As far as themes go, Arrow's third season can be summed up by Harvey Dent's ironically iconic words from The Dark Knight: "The night is darkest just before the dawn." While this wasn't exactly true for Harvey, it certainly seems like Oliver Queen's dawn has arrived.
Throughout the particularly dark season, which opened with a major character's death and then continued that morbid tone throughout, the titular hero struggled with problems of identity - oscillating between not one or two, but three different names - letting go of his individual crusade, and embracing the relationships in his life. By the end, each of these hurdles was overcome, and Oliver finally got his 'happily ever after' in the season finale (read our review) as he and Felicity drove off into the sunset. That being said, it may have been more appropriate for the season to end with a sunrise rather than a sunset, considering the direction the series intends to take heading into season 4.
While speaking to io9, series showrunner Marc Guggenheim confirmed Arrow will take a cue from its brother series, The Flash, by infusing season 4 with a bit more light and laughs. But never fear, fans of darkness, Guggenheim promises the show won't do a complete 180.
Check out his full statement below:
"[Season 4] will take a lighter tone. That's pretty much the only thing I say without spoiling it. We've been working for about a month now in the writer's room, talking about season 4, and I think that one thing we all collectively understood was season 3 beginning with Sara's death, because it's the death of a major character in the show, it set the tone for the remainder of the season. And I'm not the least bit apologetic for that tone. I happen to like dark and I like the fact that Arrow is a pretty dark show particularly for a network show. That said, every year you want to mix things up and there was sort of a collective desire on all our parts to try to inject a little bit more lightness into the show, a little but more humor. It's not going to radically change. The show's still going to be the show but in terms of tone, we're coming off a very, very hard season for all of our character. We wanted to try to mix it up a little bit."
If season 3 was primarily black in terms of palette and tone, season 4 could turn green. Bright green. After retiring from vigilantism at the end of season 3, it would seem Oliver is officially done being the Arrow. In fact, Stephen Amell even confirmed this, saying he had worn the hooded costume for the last time. And we believe him. But what we don't believe is that he has worn a green costume for the last time. With the fourth season set to (somewhat) reconstruct and revitalize the show, Oliver may finally assume the destined Green Arrow mantle. This would certainly fit in with a lighter tone, considering the Green Arrow of comic lore is known as much for his bow and arrow skills as he his for his quips and humor.
Or could the 'lighter tone' have anything to do with another green-gilded hero making his debut on the show? "In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape" John Diggle's sight? As we have already speculated - and as David Ramsey has hinted - this is highly unlikely despite the numerous Green Lantern Easter eggs both Arrow and The Flash have dropped. Rather, it would make more sense in Arrow's grounded, gritty world for Diggle to become a less CGI-laden hero, such as the Guardian.
Either way, the notions that Diggle may finally don a mask and Oliver may finally don the Green Arrow persona both serve as game-changing moves for the show - moves that would do a lot more than "mix it up a little bit." And with DC's Legends of Tomorrow joining the interconnected mix, the change coming to our heroes' world could be more radical than originally assumed.
Until then, though, check out this poster recapping the major events of season 3 and two behind-the-scenes videos of Arrow's epic finale:
Arrow season 4 will premiere this fall along with The Flash season 2 and season 1 of CBS’ Supergirl. DC's Legends of Tomorrow will premiere as a midseason replacement in early 2016.