As was noted not long ago by both executive producer Marc Guggenheim and director James Bamford, production on Arrow season 5 is now well underway. The season will kick off with ‘Legacy,’ a title that carries an appropriately weighty connotation to it, as the series that launched The CW’s Arrowverse ventures closer to its one hundredth episode. At the same time, though, the word “legacy” may have an even greater implication to Arrow fans, as before season 4 was even over, talk from both series star Stephen Amell and co-showrunner Wendy Mericle had turned toward ways in which the series might bounce back after hitting something of a rough storytelling patch in seasons 3 and 4.
Most of the talk involved various takes on the notion of simply getting back to basics, refocusing the series on the sort of thing that has already been demonstrated the show does well. These comments, and the flood of casting and character announcements that followed, served as a strong indication that Amell and the show’s producers were following through on their promise of a more grounded Arrow in season 5, one that saw the Emerald Archer and Team Arrow confronting foes who have a distinctly more street-level vibe to them.
Not to let the tease of a grittier season of Arrow slip by without some visual confirmation, Amell offered a new image up to his fans via Twitter, showing off his impressive physique and perhaps hinting at a story element in the process.
Here's your S5 poster.— Stephen Amell (@StephenAmell) July 12, 2016
The image of Amell shows Oliver with much longer hair than he had at the end of season 4, in both the present-day storyline as well as the flashbacks. While there’s no word on when the image is intended to take place, it stands to reason that this is part of Ollie’s backstory, that it plays into his late-season promise to Taiana Venediktov to return to Russia and deliver a message of what happened to her and her brother. Of course, that happened right before he snapped her neck in an act of mercy, so maybe the big question is how much of the truth Oliver actually intends to tell Taiana’s family. After all, if there’s anything Arrow fans know by now it’s that Oliver and the truth rarely go hand in hand.
But there’s more to the image than potentially hinting at Taiana’s family being afforded some sense of closure. Maybe the most obvious takeaway from this image is: with his longer hair and seemingly beefier physique, Amell bears a striking resemblance to Christian Bale in Batman Begins – which is fitting since the Arrow was at its best when drawing inspiration from Christopher Nolan’s Batman films. Whether the implication was intentional or not, this image could serve as a tacit reminder of the show’s intentions to get back to its roots.
Given that Oliver looks like he’s in full-on Fight Club mode, there’s a good chance the scene being depicted has something to do with his long-hinted-at connections with the Bratva – a criminal organization that is, conveniently, Russian in origin. Oliver’s association with the group has been discussed at various points since season 1, but as time went on, his adventures in both the past and the present saw any sort of explanation placed on the backburner. Maybe that’s a good thing, as the various distractions over the past two seasons – setting up Legends of Tomorrow and generally dealing with more and more super powered adversaries – didn’t foster the right environment for that story to be told. Now, however, with the series set for a return to Oliver’s war against Star City’s criminal element, it seems the time has come to learn all about Mr. Queen’s adventures in the Russian underground.
Arrow season 5 is scheduled to premiere on Wednesday, October 5, 2016 at 8PM ET; The Flash season 3 is slated to air on Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 8PM ET; DC’s Legends of Tomorrow will return on Thursday, October 13, 2016 at 8PM ET, Supergirl will make its season 2 debut on The CW on Monday, October 10, 2016 also at 8PM ET.