Murtz On The Scene: Exclusive Interview With Arrow‘s Katie Cassidy

When will Laurel Lance become the Black Canary?

While the question might not make sense to viewers who haven’t tuned into Arrow before, fans of the comics and TV series have patiently been waiting for the answer to this question since the show’s debut in 2012.

In the comics, Lance assumed the Canary personna to fight alongside the Green Arrow as the pair became both professional and personal partners-in-crime. In the television series, however, writers initially chose to anoint Sarah Lance (Laurel’s sister) as the Canary and it has been a slow burnfor viewers waiting to see Starling City’s district attorney put on the black costume ever since.

The good news is that the wait is finally over.

When the show recently returned from its holiday hiatus, it featured Laurel (played by Katie Cassidy) finally putting Sarah’s jacket on to become the hero we have been waiting for. Swearing to avenge her sister’s death, Laurel put her love life on hold (insert collective sigh of relief here from the Olicity fanbase) to take training lessons from Ted “Wildcat” Grant and make up for the MIA Oliver Queen (who had his hands full with R’as al Ghul). What Laurel has lacked in technical training, she has made up for in a willingness to learn and an insatiable thirst for revenge.

Tonight’s episode sees Laurel find her own wings as she finally steps out of her sister’s shadow to become her own Canary. The episode, appropriately titled “Canaries,” also sees Oliver attempt to process Laurel inserting herself into Team Arrow in his absence. While he does his best to convince Laurel to stop putting her life at risk, his efforts ultimately prove futile as the Canary decides to go after a returning Vertigo. The result is Laurel being hit with a full dose of the Vertigo drug and consequently being forced to face her greatest fear… her sister. The quarrelling Canaries then go head-to-head in what will undoubtedly be one epic hallucinatory sequence.

I recently caught up with Katie to get a sneak peek of tonight’s episode in our third interview since the show’s series premiere. This time around we specifically focus on the show along with Katie’s thoughts on playing a superhero for the first time.

Murtz Jaffer: Hi Katie, how are you? It is Murtz.

Katie Cassidy: I am doing well thank you, how are you?

MJ: Very good!  If you are ready to get right into it, I will start.

KC: Yeah, I think I am! Go ahead.

MJ: I know many fans have been waiting for Laurel to assume the role of Black Canary. When did you find out that your character would be getting the costume and what was it like to put it on for the first time?

KC: Well originally when I met with [series producers] Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, and Marc Guggenheim (before I even had the role of Laurel and before we shot the pilot, it was just at the very beginning stages), they had told me that in the comic books and in the series that Laurel Lance is the Black Canary and that eventually that is where my story would be headed. Having said that, they didn’t say when and I also knew when signing on to this project that it was television and that anything could happen.  So it wasn’t necessarily a guarantee but it’s something that I have definitely been looking forward to for a really long time and was one of the main reasons that I signed onto a show like this. It’s because I wanted to do something that was really physical and action-packed and aside from that obviously having such amazing producers and creators like Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim… those were the people I wanted to be in business with and continue to be in business with.

It was definitely a long time coming and (as we found in the second season), the Canary ended up being my sister and it was definitely a little difficult when I heard about that just because I was looking forward to it so much. Then they brought my sister back (and Caity Lotz is just wonderful and amazing) and it definitely makes sense to me why they went the route that they did because you can’t just become a superhero overnight. You have to earn it, you have to… for Laurel (in season two) she had hit rock bottom and she had to come back out on top. So I think it was a definitely a long time coming but I am happy that we went about it the way that we did. At the end of Season 2, I had to put on my sister’s jacket and I remember when I had a fitting for just the jacket… literally tears came to my eyes and I was just so excited and so happy to be out of the rabbit hole. Season 2 was rough for me emotionally because my character went through a lot and I was excited to get into training and be physically involved and definitely to be more a part of the A story and Team Arrow.

MJ: You know Katie, many fans of the show have been pushing to see the romance between Oliver and Felicity develop. When we chatted a couple of years ago, you said that you believed Laurel was Oliver’s first and hopefully last love.  Do you still feel that way?

