The show that helped launch DC Comics' current crop of TV projects may have been pushed out of the spotlight by its speedy, scarlet counterpart, but the minds behind Arrow aren't backing down. After leaving star Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) without a mask or mission at season's end, fans have been wondering what - or who - could bring him back into the fold of full-time vigilantism.
San Diego Comic-Con 2015 brought with it several announcements concerning season 4 of Arrow, from a new costume for Oliver, to even more DC Comics characters joining in on the fun. But as much of a fresh start as the season may be, Amell tells us that it won't be a shift back to the familiar. No, Arrow is injecting the supernatural in a big way, with the show's star claiming the next season is all about "magic and mysticism."
Those elements aren't entirely unfamiliar, since "Merlyn the Magician" (John Barrowman) has been a main player since the pilot episode, and season 3 saw the essentially immortal Ra's al Ghul bathing in the legendary Fountain of Youth. Yet no matter how natural or supernatural the threat, Oliver has yet to be truly defeated. The Arrow, on the other hand... is a different story.
Comic fans can see the road the show's writers are headed down, suspecting that Oliver's new costume reveal will coincide with his adoption of the 'Green Arrow' identity (a true figure for good, not one of darkness or violence). But before such a transformation is going to take place, Amell told us that Oliver will be seen going through a transformation of a different sort:
Five months have passed [since the finale], and Oliver has learned a bunch of new skills. Typically, when we come back from a hiatus, it’s like a new suit, or a new bow, or he decided that he wanted to take up jujitsu. But this time around, almost all the skills pertain to domestic life.
I think we see a different Oliver. But when the rubber hits the road, when push comes to shove, when people he cares about are in danger, that’s sort of the primal instinct he’s always had. I would suspect that it would rear its relatively handsome head.
As interested as some fans may be to spend plenty of time watching Oliver and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) in domestic bliss, the pair's sojourn to Coast City will likely end as abruptly as it began. Each season of Arrow has posed a new threat, none of which have left time for a healthy romance. In season 1, it was completing his father's mission of vengeance. For season 2, he paid for sins of his past in the form of a super-strong army led by Slade Wilson. And in season 3, it was the League of Assassins, and the death of his public identities.
So, does Amell think it's time for the show to take a breath, and go back to basics? Far from it - things are about to get supernatural:
The element that we are choosing this year is magic and mysticism. And Oliver alludes very early on in the season that this is something that he has seen before. Clearly that will play into this year’s flashbacks for him, but it’s an interesting wrinkle.
Our show is our show. I’m not going to spend five episodes in domestic bliss in nowhere town. The show is the show. We come back, five months have happened, and conveniently, right when we pick back up again, I get activated, so to speak.
Without knowing exactly what kinds of magic or mysticism are set to be explored, it's hard to know what flashback storyline is in store. Either way, action fans will be relieved to hear that Oliver and Felicity's happy ending will be turned upside down almost immediately. Presumably, the threat which "activates" Oliver will come in the form of Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), among the usual weekly distractions and twists along the way.
Knowing that Arrow will be taking a step farther into the mystical implies that a resurrected Sara Lance - set to return as the White Canary in Legends of Tomorrow - will be explored in the show prior to her spinoff, not to mention offering some context for rumors of a John Constantine guest spot. With the Fountain of Youth and super-soldier serum down, what could be next for Starling City's guardian angel?
We'll keep you updated as more details on season 4's mysticism is released, but for now, what DC Comics storylines would you hope to see adapted this year? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Arrow returns for season four Wednesday, October 7th, at 8PM on The CW; The Flash returns for season two Tuesday, October 6th, at 8PM on The CW; Legends of Tomorrow is expected to air on The CW in early 2016.