This interview contains Arrow season one spoilers.
He may have been a late addition to Arrow’s first season, but Colton Hayne’s Roy Harper has quickly become one of the main reasons to come back for season two this October. Still an enigma in a show becoming more superhero-heavy as it evolves, we spoke to the actor about clearing up the Speedy/Red Arrow issue (spoiler: he couldn’t), his relationship with Thea, whether Roy’s going to join Team Arrow, and the real reason he left Teen Wolf ahead of its third season.
The Arrow season one finale was obviously very dramatic, how has the fan reaction been since it aired?
To be honest, I haven’t brought myself to watch the finale yet, because I was very good friends with Colin [Donnell] who plays Tommy and it was just devastating. He’s such a great actor and such a fan-favourite. I don’t know if I ever will watch the finale, but the fan reaction’s been really great and they’ve teased it enough to where it’s kept people guessing. But now, even just with the promo shoot that we’ve done – we did a promo shoot that was kind of racy – it’s going to excite the fans even more.
Having done Teen Wolf and now Arrow, you must have a fairly big following, how have you dealt with the fandom side of things?
I grew up in a small town in Kansas, so I love meeting the fans. Those are the people who spend time out of their day to watch the things that I’ve done, and I’ve gotten to do some great supernatural stuff – Teen Wolf and The Gates before that – so it’s nice when I get to go to Comic-Con every year.
It’s one of the most fun trips of the year because you have an interaction with the fans, and now with Twitter and Instagram, you can always have contact. They’re really special and it’s nice because, they don’t see people in movies or on TV as real people, and I’m as white-bread Kansas real as you can get. That’s why it’s nice just to thank them for giving our show success.
How much time will have passed between the season one finale and when we come back?
I can say it’s either four or five months and – they’re good with tying it in – it’s said that Oliver has left and has been absent for this time. So you don’t know if we’re going to pick up in chaos or who’s going to stand up and be the person who has to fill his shoes – if there is someone who does that – or where relationships have gone in the past four months.
Where will we see Roy specifically?
Roy will be in a position where Roy thinks that he is a badass. He’s very cocky because he’s always wanted to be just like Oliver, so I think you’re going to see him thinking he’s really cool and strong, even though he’s nowhere near where he needs to be to take on the role of sidekick. That will inevitably happen, but I think it’s going to be more about his relationship with Thea from the get-go, to see how that’s going to evolve. It’s definitely going to rise and you’re going to see some devastating things happen which will make you second guess Roy’s intentions.
How will the destruction of The Glades in the finale affect his character?
Roy is getting into a lot of trouble and, while I think his intentions are to help people, it’s like he’s running around with no parental supervision and things can happen. The Glades is obviously being rebuilt and I don’t know if Roy would ever become accustomed to living the Queen lifestyle the way that Thea does. They actually haven’t told me yet so I could show up on set and find myself living in the Queen mansion – that would make for some really good television. So hopefully – that’s what I want – but I don’t know if they’d be moving in with each other too soon since they’re still teenagers.
How do you see Roy’s transition from a super-fan of The Hood to a hero in his own right?
I think he knows in the end that he’s capable of doing exactly what The Hood can do but, though when they write it they do make you think that Roy’s a big fan, it’s more of a fascination and “why can’t I do that?” He doesn’t think that Oliver’s been through so many hardships because, “whatever, you were on an island. Boo hoo, you’re a wimp – you were on an island for five years but I’ve dealt with this my entire life.” But I think he’s going to start to get Oliver and they’re going to have a lot of time to bond and share their stories together.
How long will we have to wait before Roy unmasks Oliver as The Hood?
I don’t even know that, actually. I think that’s going to be a really pivotal moment and I hope it happens in the second season because, if Roy finds out that Oliver is The Hood before Thea does, there’s going to be some sort of triangle of secrets there. That’s going to be something they’re going to play to in the second season – being secretive, finding out who you can really trust and who has ulterior motives.
Roy is a drug addict in the comics and there was a very deliberate moment in the series where he was frightened of needles – in what other ways does Roy differ from the comic book version(s) of the character?
