[APRIL FOOLS!!!! This article is for joke purposes only. None of it is true.]

Even as Oliver Queen approaches his final showdown with Slade Wilson in the final stretch of Arrow season 2, fans are already thinking about what next season could bring, in what has been a successful evolution of DC’s TV superhero action drama. As always, producers Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim are tuned into what fans want and just how much they should know in advance, teasing some possible directions for Arrow season 3 without giving away where things could leave off by the season 2 finale.

NOTE: The following quotes will contain information about all of the Arrow season 2 episodes that have aired on TV, so if you’re not already caught up with the show, you may want to avoid reading on.

Speaking with The Wrap, Berlanti and Guggenheim hinted at where season 3 could find Oliver Queen/Arrow (Stephen Amell):

Berlanti: Well, with a villain as big as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke, he’s not going to just go down without landing a few hard hits of his own. Even if Oliver ultimately wins the day, could it possibly happen without some kind of sacrifice? That’s the question.

Guggenheim: In our show it’s not even really a question: somebody’s going to be feeling the pain; the piper has always got to get paid. But what’s the price and who pays the tab? That’s the question that will hopefully be baiting the hook up through the finale.

As for what’s coming in season 3? Naturally the producers can’t give anything solid away – but that didn’t stop them from dropping some pretty strong hints as to what kind of ambitions they have in mind:

Berlanti: Well, the interesting thing about this season is that it kind of closes off the story of Oliver Queen and his time on the island. In a weird way seasons 1 – 2 are really just one big story arc split up over two seasons; but we’re quickly getting to the end point of that story. After that, the challenge is figuring out who Oliver wants to be now that the past is behind him. He’s finally going to know who “Green Arrow” is.

Guggenheim: We’re talking with the writers and making plans right now, but essentially we think we’ve fully earned our way into the ‘Age of Heroes’ for this TV universe. Oliver is a full-fledged Green Arrow, he’s hanging with Black Canary – Barry Allen will be doing the Flash thing over in his show… The masks are on now, and all that’s left is to bring some of these vigilantes together to achieve some greater purpose. 

After being pressed for which particular heroes would be brought together (remember those Nightwing rumors from late last year?) and what purpose could bring them together, Guggenheim responded:

Guggenheim: The purpose is something we’re still working out, but as for who? Well (smiles) you’ll find out, but let’s just say that some of them you’ve never seen on TV before – and others you have, but maybe just not for a while.

Arrow‘s Justice League: Tom Welling Returning?

Guggenheim’s final comment may have inadvertently let a very big cat out of the bag, even though he thought he was being coy. A recent Deadline report detailed how model/actor Tom Welling is currently in talks with Warner Bros. TV about possible projects they could develop together. Welling is best known for playing the character of Clark Kent through 10 seasons of Smallville, the “Superman: The Young Years” TV series that ran through the ’00s and arguably wrote the current blueprint of DC comics live-action TV.

The report goes on to detail how Welling is in talks for WB TV projects both in front of and behind the camera. No surprise about the latter: Welling has had directorial ambitions for awhile, having helmed no less than seven episodes of Smallville during its run. However, it’s the projects in front of the camera that have us most interested: could Welling be stepping back into the Superman suit for a run in the Arrow/Flash continuity?

Guggenheim’s final quote seems awfully specific; Tom Welling’s Superman/Clark Kent is about the only character we can think of being a hero we may not have seen on TV in awhile. We doubt he’s talking about Alan Ritchson’s Arthur Curry/Aquaman or Justin Hartley’s version of Oliver Queen or any of the other DC heroes that Smallville (sort of) incorporated into its mythologies. Tom Welling’s Superman seems like the more obvious and logical choice for both exciting the fanbase and grabbing major attention for a TV Justice League team-up event.

…And it couldn’t come at a better time. Welling was derided by his critics for being too scrawny and baby-faced to play a convincing Man of Steel – even in the character’s younger years. When the new NFL movie Draft Day hits theaters this month, fans are going to see first-hand that an older and more bulky Tom Welling now looks every bit the part of Superman (he plays an all-star NFL player).

None of this has been confirmed, of course; although the Deadline does mention that one of the executives Welling was meeting with was Joseph Patrick Finn – who happens to be one of the main producers on Arrow. Coincidence? Maybe. But with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. throwing fans bigger and better Marvel Cinematic Universe ties, DC and WB need to find some heavy-hitting event to match their competitor. Green Arrow, Flash, Superman – and possibly newcomers like Nightwing – all in the same episode? We’d definitely watch – how about you?

Arrow season 2 will continue next Wednesday with ‘Deathstroke’ @8pm on The CW. Check out a preview below:

Sources: The Wrap & Deadline