Friday, July 29, 2016

Comic-Con Recap: 9 Things We Learned From The DC Panels [Contributor: Jen]

One of the highlights of San Diego Comic Con was the DC television panels. The excitement in the room was palpable as the writers and casts from Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash and Arrow assembled in Ballroom 20 to discuss their upcoming seasons. The creators and cast from each show had plenty of spoilers for us. But those weren't necessarily the most surprising revelations. Below are nine of the most interesting things we learned from the DC television block on Saturday.

We know who is in "The Pod."

Truth be told, this was a bomb drop for me. I was floored that Supergirl released who is in
The Pod." Okay, now is the time to avert your eyes if you want to remain spoiler-free! Ready? Here we go: Chris Wood — known for his roles on The Vampire Diaries and Contagion — will be joining Supergirl as a series regular in season two. And as it turns out, he is the one in the pod. Judging from his previous roles, Wood plays both a hero and villain equally well, so I truly have no idea what to expect from him on Supergirl.

Arrow's theme for the upcoming season is "legacy."

Every fan of Arrow knows that each year, the show chooses to focus on a singular theme and structure the season around it. The focus of season five was revealed at Comic-Con and will be "legacy." The writers will honor the death of the Black Canary/Laurel Lance, but also refocus on the original premise of Arrow. As Stephen Amell noted about Oliver, "he's really back to the mission [...] the most important thing in [Oliver's] life is honoring what [his] father asked [him] to do, which is protect Star City."

Stephen Amell's mantra throughout the majority of the interviews he conducted about the upcoming season was "back to basics." There's a reason why this message was top priority in the Arrow media blitz. Arrow spent the last three years launching The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. In the midst of all the spin-off goodness, something has been lost for many fans — Arrow. It seems like Amell is echoing the concern of the fans and reassuring them.

This complaint that the show has strayed away from its roots is one that the writers have heard, too. The theme of legacy means that Arrow is committed to honoring the legacy of Oliver's fallen loved ones, but also forging a new legacy with The Green Arrow. It's a return to the street-fighting-Original-Team-Arrow-saving-Star-City premise that makes this show great.

Legends of Tomorrow has new supervillains (plural!) and they are awesome.

One of the chief complaints I had about Legends of Tomorrow's first season was the villain was fairly lackluster. For season two, instead of announcing one villain, creator Marc Guggenheim announced FOUR: Eobard Thawne (Reverse Flash), Damien Darhk, Captain Cold (former Legends of Tomorrow deceased team member Leonard Snart), and Malcolm Merlyn.

All of these villains hail from The Flash and Arrow universes. They are fully fleshed out characters and formidable in their own rights. The legends have personal history with each villain, adding a layer of emotional drama that was lacking with Vandal Savage. Caity Lotz — who plays White Canary/Sara Lance — made specific mention of how much Sara will want to kill Damien and Merlyn, in particular, since Darhk is responsible for killing Laurel and Merlyn is responsible for killing well... her.

A supervillain team fighting against a superhero team throughout time sounds pretty spectacular. Plus capping off the announcement with an appearance from John Barrowman was just the icing on the cake.

Flashpoint is no small paradox.

Of course, at the forefront of everyone's minds is how much has changed (or will change) within the DC television universe because of Barry's decision to save his mother on The Flash. So exactly how much has changed? In a word (or two): A LOT. Grant Gustin said that Barry is somewhat unaware of all the changes because he's living in blissful ignorance. The cast and sizzle reel reveal some of the big changes, however:
  • Cisco is the richest man in the world.
  • Both Barry's father and mother are alive.
  • Iris doesn't really know who Barry is. She has difficulty remembering his name and it's clear they don't have a relationship. Not even a friendship.
  • The West family is no longer the strong, close unit they use to be. Joe is very unhappy and Jesse L. Martin specifically mentioned Joe has, what looks like, an unsolvable problem with Iris.
  • Wally West is Kid Flash.
  • Flashpoint impacts the whole Berlanti universe, but there was specific mention of the impact to Diggle.
It was also announced that Emily Bett Rickards will be guest-starring as Felicity Smoak in episode two this season, but writer Todd Helbing became extremely evasive when pressed for details about her appearance. Grant quickly interrupted and said Felicity is giving Barry advice. The Flash included a clip of Barry and Felicity's kiss during the sizzle reel, leaving some fans to wonder if the Flashpoint impact with Barry and Felicity is more than meets the eye.

Arrow reveals Laurel Lance's final words... and they have real implications for Olicity.

