The CW’s Arrow returns to screens for its third season on Oct. 8, but fans can get a fix of brand new Oliver Queen much earlier with next week’s Arrow: Season 2.5, a digital comic written by executive producer Marc Guggenheim and series writer Keto Shimizu. The Hollywood Reporter talked to Guggenheim and Shimizou about what to expect from the series, and also has an exclusive preview of the first issue, with art by Joe Bennett and Jack Jadson.
“Essentially what we’re doing is, we’re telling a story between two sets of episodes,” Guggenheim explains about the series, which is set during the five month gap between the second and third seasons of the CW series. “Season 3 is designed to stand on its own feet without requiring anyone to do any outside reading, but what the comic book will give is a deeper appreciation for some of the moments [in the show], and a more complete narrative experience. If you want to go deeper into the story, that’s what Season 2.5 is for.”
The new comic will answer questions from the second season finale of the television show, and set up events for the third season ahead of time. “If you want to find out what happened to Detective Lance after he collapsed, you’ll want to read the comic,” Guggenheim teases. “If you want to find out how Roy gets the uniform that plays into the first episode of season 3, you’re going to want to read the comic. If you want to know how Vertigo developed… something that plays into our season later… you’re going to want to read the comic.”
Shimizu adds that the comic book format for Season 2.5 means that “we’re able to accomplish things on the page that are nearly impossible to with our production schedule and our budget,” promising “more spectacular action sequences [and] bigger explosions” over the course of the series.
Season 2.5 also offers the opportunity to leave Starling City, she says. “We’re doing a Suicide Squad runner throughout the series, one or two pages each issue, that will lead to its own episode later in the run,” she reveals. “In that situation, we’re able to go to places we’ve not visited in the show — to the fictional DC Comics country of Khandaq, which we could never recreate in Vancouver.”
While Guggenheim has an extensive background in comic books — he’s currently writing Marvel’s X-Men, and has written many DC and Marvel titles in the past — Season 2.5 is Shimizu’s first comic book project. “I’ve been a longtime fangirl — I’m a huge Batman fan, and that’s part of the reason they hired me, actually,” she explains. “It’s really exciting to me to learn the comic book format, and try my hand at this thing that I’ve loved since I was a kid.” Guggenheim laughed, saying “She took to it faster than I did.”
Arrow: Season 2.5 No. 1 will be available digitally on Sept. 1, with a print edition (collecting two digital chapters in each issue) launching the following month.