The last of The CW superhero shows to hit the Ballroom 20 stage at Comic-Con was Arrow. It’s obvious that this is the father of all these shows and it gets the respect it deserves. Without Arrow and its success, The CW’s primary lineup would probably look a lot different. It’s the perfect show to close out the day and it continued the trend of a fun cast that clearly loves and respects each other.
Like the other panels before it, we are presented with a teaser for the upcoming season. It’s probably a second to The Flash in terms of overall visceral reaction. It’s a great teaser and shows that as it approaches its sixth season, the show’s still got it.
The panel included stars Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, David Ramsay, Emily Bett Rickards, Willa Holland, Echo Kellum, Rick Gonzales, Juliana Harkavy, and Katie Cassidy, as well as executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Wendy Mericle. I’m going to reveal now that Echo Kellum is an instant standout from the panel. He’s extremely funny and I loved watching the genuine laughter from the cast after Kellum would drop a joke (his response to a question about how his hair is perfectly braided so quickly after his character suits up still has me laughing nearly a week later).
Mericle opened the panel by talking about the explosion at the end of season 5. “The explosion felt like the right way to wrap up Oliver’s story.” Guggenheim added, “Season 5 would end as the end to the last ten years of Oliver’s life. We’re not rebooting the show. We’ll double down on things that resonated with people in Season 5. We will see a different kind of Oliver Queen. We’ll tell some different kinds of stories with Oliver.”
Now that Oliver has a son of his own, will it change him? Amell admitted, “Oliver’s not a very good dad. I was really nervous about my first scenes with Jack [Moore], who plays William. I’m loving my scenes with him. To do fun, new stuff as Oliver has been a real joy. But he’s a shit dad.”
While they didn’t reveal who makes it off the island explosion, the previously axed Cassidy will be back and says, “It feels like I never left.” Amell said, “You come in like a wrecking ball.” Cassidy added, “The dynamic between Black Siren and Team Arrow — it’s a parallel that’s different from Laurel.”
Tonally, there will be a shift in the new season. Family was a big theme in Season 5, but the dynamic changes. Amell said “The momentum of Season 5 carries into Season 6. My jaw hasn’t dropped while reading a script in awhile, but the first three scripts I read are tight and action-packed. We take our time and I think we’ve earned that.”
On the villain front, post-Prometheus, Guggenheim teased, “Season 5 was about building up Team Arrow 2.0. In thinking about Season 6, we wanted to double down on families and found families. We’ll have a few familiar faces. One of the other members of a villainous cabal will be played by Michael Emerson and we could not be more excited.”
The subject of a Supernatural crossover was brought up because it seems like the fandom of both shows wants it. To be clear, Amell is not “demanding” a crossover and admits it could only work if he came on as a day player. Amell claimed, “I’d do it in a heartbeat. It’d have to be with me as Oliver as a waiter, waiting on Jensen [Ackles] and Jared [Padelecki].” If it was done that way, Amell would be down for sure.
There were some fun genuine moments during the panel as well. Emily Bett’s birthday fell on the Monday after Comic-Con so she was brought out a birthday cake and the crowd got to sing happy birthday to her. The fans really got a kick out of that and when David Ramsey was asked his first question on the panel, his main concern was when they could dig into the cake. This declaration results in laughs from the already enthusiastic crowd.
Another funny moment had a fan, dressed in a sort of demented bunny costume, coming up to ask a question. Based on his appearance Amell says his question “better be good” and Emily Bett asks him if he’s their new villain for season 6. It’s another moment of genuine laughter and it continued the tone of fun in Ballroom 20.
The best moment had nothing to do with the show and is probably my most memorable experience at the convention. In a very sweet moment toward the end of the audience Q&A, Amell melted the crowd’s hearts when a little girl named Sarah, who is a cancer survivor, dressed as Arrow, asked Amell a question. He gave her his Arrow necklace and told her that at next year’s Comic-Con, she can give it back to him. This was in response to her asking if he would be making anymore Fight Cancer shirts. It’s moments like this where you realize that some people use the momentum and success of these shows to support causes that mean something. This is a guy who plays a hero on a show but he’s doing more heroic things offscreen. I think it’s a quality that a lot of stars should take note of. It was very fitting that The CW superhero panels ended on a true moment of genuine heroism.