I must say, again, if you've not seen the Arrow midseason finale, then there are very big spoilers indeed below. But, seriously, if you're worried about spoilers, then I ask you:
Okay, that ought to be a big enough text wall to void complaints about spoilers. Let's get started. Just a couple of days ago, after Arrow's enormous midseason finale, we speculated quite heavily on what was to come for the rest of the season. Ranging from Tommy Merlyn's potential return, to the existence of the Lazarus Pits, we touched on just what the role of the Team Arrow left behind (no coincidence episode ten is called Left Behind, hmm?) would be. Because I wrote that article, here's the speculation, taken from there.
What happens to Team Arrow?
Despite it being a near certainty we'll see Laurel suit up in episode 10 in the New Year, or at least in the first three episodes, Guggenheim also shot down the rumors there would be a "Black Canary trilogy." The other characters are very much involved, it just does some heavy character building for Laurel:
"The one thing I want to clarify -- and I don't know how this happened -- it got out there in the ether that we were doing a Black Canary arc. That's not really the case. In episodes 10, 11 and 12, there's some pretty huge growth for Laurel and big steps taken on the road to becoming the Black Canary. That said, it's not the Black Canary show. I'd say episode 10 is all about Team Arrow and dealing with the ramifications and the aftershocks of 309.
Roy, Felicity and Diggs really come to the fore in 10, 11 and 12, for reasons I think will be pretty clear by the time you see episode 9."
What piqued my interest were the photos of Roy/Laurel which surfaced on Instagram, posted by Emily Bett Rickards in full costume not long ago. In Oliver's absence, it may be possible we'll see these guys, plus Felicity and Diggle, start looking after the city themselves.
This photo, to be precise. I might have posted it a while back; if not, it certainly seems to hint at a Roy and Laurel scene/team up. What's most interesting about it now is Guggenheim's comments that, "Roy, Felicity and Diggs very much come to the fore."
As well as, of course, the confirmation Laurel will be heavily focused on, even if it won't be exclusively about her. When this photo was taken actually matches with the kind of time we would be seeing episode 10 or 11 filmed, so we can assume this is from their solo adventures. Certainly a lot to look forward to here.
On top of that, we know Danny Brickwell ("Brick") will be a rather large villain in the second half of Season 3, in episodes 10, 11, and 12. A villain from the comics, this Brick's name will be derived from the plentiful bullet wounds he's sustained and recovered from. He'll be played by Vinnie Jones - quite a big name actor, indeed, one who you'll remember as Juggernaut from The Last Stand.
Now, Arsenal is confirmed to have a pretty huge role
All of a sudden, Roy's not just the only archer in Starling City left - or at least, the only stable one - he's also its only hero. Sure, Ray is coming in his ATOM suit, and Laurel is set to suit up very soon. But for now, he's the vigilante, and Team Arrow have always recognized that Starling City needs The Arrow. Perhaps just an arrow will suffice for now.
Talking to Entertainment Weekly, Executive Producer Guggenheim said briefly:
"One of the things I was very straight with Colton [Haynes] about is I don’t think we serviced his character quite as much as we would have liked in the first half of the season,”
Which, while what we saw of Arsenal was great, and had a very powerful dynamic with Oliver - this is, remember, the first time in live action that the true sidekick dynamic has been nailed correctly - generally echoes the fan sentiment that we wanted to see more of Roy and Arsenal. So, as Guggenheim and the Arrow writers always do, they'll be heavily changing that for what fans want, and to better utilize one of their main cast:
“I’ll say the stuff that he’s got in episodes 10, 11, and 12, it’s pretty dang gangbusters.There’s one scene in episode 11 between him and John Barrowman that I think is some of his finest work on the show.”
Which is really, really interesting. Because that could very much confirm, or at least hint at, our suspicions that Barrowman's Merlyn - also with a key role in the second half of this season - will fall more on the side of the good guys than the bad. Let's make something clear - Roy wants Oliver back. So does everyone else, but Roy is not just missing his teacher, his mentor, and friend, but really his substitute older brother, and effectively a father figure.
It's possible Roy will also have a big role in returning Oliver from his, ah, mishap. Some speculated on that last post the foot we saw could be Roy's or Merlyn's, but it's possible they're working together.
So, will Roy take up the mantle of The Arrow?
In my opinion, no. He'll stay Arsenal. While he has his fair share of troubles, Roy in costume is generally less brooding and menacing than the Arrow. He'll probably take a different approach, maintaining his Arsenal moniker and staying in his costume (after all, he's fairly certain it's the best suit on the show, and I might have to agree with him) while fighting crime, all the while developing his own skills in Oliver's absence. It'll be great to see some heavy development for Roy. As I said earlier, despite Oliver's shocking, and almost certainly temporary, death, it's a clever move to pull in the middle of the season so we can really see some side characters come to the fore.
In the meantime, we continue our agonizing wait until January 21st. (Two days down, and I'm already struggling!)
Later edit: Boxing day and still struggling! However, there's some great footage from the New Zealand new year trailer for these shows which gives us a look at a tiny bit of Merlyn, but a great bit of footage of Roy running through a pipe surrounded by what looks to be gunfire or an explosion- alone.