After a lackluster fourth season, Arrow producers knew they had some work to do and promised that fans would see a return to the series' roots in season five. After three episodes, it looks like they've kept their word with the focus so far being on Oliver building up a new team of allies to help him take care of Star City. Fans of the series will recognize many of the faces from previous seasons (Artemis, Mr. Terrific), and fans of the comics will get to see characters they're familiar with from the pages (Wild Dog, Adrian Chase).
Arrowverse co-creator and executive producer Marc Guggenheim caused a stir when he once said (in reference to an article declaring source material problematic) that he'd, essentially, had "enough with canon." A great deal of what we've seen on The CW across all four of the DC hero shows has strayed far from the source material, but that's not always a bad thing. At the same time, it's disingenuous to ignore such a large portion of an inherent fan base, which could be why Arrow may have had a change of heart.
The seventh episode, Guggenheim told EW, is when fans really get a deeper look at Adrian Chase. Saying it's the episode where they "show their cards," the EP also made a firm statement aimed directly at fans of the comics:
"What’s kind of fun about the way we’re writing Adrian, and the way we’re portraying Josh’s character, is we’re writing with the knowledge that the audience has a certain amount of comic book knowledge. If they don’t, if you’re not a comic book fan, it’ll fly over your head and it’s totally fine."
Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra) has a well put together exterior that hides an unbridled rage that Oliver can certainly relate to. If Arrow truly does plan to bring back its dark tone, then introducing a dynamic character like Chase presents a unique opportunity for Oliver to face almost a mirror image of himself.
Though Chase starts off as a friendly face, his tragic comic backstory brings forth a villain known as Vigilante. While it's no fun to miss out on inside jokes, Adrian Chase/Vigilante is the type of character that perfectly lends itself to appealing to both newcomers and experienced fans. In that same vein, Guggenheim also said:
"...If you are familiar with the comic, then you’ll probably interpret certain scenes in a very specific way, and that’s fun for us. I don’t think we’ve ever really done it in this fashion before... [Using] what I call their comic book destiny as part of the storytelling.”
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8pm on The CW.