KC: Absolutely! I think people go through different things in life, different phases, and timing is everything and right now romantically Laurel is not thinking romantically, I don’t think. She is focused on something else and Oliver and Felicity have a connection but, at the end of the day, I do think that they [Laurel and Oliver] are soulmates. I always will think that even if Oliver is involved with Felicity or not. Needless to say, just because it’s your soulmate, that doesn’t mean you end up with them. Sometimes soulmates just remain best friends. It’s funny because obviously I am on the show and read the scripts, but I’ll also watch the episodes and yesterday (I don’t know if you saw it) but I hashtagged on my Twitter “#Olicity” because everybody loves the Oliver/Felicity/Laurel triangle that is going on.  And with the writing, they [Oliver and Felicity] have good chemistry but I think at some point maybe far later down the line we may explore that… getting back into Laurel and Oliver romantically but it is absolutely not in her wavelength at all right now. I think she has a lot going on and a lot to deal with and she can’t really think like that at the moment.

MJ: As the Felicity/Oliver romance still seems to be the plan, do you think we will see a new love interest for Laurel? I was banking everything on Ted but I guess (after last night) it’s not going to be Ted?

KC: [Laughs]. I think that it is a possibility… I definitely think that she needs to again focus on her training. Just because you put on a suit, that doesn’t mean you are good. Yes she puts on a suit but she is being driven by avenging her sister’s death and honouring her sister. Finding it from within. She is so driven and focused and I think that is where her head is at right now. As far as getting romantically involved with somebody I definitely think it is a possibility.  I think that it will be interesting to find out who it is.

MJ: Can you talk about how Laurel has gone from avenging her sister’s death to honouring her sister’s death to now becoming her sister?

Katie: Yeah, I mean the writers have done such a brilliant job with my character and my arc. Her avenging her sister’s death is when we first start to see signs of her. She is just lashing out and she is just…it is all about her sister and as much as Caity Lotz is not physically present in Season 3 she is still very much, for Laurel, a part of Season 3. It is the reason she does everything. It is her motivation. It is her drive. I think she gets knocked down several times after putting on the suit and becoming Black Canary. She gets beat up and she goes out there and she continues to go out there for her sister and to honour her sister. I think at some point we’ll see her get to a level where she doesn’t necessarily have a lot of faith in herself (because she continuously gets knocked down), but that’s because she doesn’t have any training. She has just got spirit and drive and avenging her sister. I definitely think that at some point she will start doubting herself and I think somebody will come around and make Laurel realize that she isn’t her sister. She has done everything for her sister but she can’t compare herself to her sister because this is Laurel’s choice. Sarah didn’t have a choice. When she was on that island, becoming the Canary… that was Sarah’s way of survival so she had to do this but Laurel doesn’t have to do this. Laurel chooses to do this because she has that big of a heart, because she wants to do good for the city and because she is so driven. She is always wanting to do good and I think that one of the characters that Laurel interacts with reminds her of that and reminds her and says  ‘you are not your sister but you have everything that you need and you just need training.’ I think she then ends up doing it for herself and for the good of the city.

MJ: The next episode is the one that many fans have been waiting for as it sees Laurel getting hit with a dose of Vertigo and exposes the fears she has concerning Sara. Can you talk about the epic Canaries Gone Wild fight scene that’s coming up?

KC: [Laughs]. This episode coming up is definitely one of my favorites and not to be biased but it is a huge episode. It was very heavy for me, it’s so bad ass! I saw a bunch of the scenes when I was doing some ADR [Additional Dialogue Recording] for it and I think the fans are really going to be happy watching the episode. The things that happen, the twists and turns are just jaw-dropping and it was the same as when I picked the script to read. Even when we were shooting it, it was just so thrilling and exciting and I always say with this show and in regards to this show… expect the unexpected. It was great to work with Caity Lotz again. She is wonderful and I am excited. I hope the fans are happy. I think they will be.

MJ: It appears we caught a glimpse of the new Canary cry at the end of the mid-season premiere. Is this Canary signature from the comics something we can expect to see more of in the future?

KC: I would believe so. I have to say for our writers and our producers, we do a pretty good job at tipping our hats to the comic book and trying to make the fans happy and I think that they will definitely explore all of those storylines.

MJ: Amazing! Well Katie, thank you so much. Sorry about the Seahawks. I am a Packers fan so I can’t say I was unhappy…

KC: [Laughs]. Oh, I know! I can’t even talk about it! I am still in shock! I don’t know what happened! [Laughs].

MJ: Katie. Thank you so much! It was great talking to you once again.

KC: Thanks, bye.

MJ: Bye bye.

Arrow airs tonight at 8 p.m. on CTV


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