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Green Arrow and the Canaries Star Katherine McNamara Teases Mia Smoak's New Vigilante Role

With the loss of Oliver Queen still fresh, McNamara teases the direction the Arrowverse story will take with CW's new backdoor pilot.

by | January 21, 2020 | Comments

As the series end to Arrow looms, the characters in the Arrowverse, as well as the program’s huge fanbase, were dealt an emotional blow when Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) sacrificed his life to save all of humanity. Oliver may have perished several times throughout the series, but his death in the recent crossover event, “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” proved to be his final bow. But all is not lost, though. The show’s penultimate episode, titled “Green Arrow and the Canaries,” not only explores this loss through his daughter, Mia Smoak (Katherine McNamara), it’ll also act as the backdoor pilot for CW’s new superhero series of the same name.

Before his death, Oliver passed the vigilante mantle to Mia, naming her the new Green Arrow. With the title, comes a cool new suit, which is all pretty awesome, considering the conflicted relationship Mia had with her father throughout the past two seasons. This is where things get sticky, though. When Oliver Queen saved the world, he created a new Earth-Prime timeline. And in the process, Mia’s memories of her dad and this whole debacle were erased.

Arrow -- "Green Arrow & The Canaries" -- Image Number: AR809b_0627r.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Juliana Harkavy as Dinah Drake/Black Canary, Katherine McNamara as Mia and Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance/Black Siren -- Photo: Colin Bentley/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

(Photo by Colin Bentley/The CW)

These details will lead the Arrow story into new territory once the second-to-last episode of the series airs. A time-jump to the year 2040 will add distance from the Stephen Amell-led series, giving Mia a chance to live in this new situation — which finds her enjoying the wealthy socialite life up in Queen Mansion. But as much as she voiced distaste for her father’s lifestyle, in the past, we have to wonder: is Green Arrow and the Canaries going to be a like-father, like-daughter situation?

How will Oliver Queen’s legacy impact Mia moving forward? Katherine McNamara spoke with Rotten Tomatoes to give further insight into the life of Mia Smoak — we mean, Mia Queen — in the backdoor pilot and new spinoff series.

Arrow -- "Green Arrow & The Canaries" -- Image Number: AR809b_0800r.jpg -- Pictured: Katherine McNamara as Mia -- Photo: Colin Bentley/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

(Photo by Colin Bentley/The CW)

Aaron Pruner for Rotten Tomatoes: Shadowhunters ended with Clary losing her memory. Now, after the events that transpired in “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” Mia got her memory wiped. Is this becoming a trend?

Katherine McNamara: I am not sure. It’s starting to give me a bit of a complex. What’s funny about it is in the crossover, we were fighting shadow demons and going to purgatory. And then in Shadowhunters, we fought demons and went to hell, and then the memory-wiping and all of this. But, you know it’s fun to find the differences between the two and to also get to, sort of, play out the aftermath of the memory wipe that they didn’t get to do in Shadowhunters.

Arrow -- "Spartan" -- Image Number: AR719a_0269b -- Pictured (L-R): Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak and Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

(Photo by Bettina Strauss/The CW)

You’re basically picking up the mantle as a show, but also as a character. What are the challenges in continuing the legacy in a universe that was built on Oliver Queen’s story on Arrow?

McNamara: Well, it’s a huge responsibility. And I’ve known that since I started playing this character. The fact that Olicity is so beloved, and the fact that Stephen [Amell] and Emily [Bett Rickards] have put so much time and energy and care into their characters, and their relationship on the show … I had my work cut out for me. But that’s also been part of the fun; because there’s such a richness to it. Mia really is the amalgamation of these two characters and getting to find those elements and pull those little mannerisms, and play with that, and grow with that, and see where it takes her has been really fun. And that only continues here. But I’m so grateful for everything that Stephen has built and for the father that he’s been to me in passing the mantle, both as an actor and as a character.

