It’s time to get to know the newly discovered Queen sister!
Arrow‘s aptly titled winter premiere “My Name is Emiko Queen” (Jan. 21 at 8 p.m.) won’t waste any time digging into the fall finale’s big revelation: The new Green Arrow is Emiko Queen (Sea Shimooka), Robert Queen’s daughter and thus Oliver Queen’s (Stephen Amell) half-sister. As the title suggests, the midseason return will be partially told from Emiko’s POV and start to answer many burning questions, including the other half of her parentage.
“We’re gonna really be seeing a lot from her perspective. We have a really cool, fun opening where we learn about her mission [and] why she’s taken up the Green Arrow suit,” showrunner/executive producer Beth Schwartz tells EW. “We’ll explain in this episode who her parents are.”
As EW previously explained, Emiko is actually a fairly new addition to the Green Arrow comic mythos. Introduced during Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s excellent run on Green Arrow during the New 52 era, she is barely a teenager and yet she’s a murderous, disciplined, and highly trained fighter. More importantly, she’s also Robert and Shado’s daughter in the comics. Given that Arrow already introduced and killed off Shado (Celina Jade), who had a romantic relationship with Oliver while he was stranded on Lian-Yu in the first two seasons, it wouldn’t be surprising if the show altered her parentage. Arrow has already started to put its own spin on the character by aging her up.
Emiko’s debut on the show arrives almost a year after Willa Holland, who played Oliver’s sister Thea, left the show; however, Emiko isn’t here to just fill that sisterly void. The writers decided to introduce Emiko because they were fans of the character in the comics and also love them some Queen family drama. What would create more drama than Oliver discovering he has another sister?
“The intention wasn’t to replace Thea, or once one sister left to introduce a new sister. We were just excited about this character from the comic books, and we just felt like it was time to bring her into the fold,” says Schwartz. ” [The fact that] Queen secrets are still happening from the grave, I thought, was really interesting, and that there was a whole hidden life that Oliver that didn’t know about.”
So what can we expect from her personality-wise? “She is very similar to Oliver, which is fun and different, obviously, from Thea as well, who had her own sort of thing going. But we kind of love making those parallels of her to Oliver,” says Schwartz.
Furthermore, the audience can expect Emiko’s partnership with Rene (Rick Gonzalez) to continue, too. “He’s kind of been her number one supporter even from the beginning, even when he didn’t know who she was. He just always believed in the mission and he’s the one that’s been pushing from the beginning that vigilantes are important. They find out they have a lot in common, and so he’s fully onboard to support her,” she says.
In addition to focusing on Emiko Queen, the midseason premiere will also pick up with Diggle (David Ramsey) and Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) turning the newly captured Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) for help with their current A.R.G.U.S. case. This ultimately leads to the creation of a new Suicide Squad called the Ghost Initiative, which includes China White (Kelly Hu), Slade’s son Kane Wolfman (Liam Hall) and Carrie Cutter (Amy Gumenick) and will be introduced in the following episode.
“It’s just a really fun way to use Diaz in a way that we haven’t seen before. Basically, the reason that they recruited him is that it’s the former Suicide Squad, but there’s a new name for it called the Ghost Initiative,” says Schwartz. “I’ve always loved the Suicide Squad, and we’ve always loved the characters. Because we told the first half of the season being in prison with a lot of our former villains, that’s kind of the fun of the Suicide Squad — having our former villains working with our heroes, and it’s always fun to do an episode or two every season about it. But having Diaz join the Suicide Squad, I mean, that’s priceless.”
Finally, “My Name is Emiko Queen” will also feature another flash-forwards that will show us a new part of future Star City: the Glades, which is nothing like the rundown city we’ve been spending time in. “We’re kind of opening up our world a little because we’ve only our characters in the future Star City, [which] has looked a little glum,” says Schwartz. “[The Glades] is much nicer than Star City, and we’ll get deeper into Rene and Zoey’s relationship and kind of how that dynamic has changed from the present day to the future.”
Arrow airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on The CW.