Arrow‘s Caity Lotz Talks Sara Lance and Media Representation At New Orleans Wizard World Comic Con

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One of the more popular panel at last weekend’s Wizard World Comic Con New Orleans was a very laid back, casual chat with Caity Lotz (Arrow/The Machine/Mad Men), where she spent the better part of an hour answering fan questions about everything from her role on Arrow to women in films to LGBT representation in television and comic books. Did you miss it? That’s ok; I’m here for you. I’m magnanimous like that.

We all know that fan Q&A panels aren’t exactly cohesive, so I’ve combined a lot of the information into topics rather than leaving it all jumbled.

[Quick warning: If you’re not caught up on Season 3 of Arrow this might not be the best article to read, as it’s pretty spoilerific.]

On Arrow and Black Canary

Q: When Arrow first came out, nobody quite knew what to expect, and I would say that there was a lot of reluctance before it came out, because you don’t know what CW is going to deliver, where you aware of that/did you feel some of that?

Lotz: Well, I think if you’re not a comic book fan people don’t know who Green Arrow is, people don’t know who the Black Canary is, and I think that’s actually cool because everyone knows who Batman is, everyone knows Superman—you know those stories, and for [Arrow] to come to TV for the majority of people who aren’t into the comic book scene, it was a whole new world. So, it’s cool that that gets to get onto a more mainstream level; I think that was really fun. But, there’s also, I noticed, a lot of pressure that you’re playing this character and everybody [who] knows this character [is expecting] a lot from it, you know, and I get it. If you grew up reading the Black Canary comics, and it’s going to be put on TV, you don’t want somebody coming on and ruining that vision that’s been in your head for so long, so there’s a lot of, I feel, responsibility to do that justice.

Q: How did you feel when you got the role of The Canary? Did you expect anything like this when you got the role?

Lotz: No. When I originally auditioned for the show, they didn’t say “you’re playing The Canary” or “you’re playing Sara Lance.” I auditioned for a character named Lisa, and they wrote fake sides so you had no idea what you were really doing. So I was like, “Oh, yeah I’ll be playing some character names Lisa.” And I remember they were making a really big deal out of it, like it took weeks of like, “They want you! They don’t know! They’re flying in Stephen in from Vancouver to come meet you…” and I was like, “Why is this such a big deal? Just hire me already.”Then when I finally booked it, I went in to meet with the producers and they’re like, “Here’s the thing, you’re not playing Lisa, you’re playing Laurel’s dead sister, Sara Lance, who comes back from the dead. And you’re also playing The Canary.”

So it was really exciting, and I guess I did not realize the fandom that lives with this show, either. I wasn’t expecting it; it’s so cool to be a part of something that means so much to people, and they get so involved. That’s the best part. People really care about what happens to your character and what’s going on, and they follow it and interact with it, and they’re so supportive. So, I think that was a really good surprise to have so much support.

Q: When did you first note the impact of the show, not just in nerd circles? Was it via social media, or on the street?

Lotz: I think I got the first taste even before I started shooting when it leaked at Comic Con that I was going to be playing The Canary. I was like, “Why is that… This is something that leaks to the media?!” It’s a big deal, and everyone [at the studio] is calling me like, “Who did you tell?! How did they know?” and it’s like, “Oh, this is a big deal, cool!” So that was like the first taste of it, and it wasn’t until the episodes aired and people saw Sara for the first time, that was when I felt it the most. On social media for sure!

Q: Do you actually read the comic books?

Lotz: I didn’t before, but once I got the part they sent me a bunch of the Black Canary and Green Arrow comics, and the Birds of Prey, and I started reading those and it’s a lot of fun!

Q: The personality quirks of your TV character and the comic book character can be different. Are there any personality quirks from the show that you really liked, or is there anything from the comics that you really wished you could have seen in the show?

Lotz: Well I think the sonic scream, of course, would have been fun to have, but it also didn’t make sense on Arrow since it’s so realistic, which it’s kind of nice that they kept it that way. And I think [it didn’t make sense] because Sara Lance wasn’t in the comics, which was kind of cool because I got to take a lot of liberties to do whatever I wanted with [the character], which was fun.

black-canary

Q: When you found out that they were going to kill you off in season 3 [of Arrow], how did you react?

Lotz: Well they told me, the producers, towards the end of season 2, which was nice cause you hear about some shows where the actors don’t know and then, you know, they get the script and they’re sitting there with everyone else, like, “ok, guys, let’s do this next episode!” and then they’re reading and they’re like, “what?!” They were really cool about it, and they called me and were like, “you know, Caity… we really wanna kill ya off.” [laughing] They’re like, “we love your character, but it would just be sooo good.”

And, you know, it was kinda necessary, story wise, for Laurel’s character to really be able to actualize into the Black Canary; [that] would be difficult to do with The Canary around! And it was such an impetus for a lot of things, plot things, that were happening in season 3, which is cool to kind of be a part of that. So, they called me and they told me and you know, I was bummed. It was like, “oh, this sucks,” but, at the same time, thus is life and one door closes and another one opens. […] And it’s like, it’s a comic book, so like somebody’s gotta die! [laughing] You know, Laurel would still just be Laurel if she hadn’t lost her sister!

Q: She’s really gone down a dark path! Did they know this whole time, like did they prepare you, that she was going to arise to the Black Canary status?

Lotz: Yeah, I think everybody knew that. I mean, it’s what’s in the comics. That would be a big one for [the writers] to diverge from. I feel like the fans would be kinda bummed. And they spent all of the first season building that up…

Q: So, we do know that you’re returning, uh, on the show. Do you know when that episode airs?

Lotz: It’s episode 13, I don’t know.

Q: Anything that you can reveal about your return? Is it a flashback, or do you come back from the dead?

Lotz: Well, I can say that the episode is called ‘Canaries’, so that’s all I can really say about that. And then the one thing everyone always asks me is “are you really dead?” and, I mean, I got shot three times in the heart, I fell off the roof, hit the ground, and buried. Like, Sara died. She did die.

Q: Well, you say that, but it’s also the comic book world…

Lotz: Yeah, well I feel like that’s why the writers made it such a like, “she’s dead!” kinda thing going on because they wanted people to know that she’s actually dead.

Q: Like, she’s really dead. She’s dead dead [laughing].

Lotz: She’s dead. I’m surprised they didn’t, like, after I fell off the roof, have a truck run over me [laughing].

Q: Did you have trouble, when you found out that you were going to be killed off, did you have trouble playing it straight at Comic Cons and to fans?

Lotz: It’s actually funny, because the scene where Sara dies and Laurel is picking her up, and there’s all the blood in her hair? That scene, we finished shooting it at like 6 in the morning in Vancouver and then Katie [Cassidy], Emily [Bett Rickards] and I had to go get on a plane, literally, we didn’t sleep. We went straight from set to the airport and flew to do Comic Con San Diego, the big one, and I literally still had blood in my hair. [laughing] I couldn’t shower, so I still had blood in my hair from my death scene and then going to Comic Con and pretending, like, “Yay, season 3, everyone!” So that was funny.

That was a funny one to me, because everyone keeps asking these questions, and I thought it was really clever of them to add me to the Comic Con because that really added to the surprise of, “Oh, Sara’s dead,” because no one was expecting that. But it was hard to be on stage and everyone’s all like, “How excited [are you] about season 3?” and I’m like, “So excited…” [laughing] “You’re gonna love it!”

>>> Next Page: “We have to keep fighting to make it not a boy’s club.”


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