‘Arrow’ Season 6: Willa Holland Interview on Thea’s Strength and Independence

Arrow Willa Holland and Echo Kellum
‘Arrow’ stars Willa Holland and Echo Kellum at the Warner Bros. booth at Comic-Con 2017 (Photo © 2017 WBEI)

Willa Holland kicked off our roundtable interview at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con by admitting there wasn’t much she could actually disclose about season six of The CW’s Arrow. Season five’s cliffhanger left open the possibility of multiple character deaths (or severe injuries), and Holland of course steered clear of anything that could possibly be considered a spoiler. “It’s a difficult situation, I’m quite sure. I understand. I’ve been on the fans’ side too and I know what it’s like being on the edge and not knowing what’s going on. And, you know, I have zero else that I can say on that subject,” teased Holland when asked about having to keep everything about the new season secret.

Arrow season six is set to premiere on October 12, 2017.

Can we assume because you’re here Thea is alive?

Willa Holland: “See, don’t assume that. That’s the thing though. We’re pulling a Walking Dead right now where they did the same one season where everyone was kind of up in the air about who was going to die – and it was clear that it was going to be somebody. But, you can’t let anybody have any indication on who that is so everyone has to be here. Don’t read into this, by any means. This is not the answer.”

Thea’s made some peace about her family’s past and her parents, so how will that affect her if she does move forward?

Willa Holland: “You know, I really hope that she just continues taking herself into more strong, independent areas of her life rather than succumbing to kind of the amount of turmoil that she’s been under. She’s done a very good job, I think, of inevitably taking all the struggle and the torment and everything that she’s kind of been through and channeling that into something positive. Or, at least trying to. I really hope that she continuously does that and doesn’t succumb to any kind of negative things.

My favorite part about her is that she always has evolved and taken things very strongly and independently as a woman, rather than dependently. She’s never really become dependent on any certain person or thing, really. For a second it was Roy but even there she found her own independence. So, I think it’s really important the fact that she’s at least one of the strong, independent female characters in the show. My biggest hope for her is that she always stays that way.”

What can you say about where are feelings are regarding Malcolm at this point?

Willa Holland: “You know, it’s definitely a funny thing because personally on my personal side I’m obsessed with John Barrowman, so it makes me really biased even when it comes to thinking about the Malcolm Merlyn/Thea relationship. It’s hard for me to separate the amazingness of John Barrowman from the evil things that have been written on the page about Malcolm Merlyn. So, I’ve always had really high hopes about their relationship.

I think that Thea definitely has realized over the years how…it might annoy her a little bit how much she’s realized how he can affect her, especially after realizing after a very short period of time that he was her father. She’s only known about two or three years. She grew up her whole life thinking one thing, and then kind of found out a different situation. It’s hard enough for her to take that information and then to also know that she went from one seemingly kind of not the best father in the world – she knew that her dad had done some pretty shady things already. She loved her father but she already had some kind of indication that things weren’t as peachy keen as mother and father put it out there to be. But then also to find out that this guy was just a whole other bag of evil. She definitely didn’t realize how much it was going to affect her, their relationship.”

Is there anyone you hope Thea has more scenes with or even in the past wished you’d shared more scenes with over the seasons?

Willa Holland: “I’ve always hoped that she’d be a lot nicer to Rick Gonzalez’ character. That’s something that I really want to happen. And, let’s see, more Felicity time, more hanging out with Echo (Kellum) and David (Ramsey). I mean, I miss everybody in the bunker, totally. It’s not like I don’t want to be down there; it’s just circumstance. Things happen and you know it makes sense here and there, blah, blah, blah, so… Who knows? I got nothing for you when it comes to season six. (Laughing) I can’t allude to any future things, just hopes and dreams.”

Thea has a taste of the political life after helping Oliver. Is that something she would do well at if she chose to pursue politics?

Willa Holland: “I mean, I think she did an okay job until all the blackmailing, backstabbing, and the being kind of real evil and not cool about things. Again, like I said, I really enjoy seeing her in strong, independent sections of her life. Like in the beginning of that role that she was taking on, she was really taking charge of everything and running everything for Oliver. She was getting it done pretty well, I think, up until she started realizing the ins and the outs of real government. It’s not like that’s not the way it actually goes! So, who could blame her, really? It’s just that she was kind of maybe leaning further right than I would like Thea to actually be in reality. (Laughing) Let’s hope that she goes to some liberal camps or something. Who knows?! Maybe she listens to Bernie Sanders talk.”

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