legends of tomorrow green arrow oliver
Courtesy of The CW

Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) may be known as the Green Arrow in our time, but when “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” pays a visit to the Emerald Archer’s city in the future, there’s a new man in town.

As revealed in the closing moments of last week’s “Legends,” when our team accidentally crashes in Star City, 2046, Oliver is MIA, and a new Green Arrow has taken his place — Connor Hawke (Joseph David-Jones). DC Comics fans know Connor as the illegitimate child of Oliver and Sandra “Moonday” Hawke, but the “Legends” iteration of the character is unrelated to the “Arrow” hero (perhaps because Oliver already has plenty of paternal drama to deal with on “Arrow” without adding another estranged son to the mix).

In this desolate potential future, the Legends discover that they never stop Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) and never return home. Star City is in ruins and overrun by criminals, which thrills Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell), while Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) is despondent over the destruction of her home and stunned when she learns what happened to her old friend, Oliver, who is a little worse for wear after thirty years — having grown his trademark comic book facial hair and lost an arm somewhere along the way (a homage to the character’s grizzled appearance in Frank Miller’s seminal comic book “The Dark Knight Returns”).

Variety spoke to Amell about tackling such a “defeated” future version of Oliver, how his flash-forward goatee compares to the flashback wig, and whether working on “Legends of Tomorrow” is different from working on “Arrow” and “The Flash.”

We got our first glimpse of Connor Hawke at the end of last week’s “Legends” — what’s his dynamic with Oliver like, since we know that this iteration of Connor isn’t Oliver’s son?

I don’t know how much I can reveal about Oliver’s dynamic with Connor, other than to say Connor has taken up the mantle of Green Arrow and Oliver has a long history of not playing well with others. [Laughs.] I think that there is a begrudging respect between Oliver and Connor, because Oliver certainly understands how difficult going out and being – or attempting to be – the Green Arrow is. All that being said, I think Oliver’s issue has to do with how Connor identifies himself, and not necessarily how he handles himself on the field.

This bleak future runs counter to everything Oliver has been fighting for in “Arrow” – how broken is he by the idea that he truly has failed his city?

It’s a very defeated Oliver when we catch up with him in the future, and a very reclusive Oliver. I think that he is a guy that’s just come to accept that this is the way that Star City is going to be, in large part because… when this cataclysmic event happens, the absence of the Legends and not having them by their side really played a huge part in the wrong team winning. But I think what we establish in “Legends” is that this is a potential future. This is a potential timeline that hopefully can be fixed, because it is rather bleak.

How does it feel for him to see Sara again after all this time, given that long absence?

It’s bittersweet. Obviously good to see them [all], and I know there’s a photo of Oliver with all of the “Legends” and within those ranks there’s Ray and there’s Kendra, both of whom Oliver’s worked with, so it’s good to see them, but it’s almost like welcoming someone back to your filthy house — you’re a little bit ashamed.

How else has Oliver changed over the 30 years between “Arrow” and this potential future in “Legends,” apart from losing an arm and embracing facial hair?

It’s tough to say, because we catch such a very brief glimpse of him and we really focus on one linear storyline, which is, “I was the Green Arrow. I gave up being the Green Arrow. Why did I give it up and why is Connor Hawke now doing it?” All of the peripheral things — be it the fate of Laurel, Diggle, Thea, Captain Lance, Felicity — all of those things are left a little bit up to the imagination, actually, so maybe we will be able to touch on them in a future episode, if we ever go back to Star City 2046.

You had a few seasons of dealing with the flashback wig on “Arrow” – how does the flash-forward goatee on “Legends” compare?

Oh, boy. Well, first of all, a lot of credit to Danielle [Fowler], the head of our makeup department, because one of the things that we don’t gather from the photos is that they didn’t simply slap a goatee on me. There were prosthetics to go all around my eyes, my forehead, my cheeks — so it was that process that actually took a very long time because they have to be put on; they have to be colored in; they have to fit the contours of your face. So that process took a very long time. And then the goatee… in normal circumstances it would be a little bit easier, but because of continuity with “Arrow,” I couldn’t shave my face to have the fake goatee applied, so after about four hours, it became incredibly itchy. But you know, we persevered.

“Arrow” and “The Flash” are very distinctive shows, tonally. Now that you’ve had a chance to dip into “Legends” after a few episodes, how does it compare?

Ironically, when I go and do “The Flash,” I get a real sense for their tone. I mean, you’re always going to notice a difference, be it with the crew and the tenor on the set, but just in terms of what the viewers see, there wasn’t a ton about “Legends” that was different from “Arrow.” For starters, they were just getting going. It was their sixth episode, and additionally, the scenes that we shot were all “Arrow” sets or sets that I had traditionally used. And of course, I’m also fighting someone in Deathstroke armor, so I felt more or less at home. The stunt coordinator on “Legends” is Jeff Robinson and he’s actually the original, original Deathstroke stunt double from Season 1 on the island. So yeah, I felt very much at home on “Legends.”

Speaking of Deathstroke, I know Manu Bennett has been busy in New Zealand filming “The Shannara Chronicles,” so is this going to be a case of TV trickery where he just never takes his mask off, or should we assume someone other than Slade Wilson is now going by that name?

We should assume it’s a Wilson.

“DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.

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