Tonight’s brand new episode of “Arrow” is one of the show’s most action-packed this season (so far) as Stephen Amell’s The Arrow and Caity Lotz’s Black Canary take on the League of Assassins.
The dangerous group makes a crash landing in Starling City, bringing danger and trouble.
In a new interview with AccessHollywood.com, Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg explained a little more about the organization and the type of trouble they’re bringing The Arrow and the Black Canary (who, as fans found out last week is actually Sara Lance).
AccessHollywood.com: Abu Nazir has to come Starling City! Well, Navid Negahban, who played Abu Nazir on ‘Homeland,’ is guest starring in this episode.
Andrew Kreisberg: I know! As soon as this part came up, he was somebody we asked about and he came in and he was so excited because apparently he started his early career as a horseback riding stuntman. When he did his audition, he actually sat kneeling, like cross-legged in front of us, and did this incredibly exotic way of standing that really blew us away. And he was just so excited — obviously lately he’s played a lot of terrorists, so he said it was so much fun to play like a super-villain.
Access: How would you describe the League of Assassins for non-comic book readers? I guess the name says a lot.
Andrew: Yeah, it’s funny, there’s a line in the episode where Felicity says, ‘Who are the League of Assassins? Please don’t tell me they’re a league made up of Assassins!’ They’re this ancient sect of deadly warriors who work for Ras ‘al Ghul and like in the comics they have a much more Middle Eastern bent than they had in the ‘Dark Knight’ films, but for right now, they really are a mystery. All we know about them is that they’re sort of these ghost-like [people]… in that they kill without mercy and no one ever knows about them and the body’s dead before anyone ever sees them. And we’re gonna learn more about them and obviously Sara’s connection to them, which we’ve been hinting at. … In the comic books, Merlyn was trained by Ras al ‘Ghul. He was a member of the League of Assassins, so when we knew we were gonna delve more into the League of Assassins mythology this season, we had them all dressed like Malcolm, so that Malcolm’s ‘villain outfit’ from last season is actually just what the League of Assassins wear.
Access: Are there any fiercer fighters than these guys?
Andrew: No. In our world, these are the baddest of the bad (laughs). Obviously we’ve seen Merlyn and these guys are pretty good and you’re gonna get a pretty good idea of what Sara’s capable of in this episode. … This is really more of the continuation of the story that began with Merlyn that now encompasses Sara and moving forward the League of Assassins will be an ever present part of our series.
Access: So you plan to roll out more assassins as time goes on then?
Access: Can Oliver compete? He’s just one man. They seem to have the numbers.
Andrew: They do, but don’t forget he’s no slouch. Malcolm Merlyn is one of their most feared members and Oliver defeated him, so there’s a certain amount of respect that they have for Oliver Queen. What’s interesting about them is they don’t kill willy-nilly. They’ve got a code and that code is gonna be something that plays out over many Episode coming up this season, specifically Episode 8 and then also Episode 13.
Access: Tell me about how much danger these guys are bringing to Caity’s character?
Andrew: It’s interesting, this is really the first time we’ve done the flashbacks from somebody else’s point of view. This episode… the flashbacks come off of Sara and we get to know more about how Sara survived The Gambit going down and you get a little glimpse of the kind of person she’s become. She has very powerful enemies hunting her and you’re only as good as the bad guy that’s after you and she’s got the worst of the worst coming after her. … I think this is honestly — this is my favorite episode that we’ve ever done. It’s got some of the best action we’ve ever done and it’s got some of the biggest laughs we’ve ever done, but there’s at least two instances in this episode where literally every time I watch it I cry ‘cause it has so much emotion.
And the other thing why this episode means so much — I think some people think we might have tried to retcon [retroactive continuity] the situation, but the truth of the matter is, we knew Sara was alive from the beginning and if you look back at certain episodes last season, even the way Oliver reacts in the pilot when Laurel says, ‘Did Sara suffer?’ the look on his face says she did and it’s more than just drowning.
Access: Did you guys tell Stephen back then that this character was still alive so he could add that to his performance?
Andrew: Yes, we did.
Access: So he’s had to keep a lot of secrets?
Andrew: Yeah. And he’s done a pretty good job!
Access: What do you love about Caity? She’s a great addition to the show.
Andrew: For one thing, we love that she actually looks like she could be Katie Cassidy’s sister, which was great. It’s funny, we treated this as if we were casting a pilot. We literally saw everybody under the sun and we met with some very famous people for the part. There was just something about Caity — she had an energy that we felt like we didn’t have on the show. We’re really blessed. We have some incredibly strong actresses on the show between Emily Bett Rickards and Katie Cassidy, and we wanted to add somebody who was going to feel like an addition and not just more of what we already had and Caity brings — first of all she’s an amazing athlete and was actually training to be a stuntwoman earlier in her career. Our stunt department said if she wants to be a stuntwoman she could and you see in this episode how much of it is her actually doing the fighting, but I think the thing that most captured us about Caity was you just look at her and you want to take care of her. She’s got that little baby doll voice and it makes such a strong juxtaposition against what a strong fighter she is, but it’s just that wounded look that she gives. There’s so much heartache and heartbreak.
“Arrow” airs Wednesday night at 8/7c on The CW.
-- Jolie Lash
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