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‘Arrow’ Producer Teases Laurel’s Return, Introducing Talia al Ghul Ahead of Midseason Premiere

Variety logo Variety 1/25/2017 Jacob Bryant
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By the end of “Arrow’s” midseason finale, Team Arrow had taken quite a few licks. Diggle (David Ramsey) had been apprehended by the law after spending the first half of the season as a fugitive, Felicity’s (Emily Bett Rickards) boyfriend was killed, and Curtis (Echo Kellum) was given an ultimatum by his husband. The one light at the end of the tunnel was Oliver (Stephen Amell) finding Laurel (Katie Cassidy) had returned after being killed by Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) last season.

Variety spoke with executive producer Wendy Mericle about Laurel’s return, the team’s current state, and more…

What kind of condition is Team Arrow in when the season starts back up?

With the death of Detective Malone (Tyler Ritter) at Oliver’s hand, they aren’t happy. That said, at the end of the season we saw Laurel come back which has given them a small ray of sunshine. Coming into the back half of the season the team is really feeling that Prometheus is more formidable than they thought.

How does Oliver react to Laurel’s return? Is he skeptical?

He’s happy. We wanted to keep everybody true to their character for how they would react to that, and Ollie has seen things — certainly more than the rest of the team — and even though he’s skeptical he’s more willing to embrace that type of hope. There are other members of the team who are a little less enthusiastic.

He’s not keeping this to himself then?

No, this is something that gets out pretty fast.

Does her return affect Oliver’s relationship with Susan Williams (Carly Pope)?

I think the short answer to that is no. Any sort of romantic relationship between Laurel and Oliver we pretty much put to bed in Season 2.

The members of Team Arrow are nearly professional at sweeping their personal issues with each other under the rug when they need to, but does Felicity struggle working with Ollie since he killed Billy?

I think we’ve explored Felicity being mad at Oliver for his role in things she didn’t agree with. Nothing has happened to this extent, or this personal, but she knows the circumstances. We did not want to do a story where Felicity was mad at Oliver again. For her, she understands that the blame really lies with Prometheus.

Curtis was given an ultimatum by his husband: stay on the team or stay with him. How is that weighing on him?

For Curtis, as torn as he is, the thing that Paul (Chenier Hundal) tells him — that he’s never seen Curtis happier — is true. It’s going to carry Curtis through the back half of the season, with the hope that he can have his cake and eat it too. He’s not going to give up his marriage or his role on the team without a fight.

And Dig was set up by Prometheus and captured by the law again. Is another rescue in the works?

We did our prison break in episode four so I’d expect something different. Dig is in jail again, but the outcome is going to be different and his attitude about it is going to be very different. It’s going to also involve Oliver pulling some fast ones on Felicity.

We finally learned who Prometheus was — and based on the fact that he’s a product of Oliver’s violent beginnings as the Arrow — does that change how he deals with future criminals?

Maybe not in the way he deals with future criminals, but it will definitely change the way he deals with Prometheus. He knows he is directly responsible for the creation of this person, and it is going to make him question why he did what he did in Season 1 — and really everything leading up to now. It’s very much keeping the general goal of the season, which was to talk about his legacy and to have him question it.

After seasons of fan speculation, you’re finally introducing Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter Talia (Lexa Doig) into the series with the midseason premiere.

We think we found a really cool way to bring her in and reveal who she really is. Like what we’ve done with Laurel, we’re bringing someone in from the DC Universe but we’re going to have a different way of revealing how we deal with her true identity.

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