'Arrow' 100: EP Marc Guggenheim On The Diggle Twist & Those Callbacks To Earlier Episodes

On Wednesday night’s “Arrow,” several members of the Arrowverse got a look at what could have been if Oliver had never set foot on the Queen’s Gambit.

(Quick note – this is your official we’re-talking-plot-details-here spoiler warning!)

After they were abducted by alien invaders at the end of Tuesday’s “The Flash,” Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), Thea Queen (Willa Holland), John Diggle (David Ramsey) Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) and Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) ended up on a spaceship and in stasis, where the Dominators helped them envision a different reality.

One of the most fun twists was seeing Diggle’s alternate reality life as Star City’s The Hood.

Executive Producer Marc Guggenheim told Access Hollywood that fellow EP Greg Berlanti came up with the twist for Dig.

“I think the reason we all sort of gravitated towards it was for a couple of reasons. First of all, we have a great affection in the writers’ room for Diggle wearing the hood. So we just love any opportunity to do that, No. 1. No. 2 – we were dealing with a sort of alternate reality where the premise was, what if Oliver never got on the Queen’s Gambit? And if Oliver hadn’t gotten on the Queen’s Gambit, then he never would have been marooned on the island and he never would have been in a situation where he needed to have a bodyguard. Basically he gets a bodyguard once he comes back after five years marooned, at least that’s what’s established in the pilot. So there was no real reason to make him a driver, [and] the idea [was] that Star City still needs a vigilante and why wouldn’t that vigilante be Diggle, who’s clearly got a lot of skill and tactics from his experience in the military. Everything kind of lined up and made a certain amount of sense — the appropriate amount of sense.”

Many of the alien-napped members of Team Arrow had their hearts filled in the fantasy visions after seeing their late loved ones again – Richard and Moira Queen (Jamey Sheridan and Susanna Thompson), Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), and later, holograms of Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) and Roy Harper (Colton Haynes).

While Felicity Smoak was back on Earth in the real Arrow cave, working with Curtis, Cisco, Rene and Rory on trying to hack alien tech to free their friends, a version of her was featured in the alien dream. She was part of Diggle’s Arrow team (with a very Season 1-esque ‘do), and Ray Palmer’s fiancée.

In the bar, before the wedding reception, keen eyes will have spotted Felicity in a familiar royal blue dress. Guggenheim told Access they specifically put that dress in the script, “to recall her date with Ray Palmer in Episode 215.” (Fun fact: one of the barmen is played by Caity Lotz’s real-life dad!)

There was a sweet nod to actor Colin’s role on NBC’s “Chicago Med” in a sequence between Thea and Malcolm Merlyn (James Barrowman), where the proud father talked about his son being a doctor in Chicago. (Colin stars as Dr. Connor Rhodes on the Dick Wolf series, which airs Thursdays on NBC.)

And, Guggenheim said Colin got a sneak peek of the scene.

“Yeah, I sent him a clip of it, and he wrote me back immediately. He was tickled,” the producer said.

In the original “Arrow” pilot, Oliver gave his sister a Hōzen he’d brought back from the island. In Wednesday’s 100th episode, Thea gave it to Ollie as a wedding gift. Asked about the selection process for adding in callbacks like that, Guggenheim said it was an easy one.

“I can’t speak for Wendy [Mericle], but when I was writing my portions of the script, I didn’t go into it with a laundry list of items I wanted to check off. For better or for worse, part of the advantage of having been so intimately involved with the show since the beginning is all these little nods are sort of little things that are just already in my memory. Even like turns of phrase, like Robert saying, ‘That’s not going to finish well.’ Oh, I know he says that so I can work that in. The Hōzen, the beginning [of the 100th episode] where Oliver’s running and we reveal the mansion – none of these things were sort of in the original break, it was just things I sort of found in the writing. … The  only challenge was to avoid the temptation to do it every single scene.”

Guggenheim said what ended up in the episode came down to balance.

“It’s something you feel in the writing and in some cases, it starts with just thinking like, ‘Well, how does the scene start?’ I know what the scene’s about from the break, but how does the scene start, what’s the downbeat on the scene,” he said. “For example, like Thea giving Oliver a gift in advance of his wedding, that seemed like just an appropriate downbeat, and from there the idea comes. ‘Well, she could give him a Hōzen,’ and then you get a little connection. My process is very instinctual.”

Fight Coordinator James Bamford, who has directed several episodes of “Arrow,” and appeared in the pilot, directed the “Arrow” 100th.

“We had Bam direct it because he was quite simply the best man for the job. He was the guy,” Guggenheim said. “I love his visual style, I love the performances he gets out of the actors. He finds a way to convey scope and production value in a way that pushes the envelope of the show. I’m an enormous fan of his work and he’s never let us down.”

The final installment in The CW’s DC Crossover week —  “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” — airs Thursday at 8/7c.

Jolie Lash