‘Arrow’ EP Marc Guggenheim On Oliver’s Season Finale Battle

“Arrow” wraps up what has been an incredible Season 2 run on Wednesday night with a big battle for Starling City – and for survival.

With Slade Wilson’s Mirakuru-powered army causing chaos and creating carnage, Oliver Queen and his heroic friends will fight to stop them – and stop them in time to prevent Amanda Waller’s group from leveling his hometown. After a season full of big, drama-changing twists (like supercharging Roy, and bringing back Malcolm Merlyn) and deaths (R.I.P Moira Queen, villain The Count) the Season 2 finale seems poised to top it all.

An image (posted on Stephen Amell’s facebook page) from Wednesday’s final episode of the season showed Oliver leading Sara Lance/Canary (Caity Lotz), Roy Harper (Colton Haynes), Nyssa (Katrina Law), and a few other archers into battle. Executive Producer Marc Guggenheim spoke with AccessHollywood.com about the show’s extraordinary season and what fans can expect in the Season 2 finale, airing Wednesday night at 8/7c on The CW.

PHOTOS: ‘Arrow’ — Scenes From The Season 2 Finale

AccessHollywood.com: After last week’s episode, I realized the only thing wrong with the show is the amount of time I have to wait for it to come back from a commercial. How do you feel now that we’re at the end of the season about how strong Season 2 was?
Marc Guggenheim:
Thank you. I always say, quite sincerely, that my opinion and our internal opinion of the season is not nearly as important as the audience’s opinion. You know, it’s funny, at the beginning of the season, which was almost a year ago, because we start pretty early, I was really, really anxious. I said to the writers, I was very anxious about topping Season 1, or at the very least not making it worse and… I think we left everything on the field at the end of Season 1 and I was really anxious about us topping ourselves. And then, as Season 2 began to roll out and we read stuff online, eventually I did notice a unanimity of opinion that Season 2 was not only better than Season 1, but pretty darn good… but it, of course, put a lot of pressure on us to end the season in a satisfying way. We didn’t want to have a strong season and then a weak season finale. And, as we start work on Season 3… I’m already going, like, ‘OK, well, how do we top ourselves?’ In a perfect world the show just continues to grow and grow and improve and improve. I really want each season to be better than the one that came before it.

Access: In terms of that season finale there’s that great photo that is out there showing everybody together (Roy, Canary, Oliver and Nyssa). But, is Malcolm with them as well or is that someone from Nyssa’s side of things?
That’s a great question! I’d watch the show (laughs).

Access: It could be Malcolm in his Dark Archer garb or folks from Nyssa’s world.
Indeed. … That’s the thing — one of the things that excites the geek in me is the fact that, you know, last year ended with Oliver fighting the Dark Archer and this year ends with Oliver fighting alongside a couple dark archers and that’s a fun little development as far as I’m concerned.

Access: They always say heroes are the people running toward the danger while others are running away… and you have quite a collection of them running toward danger in the trailer. Tell me about how you guys felt in the writer’s room actually putting that scene together.
That was an image that we had in our heads since the beginning of the season. We knew we wanted to get to this place where it was basically Oliver’s army against Slade’s army. We always knew that Season 2 would end with, among other things, this clash of armies and that Oliver’s army was going to be more than just the core group of Oliver, Diggle and Felicity. Ideally, it would include Roy, and we had a couple of other ideas for who else it might include, but it was very satisfying to get to that moment when we were breaking in the writers room and go, you know what? We had fulfilled a promise that we had made to ourselves, way back in the beginning of the season.

Access: What can you hint at about what we will see from this supergroup?
I will say, the sequence that that shot is pulled from probably is one of the best sequences we’ve done on the show. I’m immensely excited about it. It’s got scope, it’s got even a couple of nice little character moments in it. It’s got incredible action. It was everything and more than I could have hoped for.

Access: When you watched it, did you get goosebumps? What went through your head?
I was up there for the shooting of the sequence and when I got to the tunnel that night and saw all the sort of extras and vehicles and everything else and camera equipment that we had arrayed in service of shooting this, I knew it was going to be pretty spectacular. And then, when I saw the rough cut of that sequence cut together, which is not all that different from what you guys will see on Wednesday, it just feels like a movie. That was my reaction. It was, ‘This feels like a movie, this feels like a motion picture.’

Access: You didn’t start crying?
Honestly, the stuff that gets me emotional are really the emotional scenes. Truth be told, if there’s an emotion attached to seeing that sequence, it’s pride. I’m so proud of our incredibly talented, camera, production and stunt teams. The production group is so amazing. They are constantly blowing me away and I’m just immensely proud of them.

Access: How big is the cliffhanger you’re going to leave us with this season?
It’s funny… one of the things that we didn’t do last season, which we wanted to do this season, was we didn’t really have a chance to sort of wrap the season up. Tommy died at the end of Season 1 and boom, you were out. [This season] we wanted to give ourselves time to sort of bring the whole season in for a landing in a way that we denied ourselves at the end of Season 1, that’s not to say there won’t be cliffhangers. There’s one, what I would call ‘traditional’ cliffhanger, and then there’s a series of other moments that while not a traditional cliffhanger are definitely designed to make you go, ‘Oh wow! I really want to see what happens in Season 3.’ But the structure of the season finale, by design, is very different from the structure of the first season finale.

Access: In the trailer, Oliver says he has to kill Slade. Should we be worried about Slade’s survival, if you’re a bad guy fan?
This dilemma of Oliver’s — that he’s facing a villain that can only be defeated by killing him in a time when Oliver has basically sworn an oath not to kill again — that is a dilemma that we set for him back at the beginning of the year. We knew that we were going to get to this moment and I think what’s interesting about the finale is that Oliver faces that moment more than once in the course of the finale and, hopefully, we’ve come up with a way of resolving that question that will surprise you.

The “Arrow” Season 2 finale airs Wednesday night at 8/7c on The CW.

-- Jolie Lash

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