This was another shocker from the sizzle reel. Much has been made about Laurel and Oliver's mysterious final scene and what exactly Laurel made Oliver promise. As it turns out, fans didn't have to wait as long as we anticipated to find out. Their final exchange went like this:
Laurel: Will you promise me something?
Oliver: Anything.
Laurel: Your instinct has always been to go it alone. But Ollie... you can't.
At first, hearing those final words felt like a balloon deflating. Laurel tells Oliver not to "go it alone"? That's it? I felt decidedly "eh." But upon further reflection, it's actually a pretty perfect final exchange between the two. We know that the flashbacks this season are Bratva-centric. In the sizzle reel, in particular, Anatoly Knyaze tells Oliver the only person he can trust is himself. Season five of Arrow is about the juxtaposition of these two sides of Oliver.

Laurel asking Oliver not go it alone not only has literal implications, but also fascinating romantic implications. Ultimately, one of the reasons why Laurel and Oliver failed romantically is because Oliver was constantly going it alone. The Laurel/Oliver flashbacks in "Canary Cry" revealed that Laurel wanted to be with Oliver and save the city together after Tommy's death. Instead of allowing her in, Oliver continues to lie to Laurel and leaves town for the isolation of Lian-Yu. Their romance, of course, never recovered.

We saw this idea of isolation again in season four with Oliver making a similar choice to "go it alone" when he lied to Felicity about the existence of his son and chose to send William away without even mentioning it to her. And in "Broken Hearts," Felicity said to Oliver, "You know, no matter how much you love me, there's always going to be a part of you that defaults to the man who was on the island. Alone. Who came back to save the city alone."

In order to keep Laurel's promise, Oliver can no longer go through life alone. He can no longer default to the man on the island. This means building a new team (and repairing the old one), but it also means becoming the man Felicity Smoak needs and deserves — the man he could never be for Laurel Lance. So, in an ironic twist, Laurel Lance may be the catalyst that reunites Oliver and Felicity.

Katie Cassidy's "deal" across Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow.

Wendy Mericle announced that they made a "deal" with Katie Cassidy for her to appear across all three shows mentioned above. There's been some confusion, however, regarding this announcement. Both Mericle and Guggenheim used the words "deal," but the media reported that Katie Cassidy would be a series regular again. Some fans seem to believe this means Cassidy will be appearing on all three shows with the frequency of her previous contract.

However, in a private conversation I had with Marc Guggenheim, he corrected that notion and told me that Cassidy will not be appearing as Laurel Lance in the present day. Instead, the show will use flashbacks, time travel, and the appearance of Black Siren to incorporate Cassidy into the show again. Her contract, in fact, sounds very similar to John Barrowman's or Wentworth Miller's — both presences in their respective shows, but certainly not in every episode. All of these potential uses of Laurel Lance (or a version of her) sound very interesting, but fans of the character should temper their expectations on the frequency of her appearances.

Stephen Amell, Grant Gustin, and Melissa Benoist are quite similar to their characters.

More than once, the cast of Supergirl mentioned how much Melissa is like Kara Danvers. Melissa, herself, admitted her personality is fairly similar to Kara when she is at Catco. However, there was an impressive moment regarding Melissa when she took the time to discuss how important all the little girls who love Supergirl are to her. She talked about how important it is to be a role model to those girls and how it's something she takes very seriously. My daughter loves the show, so I found Melissa's love and respect toward these young fans admirable. It was truly a moment when her inner Supergirl shone.

Grant Gustin continues to be quite Barry-esque. Barry is essentially a Golden Retriever puppy, and Grant doesn't stray too far from this description himself. He made specific mention of how he can't discuss the death of Barry's mother without tearing up (same, Grant. Same).

Finally, Stephen Amell made an interesting admission as well regarding his character: "I'm stubborn, I'm prideful, I hold grudges, but I'm not a murderer." Apparently Amell is more like Oliver Queen than he cares to admit most of the time.


Grant Gustin and Jesse L. Martin always need to tap dance together.

In the highlight of The Flash panel, Grant Gustin and Jesse L. Martin performed an impromptu tap dance routine. They made it up on the spot and performed it in perfect unison because they are ridiculously talented. These two men need to do a Broadway show together. Or just tap dance on The Flash. I'll take either, really.

The Arrow cast can really sing.

The Arrow cast broke out into a rendition of Hamilton's "You'll Be Back" during their panel. Echo Kellum took the lead, but the cast didn't miss a beat singing along with him, in harmony no less. Maybe there should be an Arrow musical (no there shouldn't)! But seriously, these guys can really belt a tune.

There's a reason why Comic-Con builds up to the DC panels — the casts truly come to play. There were so many thrills in discussing the upcoming seasons and watching these wonderfully talented people interact with one another on their panels. I was so lucky to be there, and I can't wait for all the new seasons of these fantastic shows.

1 comment:

  1. So glad that all the wonderful ladies that I follow on different blogs were at Comic Con 2016. I travel vicariously to these events through your written experiences.

    Since we have the love of the well written plot in common, I'd like to see what you think of Blacklist. The writers have done something in this show that reminds me of Arrow in Season 1 and 2 and that's have a beautifully written narrative. I'd love to hear what you think of it.

    Take care, God Bless and thanks for sharing your Comic Con narrative.