Echo Kellum: Season 5 “gets back to what made Arrow awesome”

Mr Terrific himself teases what to expect from Arrow Season 5

ARROW - Series 4, Episode 17 "Beacon of Hope"

Season 4 of Arrow might not have hit all the high notes we’ve come to expect, but it did at least provide us with a breakout star in the form of Echo Kellum’s Curtis Holt.

Initially an ally of Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) at PalmerTech, Holt quickly became indispensable to both the show and Team Arrow thanks to his inherent likeability and natural ability to be – rather aptly – terrific, with his standout moments including creating a device that allowed Felicity to walk again and assisting her in the small matter of preventing a nuclear holocaust. Now, he’s returning as a series regular, and he couldn’t be happier.

We spoke to Kellum about suiting up as Mr Terrific, his rapport with the fans and what to expect from Season 5…

 

Season 5 of Arrow sees Curtis as a full-time member of Team Arrow. Did you know this kind of direction was planned for the character when you started, or has it kind of evolved over time?
I knew there was potential. When I auditioned it was for ‘recurring possible series regular’, so I knew the character would be pretty prevalent in Season 4. Then he got into a good groove, the fans responded really well, and the producers and the studio said they wanted to see more Curtis, and I definitely wanted to play him more and be part of something on the show.

 

When Season 5 stars, where is he at?
When it starts off, he’s dealing with the ramifications of Felicity being fired and ousted from PalmerTech, and also he’s still dealing with the juxtaposition of work life and home life with his husband Paul, but Season 5, which takes place five months after Season 4, he’s just assisting in the Arrow Cave, helping out with things here and there, but not fully grounded and committed to being a member of Team Arrow. Then some things happen that really change his perspective…

 

Curtis seems unique in that he’s currently the only member of Team Arrow with a relatively stable family life – do you think this gives him a different outlook compared to other members of the team?
Yeah I do, I really do believe that a lot of the times he’ll be letting the new recruits in on how things work there, having the perspective of having worked there, but still being new himself, and kind of bridges both worlds.

ARROW - Series 4, Episode 23 "Schism"
Curtis (Echo Kellum) quickly developed a great rapport with Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards).

 

In addition, you have Rick Gonzalez joining the team as Wild Dog, and Madison McLaughlin in the Artemis guise. How have all the new people been to work with?
They’re awesome man, they really bring so much energy and swag to the show, especially Rick, I’m like, “Dude, you’re Mr Swagger!” He’s so chilled, and I love how he plays Wild Dog. He really creates a lot of great drama and action, and it really plays into the legacy of what Arrow is, and I think they really help forward that aspect of what it is. But they’re so wonderful to work with, they’re a blast not only what they bring personally, but also what they to bring to their characters personally.

 

In the comics, Curtis is the superhero Mr Terrific – how soon are we likely to see Curtis go down the costumed route?
The comic-book nerd in me is on Cloud 9 just even thinking that I could play a superhero. I am just so excited to see Curtis in that realm and see what he brings to superherodom, being the quirky, merry character, and then seeing what drives him, what aspects and strengths he has versus his weaknesses out in the field. I’m just so, so excited to explore the transition and all of the peaks and lows that goes through.

 

Tonally, how would you say that Season 5 differs from Season 4?
I think it’ll be a little bit grittier. They’re really getting back to the villain-of-the-week aspect of Season 1, which is something I really loved, but like I said, everything you see might not be as it seems, so I really think it’s much grittier, the stunts are awesome, the fight choreography is off the hook – I just think that we’re hitting our stride. It’s shaping up to be a phenomenal season, and it really gets back to what made Arrow so awesome in the first place.

ARROW - Series 4, Episode 22 "Lost in the Flood"
Kellum is excited to suit up as Mr Terrific in Season 5.

 

At some point Arrow will cross over with The Flash, Legends Of Tomorrow and Supergirl. Which characters or cast members are you most looking forward to acting across?
Cisco on The Flash! I think [his and Curtis’s] interaction would be great, and a personal one would be Melissa as Supergirl, because I think she’s awesome and rocks, and I would love to see her and Curtis meet.

 

How has the experience of being on Arrow differed to other shows you’ve worked on?
It’s really blown out my expectations of what I thought it was going to be. If I’m being really honest my initial thoughts on coming onto this show were, “Oh man, all these people, I’m going to be the new guy…” but it was completely the opposite: it was so open and welcoming.

I think that was a big part of why I wanted to come back as a series regular, knowing that I’d get to work with such a great cast and such a great crew, producers and whatnot, so it blew my expectations out of the water, and not to mention how amazing and passionate our fans are, that was definitely something I was unprepared for. It’s such a blessing to have fans that really care.

 

Playing an existing character, everyone has different expectations. Was this something you paid much mind to?
That’s not something I thought of going into it, but I quickly realised that people have these expectations, especially when you’re playing a character that is based of another type of material. I really think that we’ve played him as true to the comic-book iteration as can be, but taking our own liberties to create a new spin on him in the Arrow-verse.

It really combines what makes him awesome in the comics, and infuses in him things that really help the story flow on a television show. The fans are really passionate – they’ll let you know if things aren’t working or they’re digging something. The majority point of view seems to be that they really like the path that Curtis is going on to becoming Mr Terrific!

 

Just to round things off, can you give us a bit of a hint what to expect from Curtis in Season 5?
Expect there to be more growth – don’t expect him to be kicking ass; he’s going to have to build to get to a really awesome place where he feels comfortable as a superhero.

 

Arrow: Season 5 will air on Sky1 in the UK on 26 November 2016. You can download The 25 Greatest DC Comics Ever digital edition from GreatDigitalMags.com now. For all the latest TV news, pick up the new issue of SciFiNow.