Willa Holland Interview – ‘Arrow’ Season Four, Hot Costumes, and Thea’s Empowerment

Willa Holland Interview - Arrow Season 4
Willa Holland at Comic Con 2015 (Photo by Richard Chavez)

Season three of The CW’s hit series Arrow was an incredibly emotional, incredibly challenging season for Willa Holland. Holland plays Thea Queen in the popular show and her character came back from the dead, said goodbye to the love of her life, and found out the truth about everyone she was close to. Season four will find Thea having grown into a stronger person who refuses to be pushed aside and who will become an integral part of Team Arrow.

Asked how Thea’s handling all of the developments and all the loses, Holland replied, “Oh man, I think that she has just been through the wringer. I think she’s gotten to a point where her skin is pretty numb. It’s going to take her a while to really feel…I don’t think she’s ever going to feel normal after everything she’s gone through. But I think that’s why her putting on the costume and doing what she’s doing in season four is going to be so very good for her because it’s giving her a purpose. It’s making her feel like she has meaning which is very important because for so long she was just sitting on the sidelines being lied to all the time and not being able to feel like she was strong. People were bringing her down continuously, so now it’s her being strong.”

Thea will be much more capable of standing on her own in season four, but in season three Holland had to handle emotional scenes including a few opposite John Barrowman who plays her father, Malcolm Merlyn. Discussing working with Barrowman on scenes that are supposed to be incredibly serious, Holland couldn’t help but laugh. “They were very intense and it’s very hard to be serious around John, not going to lie,” explained Holland. “It’s very hard to keep my face straight because the man is so incredibly hilarious and he loves to play pranks on everybody all the time – especially on your coverage. So, yeah, it was probably the most entertaining parts of actually working on this season.”

Barrowman kept her laughing, however the scene in which Thea says goodbye to Roy was so authentic that it’s not difficult to imagine it was a much more somber set on the day it was shot. “It was really sad, but Colton [Haynes] and I are so close – and he’s close to everybody on this cast – that it’s not like we’re not going to see him anymore, as well as there’s always a possibility of him coming back. It’s not like he died on the show. He definitely has all the power to come back and help out for a little bit. There’s a bunch of possibilities for it. But, those emotions were real and it seems very palpable. As was, not to go back in time, but Moira’s death scene – that scene was very palpable. All of those tears from Stephen [Amell], me and Susanna [Thompson] were beyond real. There wasn’t a single bit of that emotion that needed to be faked. Maybe exaggerated slightly because of the circumstances, but definitely all beyond real,” said Holland.

Back to season four, fans are wondering if Thea will be using her newfound strength to take over now that Oliver has left Starling City. “I wouldn’t go saying that far, but I definitely have a feeling that at the end of season three we saw her helping out the team. Now that there is no Oliver they definitely need a little more help so I have a feeling she’s going to be kicking some ass, taking some names as well,” replied Holland during roundtable interviews at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con.

Arrow season four will also see new dynamics play out between the characters as Thea takes on more responsibility. “Thea and Laurel [played by Katie Cassidy] have always had a really nice sisterly relationship so she’s definitely getting to have more exploration around that. And I know that we got to see in the last two episodes she kind of was far more introduced to the Diggles as well, hanging out at the house with Lyla and everybody and the kid, and beforehand she never really had much of a relationship with them other than thinking he was the driver helping out her brother. So now that she’s aware of everything that’s going on, I think that there’s going to be far more of a strong connection and bond between those three.”

And speaking of her new position within the group, Holland is excited about getting to play a costumed superhero although she’s not looking forward to donning the costume in hot weather. “I am so stoked about it expect for during the summer. I’m not looking forward to wearing it outside in the summer. It’s going to be very, very hot inside of all that tight, tight leather. But, regardless, I’m not going to complain because I’m getting to be a superhero so it’s kind of amazing. I’ll just put mini-fans around me at all times. I’ll just put them up my arm,” said Holland, laughing.

Holland hopes they can come up with a lighter costume for the warm weather, but what she really wants is a cape. “I’ve been asking about that but I don’t think it’s coming any time soon. But, hopefully, though. Fingers crossed. I keep on pushing it out there to the universe,” revealed Holland. “Maybe I’ll get a cape…just maybe.”

More Arrow Season Four Interviews: Stephen Amell / Katie Cassidy / Emily Bett Rickards / John Barrownman

Watch the full interview with Willa Holland:

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