token, it feels like he could ally with Damien or he could ally with the team. He is able to play both sides, and it will be interesting to see what he has in store. We're not sure. We feel like we have a lot of options on the table."
Finally, talking about the addition of Mr. Terrific to the cast, Mericle promises: "Mr. Terrific, or Curtis Holt, is coming, and will be played by Echo Kellum. He's just a genius. I don't think we'll see him morph into Mr. Terrific this season, but he's somebody who brings a different tone and element, more in keeping with the lightness that we're bringing into this season. He also is one of our only other LGBT characters, and we're excited to have that on the show to explore those things, particularly through the prism of that character and with his relationship to Felicity and the team."
Arrow returns for its fourth season in the US on The CW on October 7.
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