I guess there are a few different interpretations with Speedy and Red Arrow etc., but when I first started I had this conversation with Detective Lance about how my mom was a drug addict, so maybe that’s why I steer away from it. I think that Roy’s going to have to go to some dark places to get over all of the loss he’s had and the devastation of where he grew up. So you never know, Roy could end up as a drug addict with one arm like Arsenal. They’re going to take some time with my character, but I do think he’s going to be a very pivotal part of the relationship between Oliver and Thea. They have that bond but so many things have happened over these four months that will really rock the Queen family.
Will Roy and Thea be sticking together throughout season two?
That’s the goal of season two, to really explore their relationship, and relationships can be rocky. There are also some new characters coming in from very popular comic books that could possibly throw some kinks in and maybe cause some jealously between characters.
Can you tell us anything more about those characters?
I don’t know specifically – I know one, and every single person who reads comics and is a fan of comics is going to be completely shocked that this particular character is coming. When I found out I didn’t know that it was possible, so it’s going to be very, very shocking and exciting. I wish I could say.
People are debating a lot over the Speedy/Red Arrow issue – can you shed any light?
In one version of the comic, Speedy is a girl and, in another, it’s Roy Harper. I can tell you that they’re forming a team, obviously, to ward off bad guys but, with Roy and Thea, one of them is going to be completely different and not for the good. I can say that, in a way, one of the characters could go bad and the other… That’s where it’s interesting because you never know if they’re destined to be together or if they are destined to self-destruct.
You mentioned new characters coming in, could you imagine the show with a band of superheroes in the spandex etc. or do you think it should stay as realistic as it has been?
They’ve added a lot of great characters, thank god, because I got to come and be on the show, but I like that they’ve really taken the time to explore the characters that they have now. But, with evolving a television show you have to add people in. The fan reaction to the show has been so great because it’s like a weekly movie – every week it gets going and you get to watch this hour-long movie which looks very cinematic thanks to Greg [Berlanti], Marc [Guggenheim] and Andrew [Kreisberg]. I do see that happening, almost like a band of superheroes, but I’m not quite sure when. I know that it’s probably coming because John Barrowman’s character right now is evil and not going to stop until he gets what he wants. There are going to be a lot of bad things coming.
Was he not killed in the finale?
Well it shows that scene where he’s gone, right? So he could have… you know… where’d he go? You obviously know that Tommy’s dead so who knows where Mr. Merlyn could have gone off to or, if he comes back, who he’s bringing with him?
In an ideal world, which DC characters would you love to see on the show?
It’d be interesting to see, though we couldn’t do a mix like Marvel, there are a few that I like. The Flash would be cool, or who do they say Laurel Lance is? Everyone’s really hinting at Black Canary. Even just myself, I wanna know who’s going to be Speedy and who’s going to be the other, if we’re going to have or it’s going to be a team? I don’t know, we’ll see.
We all want to see Oliver and Roy team up, how do you think he’ll fit into the established trio of Team Arrow?
I think he’ll fit in really well because Roy’s got that same dry sense of humour as Felicity but he’s really gone through this his entire life – it’s normal to him. The norm to him is devastation, and I don’t think a lot of them really understand that part, so he’d be a really great addition to that. He’s got street smarts so adding that to the smarts of Felicity and the build of Diggle, I think they could be pretty unstoppable.
We’re big fans of Teen Wolf so we have to talk about that too…
…Yes! Thank you.
Was it a hard decision to leave after season two?
It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my life. Arrow came after the decision was made that I wasn’t going to return and I wanted to be a part of it. I’d been in every episode from the beginning and they wanted to make me not in every single episode so, those kids are my family, you know? I grew up with those kids and they’re my best friends so, ultimately, I had to make a decision to move on. I still deal with that. I actually went to a screening of the second episode at Jeff Davis’ house because they’re still all of my best friends.
I do miss working with them because I think the chemistry was just so incredible. But I had to ultimately make a business decision to move on to a show with a big following and things like that, and I hope it was the right one. It feels like it is and it’s nice to know that I have the support of the Teen Wolf fans in everything. And, you know, Jackson went to London, he’s not dead. I’m in London now so you never know what I could be doing.
Would you consider going back for a guest spot or a cameo?
Errr… how do I say this? I would, and I can’t say that the option hasn’t been placed in my hands. It’s definitely a possibility.
Colton Haynes, thank you very much!
Arrow season 2 will air on Sky 1 HD in the UK on 21st October at 8pm.
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