Greetings DC fans!
I’m closing off my coverage from the Heroes & Villains Fan Fest with a final word from the man who created the event: Mr. Stephen Amell. 2018’s panel with the star of The CW and Sky One’s hit TV series Arrow was fun, and informative. This is in no small part due to the fact that veteran comedienne and actress Aisha Tyler – a close personal friend to Mr. Amell – was the moderator.
I hope that this panel is as fun to read as it was to attend!
WARNING! If you’re not up to date with Arrow, this article contains spoilers for the end of season six. The following report also has content not suitable for children. The audio section contains some strong language.
Aisha Tyler: Welcome to this panel, with my moderately good acquaintance, Stephen Amell. I don’t know if you follow us on-line? We hang out every once in a while. We’re gonna talk about Arrow, and the show all you guys know him from; Hung, [Laughter from Stephen and the crowd] I’m a big fan of Hung, I’ve seen it like 30 or 40 times.
Stephen Amell: We should talk about that, because you haven’t seen the past couple of seasons [of ARROW].
AT: So, Stephen was like, “Do you wanna moderate my panel?” and I was like, “Great! Haven’t watched your show in a couple of years.” [Laughter] Because I see you all the time, your face, I hang with you, I don’t need to watch him on television, yo! Also, somebody asked us not to spoil the finale. I kind of feel like if you’re worried about this finale being spoiled, you might wanna like, [Puts her fingers in her ears, and sings “La la la la.” More laughs from all in attendance]. We’re probably gonna spoil it.
SA: Yeah, you’re in the wrong panel! [Laughs and cheers]
AT: First of all, Stephen Amell, you’ve been playing Arrow/Green Arrow for six seasons. I would like to know how the experience of playing this character has changed for you? The character has evolved, the show has evolved, it’s so much more expansive and complex than when you first started. I wonder what that’s like for you as an actor? How do you approach the role now versus how you did in the first seasons, when you were just good ol’ “Arrow” and not “Green Arrow?” with that ridiculous haircut you had on that island. [Huge round of laughter]
SA: Stop it!
No, well… I mean it’s changed in every possible way. It’s changed me personally, it’s changed me emotionally. When I started doing the show, I was a single guy living in Hollywood, and now I’m married, with a daughter. All the people that we’ve had on the show… oh, God, Aisha! Start with an easier question than this! [Laughter]
I actually don’t know what to say! It’s changed my life completely, in totality. Here we are, we’re in London. This is my fourth year being in London, my second year being in Heroes & Villains, and my first time wearing a Jensen and Jared shirt during a panel [Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki – stars of hit CW show SUPERNATURAL. This evokes a HUGE crowd response]
AT: There’s huge [Supernatural] love, really hardcore love.
SA: It’s just totally different, everything about it. I wouldn’t know where to begin to answer that question.
AT: And you didn’t. You didn’t answer it.
SA: Thank you very much, I appreciate that.
AT: You didn’t know where to start, so you didn’t start.
SA: Oh, my God, She’s gonna hold me this time. Oh, boy! OK.
AT: I’m just gonna heckle Stephen for 45 minutes. [They both laugh, as does the crowd]
AT: Let me ask you an easier question.
SA: Alright, I’m ready!
AT: As you’re about to go into season 7, how much do you influence any of the creative decisions? Are you talking about season 7, and the path for your character now?
SA: Was this your easy question? Oh, my goodness! [More laughter]
I have a reasonable influence on the show. I get into the micro-elements of the show, but the macro-elements have always been the producers. The only big idea that I’ve ever had was when we did the first crossover with The Flash. I suggested that Oliver’s baby momma and his kid showed up at CC Jitters. [Aisha starts giggling]
Did you just snort into the microphone? [Roars of laughter]
AT: I contribute in the ways that I can.
SA: I suggested that, but – by and large – we have a new show-runner this year [Beth Schwartz]
AT: Yes! Lady show-runner, man! [Cheers and applause]
SA: My life is run by women… I like it! [Everybody laughs] She has such a very specific idea of where the season’s gonna go. She sent me an email before this convention going, “Please DO NOT spoil the following things…” So, I’m gonna read them out.” [More laughs from both of them, and the crowd in attendance]
I get to have input, but ultimately it’s up to them. I have had some input on where Oliver might end up.. at the end of the day.
AT: At the end of the season? Or at the end of… whenever?
