ARROW And THE FLASH New Details Straight From Paleyfest 2015


**********SPOILER WARNING**********

Fans hoping for big spoilers about upcoming The Flash and Arrow episodes during their respective PaleyFest panels might have been disappointed, as cast and producers on both shows were adamant – often excruciatingly so – about keeping mum on future developments. But hints and innuendos during both panels suggested huge twists and more crossovers between the two shows, and in the case of The Flash, the adaptation of one of DC Entertainment‘s biggest comic events for the small screen.

The Arrow panel kicked off with a sizzle reel teasing the rest of the season. Among the revelations: Oliver's secret identity is no longer so secret, with Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) and Det. Lance (Paul Blackthorne) both learning he is the vigilante.

The moderator was Aisha Tyler kept the conversation focused on character and generally hilarious during the Arrow panel. That was thanks in part to Malcolm Merlyn actor John Barrowman, who alternated between trenchant observation and zings. He confirmed, for instance, that his character would have preferred to have Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) as a son rather than Tommy Merlyn, (who died during the season 1 finale but returns in periodic flashbacks). Shortly after, he joked that he’d love to see his character paired off with the cocktail waitress mother of Arrow ally Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards).

As for what to expect when Arrow returns this week, after a two-week hiatus, Oliver Queen had just been asked by Season 3 villain Ra’s al Ghul to take over leadership of the League of Assassins. According to star Stephen Amell, Oliver may be accepting that offer. When the show returns, Arrow will take stock of what he’s accomplished in the two and half years since returning to Starling City, and realize he’s disappointed by the results. “That makes being the idea of being the person who commands the League of Assassins in any way that he sees fit really appealing,” he said. Not that there might be a choice in the matter. “It’s an offer in name only,” Amell said, adding that “If Oliver says no, there will be dire consequences.”

It was also revealed that the characterization of Oliver Queen/Arrow will be changed drastically by season’s end, with a more “defeated” and “introspective” interpretation going into future seasons. Among other reveals, confirmation came that (no surprise) Felicity Smoak will be appearing in another crossover with The Flash.

Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), who has been Oliver's love interest but is now romantically entangled with Ray Palmer, returns in Wednesday's episode unsure of if she is even wanting to continue to support Oliver's mission."She needs the time to go and explore other options," said Rickards.

Much like Arrow, The Flash started off with a sizzle also, one particularly shocking moment in the sizzle reel showed apparently featured Detective Eddie Thawne shooting two of his fellow cops  at point blank range in the back.

Speaking of The Flash, that panel was adorable, with the actors barely distinguishable from the characters they play, and the audience full of a surprising number of little kids, demonstrating the show’s cross-generational appeal. It was also even more tightlipped than the Arrow panel. Throughout the discussion, the panelists – stars Grant Gustin (“Barry Allen/The Flash”, Jesse L. Martin (“Det. Joe West”), Tom Cavanagh (“Dr. Harrison Wells”), Candice Patton (“Iris West”), Rick Cosnett (“Det. Eddie Thawne”), Danielle Panabaker (“Dr. Caitlin Snow”), Carlos Valdes (“Cisco Ramon”), along with executive producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg – fell all over each other to avoid giving even a hint of what to expect when the show returns on March 17.

Even so, questions from Tyler and from members of the audience prompted a few surprises. Asked by one fan if there were plans to dig even deeper into DC Comics lore for plots on the show, Kreisberg hemmed and hawed a bit, before saying “There’s a fairly big Flash storyline from the comics that were going to tackle in the future.”

Make your own bets, but odds are high he’s talking about “Flashpoint”, a 5-issue miniseries from 2011 that DC used to reboot its entire lineup, heavily speculated as possible since The Flash‘s premier last fall. In it, the timeline is changed drastically, with Barry Allen’s deceased mother now alive, his father never having been framed for her murder, and the DC universe suffering as superpower factions exist in a state of almost permanent war. Barry retains his memories from before history was altered, and is forced to go back in time to fix things, with mixed results.

That ties into themes already introduced in the CW series, particularly involving the supervillain Reverse Flash. Whether or not this adaptation would impact events on Arrow or the as yet-unannounced super hero team up spinoff featuring Brandon Routh’s A.T.O.M. is far from clear, but it’s interesting to see, yet again, how the Arrow/The Flash production team continues to work around the restrictions placed on them by Warner Bros. preventing them from using Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman.

We will have to wait a while before some of the other characters, like Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco (Carlos Valdes), exhibit superhuman tendencies. “But some of us sooner rather than later,” Panabaker teases. We will also finally learn who has been tending to the metahumans locked up in the pipeline, while Berlanti teases an upcoming episode will also deal with the moral ramifications of the S.T.A.R. Labs team playing judge and jury with the villains’ futures.

Also of interest, Kreisberg and Berlanti did confirm one huge tidbit: plans are in place during Season 2 to add two important characters from the Flash comic mythos into the tv series. Asked whether Bart Allen or Wally West, both of whom have alternately operated as The Flash in the comics, will appear, Berlanti said “That’s our hope. If we’re going to be doing something like, we’d do it” in Season 2.

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