Ever since actress Caity Lotz was announced as Arrow's version of DC Comics character Black Canary back in July, fans have been wondering what that means for the future of Katie Cassidy's character Laurel Lance.
In Season One, Dinah "Laurel" Lance was introduced as a legal aid attorney for the City Necessary Resources Initiative, or CNRI (Canary, get it?), and the ex-girlfriend of Oliver Queen. Five years earlier, Oliver cheated on Laurel with her sister Sara, then took Sara along with him and his dad Robert aboard the Queen's Gambit yacht, only to have the ship go down, killing Sara and marooning Oliver on the island of Lian Yu.
Even though Laurel was an attorney, it was presumed she would eventually evolve as a character into her Black Canary persona, especially since she was shown with some self-defense kills taught to her by her father Quentin. However, the on-screen chemistry between Oliver and Laurel has been somewhat lacking, and Lotz' casting as Black Canary created some understandable concerns about Laurel's future on the show.
Shortly after the casting, executive producer Andrew Kreisberg spoke with TV Guide and revealed that Black Canary would not be her comic book identity of Dinah Drake. "The character that Caity is portraying is the beginning of the Black Canary story and we're really excited for the fans to go on the journey with us," said Kreisberg. "So much of our show is about defying expectations, meeting expectations and exceeding expectations, and we really want our fans to experience the show by watching it and enjoying it and enjoying all the twists and turns and surprises the way we intend."
Kreisberg compared Black Canary's story to other characters the show has already introduced in unexpected ways.. "Everything about our show is about origins and evolution," he said. "When we met Deathstroke, everyone automatically assumed it was Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) in the mask, but then we revealed we met Slade Wilson later. With Tommy (Colin Donnell), we thought that that was Merlyn, but Tommy was really the beginning of the Merlyn story because we saw how it evolved to John Barrowman and beyond. Oliver himself, when we first meet him, he's not the Green Arrow yet. The series itself is an evolution of this character."
Concerning Laurel's future, Kreisberg remarked, "Everyone knows that Laurel Lance is the Black Canary. That's the way it is in the comic books, but how we get from A to B is the story of our show. In the same way that Oliver, when we meet him, is the vigilante, but this season he's going to becoming the Arrow, that's the step of his journey to eventually becoming the Green Arrow. Laurel Lance right now is a lawyer with a lot of heart and a lot of humanity and courage. But it takes more than that to put on the mask and go out and fight crime. Our series is the evolution of that. People will see how Caity Lotz fits into Laurel's journey along the way. For us, it's very emotional and surprising and exciting. I would say to everybody, we haven't let you down so far. Keep going on this ride with us."
A little while later, the Huffington Post apparently confirmed that Black Canary's true identity is actually (SPOILER WARNING) Laurel's sister Sara, somehow still alive after going down with the Queen's Gambit. So if Black Canary is indeed Sara Lance, presumably there will be an interesting love triangle involving her, Oliver and Laurel. In the comics, Green Arrow and Black Canary are ultimately destined to be together, but now the question becomes, which sister ends up as Black Canary whenever that happens?
In another recent interview with TV Guide, executive prodcer Marc Guggenheim was asked how Black Canary's introduction pushes Laurel in a new direction. "You'll get your first glimpse of Black Canary in the premiere," said Guggenheim. "Laurel needed a bit of a makeover. Last year, as a result of her job at CNRI and her relationship with Tommy, it sometimes felt like she was in a different show. One of our main goals this year was to really bring her into the fold in a way that made her an integral part of the stories we were telling. Black Canary's appearance is going to coincide with Laurel really struggling with a great number of things. We're throwing a lot of things at Laurel this year."
So if Laurel is now working as an assistant district attorney, her character is going to have to go through a lot to get to the point where she's dressing up in a superhero costume and fighting crime. Does Sara die for realsies this time, inspiring Laurel to take up her sister's legacy as Black Canary? Or does Laurel die, clearing the way for (Green) Arrow and Black Canary to become a couple? Depending on Lotz' chemistry with star Stephen Amell, fans may end up wanting the latter.