SA: Sure, yeah, at the end of season 7.
AT: How canonical is the show, compared to the DC Universe, and how much is original, organic, and native just to the show?
SA: That’s a great question, Aisha! When the show started the inspiration for the first season was absolutely, positively [Christopher Nolan’s] The Dark Knight. When I was sitting in David Nutter’s office [The director of ARROW’s pilot episode] it was just photos of The Dark Knight. That was the inspiration for the first season…
AT: And that was why you had that ridiculous gravelly voice? Stephen uses that at the Starbucks [In full-on Christian Bale Bat-voice…] “I’d like a tall, iced frappuccino.” [roars of laughter] “Light soy.”
SA: Only if I want my drink to come out really, really fast! [More laughs] I think that we’re gonna lean more into the comic, and canon, version of The Green Arrow this year. The show is the show, and I am me… I feel like I’m in the greatest show right now. Sorry to spoil the finale, but…
AT: It’s coming guys, “La la la la.”
SA: My secret identity, which wasn’t really a secret identity, is definitely not a secret identity any more!
AT: So you’ve played yourself?
SA: You wouldn’t know, because you haven’t seen the episode.
AT: No I haven’t. The internet told me. [Laughter] The internet told me that Oliver Queen is transitioning male to female. [Huge laughter] I mean, you didn’t “know about it” know about it, but dig deep… it’s a new thing for Stephen, I’m really excited. It’s a challenge for you as an actor. [Stephen’s head is in his hands. He’s shaking it slowly from side to side, trying to hold back he laughter]
SA: I’m very excited for the first, and last time that you’re moderating my panel! [Cheers, laughs and applause]
AT: One of the exciting things about comic-books in general, if you’re a big comic fan, or a DCEU fan, is that it’s a very fluid universe, right? There’s Earth One, there’s Earth Two, there’s Earth Thirty-Eight… there’s all these opportunities to revisit all these characters that you love; Black Canary, Black Siren.There are all these ways that you can come back to a story, and revisit people, characters that you love, and bring them back. Are there characters that we lost over the last six seasons that you’d like to see return?
SA: Yes. I would die to have Tommy Merlyn back on the show. [Cheers] I love Colin [Donnell] so much! He and I oddly became better friends after [his character] died on the show. [Laughs] I was so busy in the first year, and I really, really miss Tommy Merlyn.
I miss Susanna Thompson as Moira, as my mom. I miss Walter! [Cheers]
SA: I miss Colin Salmon [played Walter Steele] a lot, I really do. Oh, God… I miss everyone that leaves! I miss Paul Blackthorne [played Quentin Lance] so much! SPOILER ALERT! [More laughter]
But, If I had to pick one?
AT: Aisha Tyler? [Laughter]
SA: Have you been on the show?
AT: I’ve been on every other show! [Massive cheers, and applause]
SA: I don’t pay attention to co-stars! [They both laugh]
AT: [Laughing] I know you don’t!
SA: If I had to pick one, I’d pick Tommy.
AT: We’ve chatted off line, and you’ve heard the pitch for season 7. Are you excited about where the show’s going?
SA: I’m very, very excited for season 7. It seems very specific, there are really good ideas… [Stephen’s clearly struggling, due to confidentiality]
AT: So, that’s another non-answer. So how long is [Oliver] gonna be in prison? SPOILER ALERT!
SA: Aisha, I can’t answer that question!
AT: Well, just make something up!
SA: That was the first thing on Beth’s list! [Cheers and laughter] I can’t talk about how long I’m gonna be in prison!
AT: The first rule of Arrow is you can’t talk about Arrow. [Laughs all around]
AT: The show is physically demanding. Has that changed for you since season one, when you were clearly doing almost everything? Acting is great, we really love you for what you do, but it can be really physically demanding… really grueling. Has that part of the job evolved for you? In the way that you approach the role physically?
SA: Yeah, I have, because I have back problems now.
AT: He’s super old you guys, he’s like 98! [Laughter]
SA: 37 years old! I have back problems, so that has changed how I approach certain scenes. One of the worst things that you can do for your back is to throw a punch as hard as you can, and then not hit anything.
AT: Yeah, over and over again.
SA: It’s like, we’re in the UK, so sorry. But, baseball? Anyone?
AT: It’s like cricket… but with tighter pants. [Roars of laughter]
SA: Thank you. So, imagine someone swinging as hard as they can and connecting, versus someone swinging as hard as they can and not hitting anything? I do that all the time...
