Colton Haynes enters superhero training on ‘Arrow’

(CBR) Tonight on The CW, the DC Comics superhero drama “Arrow” is going to feel “Tremors.”

Aside from the promised return of the villainous Bronze Tiger (Michael Jai White) and the devastating earthquake machine created by Malcolm Merlyn, the ominously named episode will focus on a contentious team-up between star Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen and the now super powered Roy Harper as played by Colton Haynes. As Harper is known varyingly as Speedy/Red Arrow/Arsenal in the comics, viewers of the show have long waited for Haynes’ character to step closer to the sidekick role. And tonight, the character’s training on that path seemingly begins.

In advance of “Tremors” premiering at 8:00 Eastern and Pacific, CBR News caught up with Haynes about where his character has come in two seasons. Below, the actor shares his thoughts on the slow boil to Roy’s superhero destiny, why his training is really a two-part affair and how this story will not only ramp up the action of Season 2 but also open the door for more and more cameos from across the DC Universe.

CBR News: Colton, last time we talked, Roy was at an all-time low point as a character, and now his arc seems to be on the upswing as he’s training for full-on vigilante duties in this week’s episode. It’s been a long journey from street kid to hero-in-training. Are you happy the producers took their time putting him in this place?

Colton Haynes: I think it definitely called for it. They had to have a desire for Roy to earn his winning day. But for me personally, they won’t tell me anything in advance. [Laughs] It’s probably because I’d give away every spoiler, but I didn’t know when this day would come or how long it would take. But now I think it’s really cool because they’ve set up this story across two episodes where Roy really gets to redeem himself and actually become something.

So it’s been a really long journey, but I’m excited to see where it’s going. This training episode is awesome. I have some great scenes with Oliver, and I also have some pretty heated scenes. It’s not all happiness that Roy gets to become something. He has these annoying training scenes where he feels like he’s too good for it — like slapping water.

Is part of the attraction to Roy for you that he is a loose cannon?

Yeah, that’s pretty much how I am in real life. [Laughs] Kidding! But it is really nice to play someone who’s dark but who also has these qualities where you see his inner struggles unraveling. It was great to do episodes where Roy has a breakdown and can’t handle it anymore. He got his teary-eyed moment. And it’s fun because the writers are so great at making Roy likable while he’s still very angry. I like playing both sides of that. In that sense, Roy’s not a complete jerk.

In the preview for the episode, it seems like you’re also getting to have some fun with the concept of Roy’s hoodies. Is that a piece of clothing you’re attached to now, or have you gone hoodie-free because of the part?

[Laughs] I’ve never owned a hoodie, but now it’s become a thing. My nephews are wearing red hoodies, and people send me pictures on Twitter of their watch parties where they’re wearing red hoodies. It’s become a pivotal part of the character. If I do eventually — some day soon, hopefully — get to don a costume, I hope a red hoodie is part of it. But it’s been fun because now they’ve cracked jokes about it a few times on the show, and they’ll continue to do that — people calling Roy “Abercrombie” and all that. It’s a key part of the character now.

Lately, you’ve also been able to do a lot more superhero-esque stuff with punching walls and seeing them crumble. This week sees the return of Michael Jai White as the Bronze Tiger. Does that mean you’ll get to see some real action mixing it up with supervillains as well?

It’s really fun knowing the way the next few episodes are going to go with the amount of comic book characters they’re bringing in that have never been seen on the show before. There’s a lot little Easter Eggs coming up in the next few episodes where the super comic book fans will be going, “Wait… does that mean they’re going to bring in that character? Does it mean this thing is going to happen?” There’s also a lot of teaming up coming in the next few episodes.

But it was fun working with Stephen’s character and also with Michael because I’m no longer just punching through walls. Though really, I was not too successful at that during filming. Two times I punched what was supposed to be a fake wall, and it didn’t break. My wrist almost did! [Laughs] But I was walking around with bloody knuckles for a few days. So it’s fun to now punch actual people in the face as opposed to just walls. And most of the time that’s not me. It’s my amazing stuntman Curtis [Braconnier] who looks exactly like me and now has his own Tumblr account where people can submit screen grabs of him doing this stuff instead of me. I owe it all to him.

There’s a lot of comic book stuff coming up in this part of the season with Deathstroke and other characters, but it also feels like we’re in the part of the season where long-running plotlines are crossing over and paying off. The master plan is starting to come together. What’s that like for you as a character in the series?

Yeah, it’s very cool to bring new people in because you get some new energy and some fresh material. It’s great to see the way the fans react. We’re all pretty invested in our social media, which is a huge reason that the show has been so successful. But now these new characters seem to be sitting well with the audience, and for me, it’s cool to meet so many people for the first time — even people I didn’t meet in the first season. It makes for a fun dynamic on set. We’re not just plateauing. We’re really, really ramping things up. I think the whole season has been that way, and we’ve been on a constant climb that we don’t want to stop that. In the past few scripts that I’ve been reading, we continue to amp it up to a huge… well, I can’t say that! [Laughs] It just gets bigger. As generic as that sounds, it’s really all I can say.

So with Roy slapping a bowl full of water this week, we know from previous stories that that’s to prepare him to shoot with a bow and arrow. Have you been able to pick up a bow and arrow and fire one off yet?

I can say that I have picked up a bow. It probably wasn’t mine. But when that scene comes out, it’s going to be pretty funny. There’s so much to do with that. There’s a whole world behind archery today that I didn’t know anything about. There’s this thing called “Legolasing” that are bad archery videos people load up to YouTube. It’ll be fun to watch Roy think he knows what he’s doing but get knocked down a few pegs by what he attempts to do.

“Arrow” debuts its “Tremors” episode tonight at 8:00 Eastern and Pacific on The CW.