As an executive producer on CW’s Arrow, Marc Guggenheim knows how to pull off an awesome cliffhanger. Which is why anyone who has come to the ending of his new book, Overwatch, about a lawyer who finds himself unraveling a CIA conspiracy, was probably left wondering, ‘…and now what?!’
We thought the same thing and set out for some answers.
“I think the two reasons I really want to do another novel is because I have [a] story to tell,” Guggenheim says of his in-the-works sequel. “And then the second reason, quite frankly, is that I feel like I learned so much [during the first book], I want to put that knowledge to use.”
Below, Guggenheim opens up about the Overwatch follow-up and which characters will (and won’t!) be returning.
[In other words, book spoilers below.]
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The end of the book had closure for many of the characters, but also left me wondering – because of certain nuggets – whether or not there would be a sequel. What’s the plan?
GUGGENHEIM: Yeah, you know, it’s funny, I’m just starting to talk about one. My hope is yeah. I’ve got a title and I have an idea and that’s really where it starts for me – the idea. So I’m probably going to just start diving in.
Is it based off that character we met briefly toward the end? The nameless one who is jetting out of the country at the end of the book?
The sequel will center around Alex and his father. I’ve got some interesting notions along those lines. And you know, there is a character who is kind of referenced rather obliquely at the beginning of the novel and at the end of the novel. And my instinct is that will be the title character, actually.
At the start of the book, Alex is engaged to Grace, but by the end that has unraveled pretty significantly. Are we to assume he and Grace are done?
You know, I think so. I guess as a writer I feel like I’m over Grace. I don’t necessarily see them getting back together. In my head, in the novel, he’s sort of single and off on his own.
Is Gerald, Alex’s computer-hacking buddy, in the sequel?
I think Gerald almost has to be. I think it’d actually be fun to pick up a few years later and see Gerald in a different place – not geographically but emotionally. I think he’s an interesting character and I’d like to see him, if not conquer his neurosis, see his neurosis take on a different color.
You’d mentioned that you had at one time imagined this as a television series. How was that different than when it became a book?
I’ll tell you, whenever I thought about it or worked on it as a TV show, none of these characters were in it. The TV show iteration of this really was the milieu of the Office of General Counsel in the CIA. And the idea was that maybe at the end of season 1 you’d learn there was some sort of conspiracy afoot. I was going to sort of swim that water of the conspiracy that made its way into the novel. But yeah, the TV series was going to be called Classified, and it just really shared the general conceit of the Office of General Counsel as well as potentially getting to a conspiracy place.
In the sequel that you’re cooking up, does Alex still work for the CIA? Because he shrugged in response when asked.
You know, I have a very specific answer already worked out to that, but I don’t want to spoil it….I do know exactly where he is at the the start of the next book but I think part of the fun of the end of Overwatch is not knowing where he’s going to end up.