AT: With super tight pants on! [More laughter]
SA: So I have a bit of a nerve damage thing…I don’t know why you’re hung up on the super tight pants thing, but that’s OK. [Laughter] I’ve gotten pretty good at learning fights as we go. One of the things we didn’t have this year, that I would love to have next year, is one fight that is definitely all me. Like when I fought Ra’s Al Ghul on the mountain top in season 3. We didn’t have one of those in season 6.
AT: That was like the boss battle of that season.
SA: That’s right. I would like to have another one of those.
AT: Yeah, you should. You deserve it.
SA: Thank you. I deserve it?
AT: Yeah. If you take a few Advil beforehand…
SA: I hate you so much, Aisha. [Laughs from everyone]
The chemistry and banter between Stephen and Aisha was so infectious. They clearly love and respect each other dearly, as actors and as friends. Their rapport was palpable and really entertaining.
Some of the great questions Stephen went on to answer included, what was his favorite moment from the “Crisis On Earth X” crossover, to which he replied “Kissing Melissa [Benoist/Supergirl].” As you can imagine, that got a huge reaction. He went on to say, “Have you seen her? She’s gorgeous! TELL NO ONE!”
When asked of the girls that Oliver had been in relationships with, which would he pick, Aisha taunted Stephen with the question, “In real life?” Poor Stephen had to rally to his own defense, saying, “NO, not in real life! My wife and daughter are backstage.” Alicia won the war with, “Hang on… 30 seconds ago you were like, ‘Melissa! Have you seen her? Hubba hubba!’“, and the crowd went wild.
Stephen’s final answer was, of course, Felicity.
When asked who would win in a fight out of Green Arrow and Marvel’s Hawkeye, Aisha answered for Stephen. Contrary to what anyone may have expected, she actually sided with Arrow! “Jeremy Renner’s fine… but look at this guy!”
When asked which villain Stephen would like to see return, the answer was unequivocally Prometheus. Josh Segarra made a big impression in season 5, and the two actors became firm friends. For more on this great bromance, check out my article on Stephen Amell’s panel from last year’s HVFF event.
Stephen rated how Josh built the character from the ground up, comparing it to how David Ramsey created John Diggle, a character who became comics canon because of the show. In Stephen’s mind, Deathstroke is The Joker To Oliver’s Batman, but that was something inherent to the role. Josh Segarra’s Prometheus grew organically from the actor’s interpretation.
As a fan of Supernatural, and as a friend to the three main actors, Stephen expressed a real interest in having an Arrow/Supernatural crossover. He called the Supernatural Fans some of the most passionate, and said that he’d happily be the guest star on their show. As both series air on The CW, while a crossover may be unlikely, anything is possible.
When asked about an embarrassing moment on set, Stephen made Aisha admit to posting a spoiler about Oliver and Felicity’s wedding from the set online, which she got into a fair amount of trouble for. Stephen’s confession was that back in season one he dropped Katie Cassidy [Laurel] on the floor when she was supposed to have had a comfy landing onto a bed. Oops!
One of the funniest moments was Aisha Tyler learning about the patented boxing-glove arrow, as she actually had no idea that it even existed. It’s been the butt of many jokes over the years, but even Stephen Amell thinks it’s a classic.
If, like me, you have a long and boring commute, or you have an hour or so to spare, the entire Stephen Amell panel is available for your listening pleasure below! Listen out for the moment when Stephen’s daughter comes out on stage. If that moment doesn’t make your heart melt, then you officially haven’t got one!
To close the article, here are some great pics from the rest of the show, including a Canary double selfie, Juliana Harkavy mingling with the crowd and Hartley Sawyer (Elongated Man) getting his surfer dude on.
So that’s a wrap. A huge thanks to all the amazing guests, event organizers and volunteers at this year’s Fan Fest. It was the most fun two-day event since the last Heroes And Villains.
If you haven’t already, please check out our exclusive interviews with Gotham‘s Drew Powell, Cory Michael Smith and Robin Lord Taylor Danielle Panabaker from The Flash, Arrow’s Kirk Acevedo and Franz Drameh from DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow, as well as panel coverage with Supergirl‘s Man Of Steel, Tyler Hoechlin. All of it can be found right here on DC World!
Until next time, I’m Steve J. Ray… signing off.