Arrow -- "Green Arrow & The Canaries" -- Image Number: AR809a_0094r.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Juliana Harkavy as Dinah Drake/Black Canary, Katherine McNamara as Mia and Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance/Black Siren -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

(Photo by Katie Yu/The CW)

This upcoming episode, as well as the new series, is based on this watershed moment that removes an integral character from the story. How does that impact you as the actor playing Mia? And how does it impact the ending of Arrow and Green Arrow and the Canaries?

McNamara: In this episode, in particular, you see that in both iterations of Mia, both before and after she gets her memories back. In this new 2040, you have a Mia Queen who has grown up with the responsibility of being the daughter of the Green Arrow and knowing all of the amazing things that her father has accomplished, wondering how anything she does in her life will ever live up to that. But then she remembers the past and in putting on the suit again and taking up the mantle, she’s constantly reminded of watching her father breathe his last breath and him giving her the suit and all of these things that they went through, together. She wanted more time, she needed to fight with him more and to learn something more. She doesn’t get that.

Arrow -- "Green Arrow & The Canaries" -- Image Number: AR809a_0263r.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance/Black Siren, Katherine McNamara as Mia, Raigan Harris as Bianca Bertinelli and Juliana Harkavy as Dinah Drake/Black Canary -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

(Photo by Katie Yu/The CW)

Is it safe to say that Mia’s working through these unresolved daddy issues by putting on this costume and pursuing the type of vigilante life she used to despise?

McNamara: Absolutely, and you see that in episode 9 and you see that in the series finale of Arrow, as well. What’s great about it is you get to see this girl who has all of the capabilities and all of the opportunities at her fingertips. You know, she’s still the same smart, cunning girl that we’ve known, but because she’s never really known any loss in her life and isn’t, you know, a fighter by nature, she hasn’t really found her passion. She hasn’t really found that thing that makes her feel alive. Discovering that through taking on the mantle, and through finding herself in finding the Green Arrow is a really interesting journey.

Arrow -- "Fadeout" -- Image Number: AR810B_0438b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Colton Haynes as Roy Harper, Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance/Black Siren, Audrey Marie Anderson as Lyla Michaels, Joe Dinicol as Rory Regan/Ragman, Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak, David Ramsey as John Diggle/Spartan, Echo Kellum as Curtis Holt/Mr. Terrific, Rick Gonzalez as Rene Ramirez/Wild Dog, Willa Holland as Thea Queen and Juliana Harkavy as Dinah Drake/Black Canary -- Photo: Colin Bentley/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

How will Team Arrow evolve in the new series?

McNamara: It’s great to see the most unlikely of characters put into these positions. You see Mia, who’s a tiny blonde girl, being this brooding dark vigilante, in a sense. And you get to see her brother who is also the least likely of vigilantes, who takes on the Overwatch position and be the technical side and the smart side of things. You see all of these characters that you wouldn’t expect to be fulfilling these roles and it gives it a different kind of diversity. You still have the same superhero tropes that we all know and love of the dark vigilante. But you get to see that in the least likely of human beings, and it is really fun to kind of turn the classic tropes on its head and provide a fresh perspective, while still playing into the same superhero legacy that everyone loves.

RELATED: What’s in Store for The CW Heroes Post-“Crisis”

Arrow -- "Promises Kept" -- Image AR606b_0143b.jpg -- Pictured: Manu Bennett as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke -- Photo: Robert Falconer/The CW -- © 2017 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

It’s been teased that Deathstroke will be back in Green Arrow and the Canaries, how does Oliver’s death and the passing of time change the threat Deathstroke poses in Star City?

McNamara: We’ve seen Deathstroke in many iterations and Deathstroke is always a threat to Star City and always a threat to the Green Arrow. And that doesn’t change. You know, some things will always remain constant in this world and but we get a lot of answers in the pilot but we get a lot of opportunities for really cool things in the future.

Arrow episode “Green Arrow and the Canaries” airs Tuesday, January 21 at 8/7C.

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