When Arrow season 4 concluded in the finale episode 'Schism,' Team Arrow and Star City were both left in somewhat disarray. Following the death of Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) and their fight with Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), many members of Team Arrow decided to either leave the city - as was the case with Oliver's right-hand man Diggle (David Ramsey) and their ally on the police force Captain Lance (Paul Blackthorne) - or, like Thea (Willa Holland), decided to take a step back from vigilantism.
That left Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) as the sole remaining member of Team Arrow, but Oliver himself shifted his focus to a new way of serving his hometown - by acting as interim Mayor of Star City. Additionally, though he wasn't necessarily an official member of the team, Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum) played a major part in defeating Darhk, and he remained in Star City.
So, while we know where season 4 left the heroes of Arrow, it remains to be seen where exactly we'll find them when season 5 kicks off. However, during the summer hiatus, bits of information - casting news, comments from cast members, and character teases - have surfaced and given us some idea of what to expect when Arrow returns for its fifth season. Now, with Arrow having begun production on season 5 - starting with the premiere episode, titled 'Legacy' - we may be getting even more info. But, between new characters and new arcs for returning heroes (and villains), here's what we know about Arrow season 5 so far.
District Attorney Adrian Chase
One of the bigger castings during the hiatus between seasons 4 and 5 is that of Chicago P.D.'s Josh Segarra as District Attorney Adrian Chase, who is coming in to the fill the position following Laurel's death. The casting report noted that he will be a friend to Oliver, and will take on the comic book mantle of Vigilante. Arrow season 5 may also follow the progression of Chase's comic book counterpart, which sees him become a vigilante when his wife and children are murdered by the goons of a mob boss he put away. As a result of this tragedy, his vigilantism borders on vengeance gone-too-far, which puts him at odds with other vigilantes in the city.
Although the casting report doesn't necessarily name Chase as the villain of season 5 - rather, simply as another vigilante - it's unclear if his storyline will follow the comics. But if it does, then the previous casting call for the villain named "James" (at the time) may apply to this character: "[He'd] just as easily shake your hand as your best friend or break your neck as your worst enemy — and you never know which one is coming. Either way, he’s more than capable of having a good time as he does it.”
Of course, this particular description paints a fairly ruthless picture - a man "capable of having a good time" breaking the necks of his enemies isn't necessarily the kind of ally Oliver may want even before Chase becomes a vigilante, especially in a district attorney. Still, if Chase does start off as an ally and progresses to a darker version of himself on his path to becoming Vigilante, the description may be apt.
Little is known about the mob boss Tobias Church, who is set to be played by Chad Coleman (The Walking Dead); the initial report of his casting describes Church as "an imposing gangster looking to unite the various criminal enterprises in Star City under his own singular command." Additionally, he is reported to make his Arrow debut in the season 5 premiere episode.
Now, if the Adrian Chase character does follow the path from the comics, then Church could potentially be the mob boss that Chase puts away, resulting in the kingpin ordering his goons to kill the D.A.'s family. Certainly, if Arrow wishes to take a slower route to developing Chase into his alter-ego of Vigilante (which wouldn't come as a surprise since the series has taken its time with other characters becoming heroes in the past), then Church may be the main villain when season 5 kicks off.
To that end, the casting call describing a villain quick to friendship or quick to violence may in fact be referring to Church. A character described as such also falls in line with a mob boss willing to order his henchmen to kill the wife and children of the district attorney who put him away. So, we may not know exactly which Arrow season 5 addition the "James" casting call was referring to, but considering Tobias Church is set to appear in the premiere, he will likely play a part in setting the overarching season 5 storyline into motion.
Another bit of season 5 information was the revelation that Arrow would introduce a new vigilante to Star City that was described as “a cocksure/reckless ex-Marine turned vigilante.” Now, there likely isn't much debate about which new character this particular description is referring to, since Rick Gonzalez (Mr. Robot, War of the Worlds) joined the cast as Wild Dog, a vigilante with a "reckless and cocksure nature" that causes Oliver to take him under his wing.
Additionally, the casting report confirmed Gonzalez would make his first appearance in the season 5 premiere, and continue on for multiple episodes. Still, given what little we know of how the character will appear on the series, it's likely he'll join Team Arrow early on in the season, perhaps filling the role left by Diggle as Oliver's right-hand man.
As for what we can glean about Wild Dog from the character's DC Comics history, at first glance we know Arrow will be keeping some of the hero's back story since Jack Wheeler (who took on the Wild Dog alter-ego) was a Marine for a time. It's rather likely the introduction of the vigilante will be adapted from the first issue of his comic book limited series, in which he saves a journalist from a hostage situation and is given his name after a member of the police force orders him to shot "like a wild dog in the street." However, it remains to be seen whether Arrow adapts other aspects of the Wild Dog character - like the death of his girlfriend, or his costume consisting of a football jersey with a dog on it, paired with a hockey mask.
Speaking of journalists in the DC Comics universe, Elysium's Carly Pope joined Arrow as Susan Williams, a journalist from Coast City who arrives in Star City and makes her debut during episode 3 of season 5. According to the casting report, Susan is “looking to make a name for herself” and is targeting Oliver as a means to do so.
In the comics (and as hinted by her home city of Coast City), Susan has ties to Green Lantern - in that she marries Hal Jordan's younger brother Jim - but it may be her earlier storyline that's relevant to Arrow. Susan meets Jim while reporting on his and Hal's older brother Jack Jordan's bid for district attorney, during which she suspects the youngest Jordan of being the Green Lantern and doggedly searches for proof (though she finds none, of course).
Now, there have been rumors of Green Lantern joining Arrow/The CW DC TV universe for some time — with Pope's casting as Susan Williams only adding fuel to this particular fire — though executive producer Marc Guggenheim recently shot down the inclusion of this superhero. But Arrow could certainly swap out the Green Lantern for Green Arrow in terms of Susan pursuing the alter-ego behind a masked superhero, especially since the show hasn't been afraid to adapt characters tied to other DC Comics heroes in the past.
With the departure of Captain Lance leaving Team Arrow without an ally in the Star City Police Department, the show is bringing on a character dubbed Detective Malone to be played by Tyler Ritter (The McCarthys). Little is known about the character beyond his name and position on the police force - and even then his first name has not yet been released.
While the name Malone may not be a nod to the comic books, DC Comics fans will likely recognize it because of the criminal Matches Malone (especially considering the character's recent live-action adaptation on Gotham season 2). Of course, with so little go on from the casting description - and what we do have pointing to a character opposite that of Matches - it seems unlikely Ritter's Star City detective has any association to the DC Comics character. It's more likely the name is a coincidence and Detective Malone may simply be a new ally for Team Arrow - a liaison between the vigilantes and the police force.
In terms of characters who will receive a revamp in season 5, Madison McLaughlin is returning as Evelyn Sharp, but rather than attempting to take on the mantle of the Black Canary - as the character did in the season 4 episode 'Canary Cry' - she will be donning the DC Comics persona of Artemis. McLaughlin will first return in season 5 during the second episode, and appear for multiple episodes.
In the comics, Artemis started off as a villain working for the Injustice Society, but has since been given more of a heroic arc as she became a sidekick for the Green Arrow and appeared in the animated series Young Justice. It seems likely Arrow will follow a similar path for Evelyn Sharp, with her fulfilling the role on Team Arrow previously led by both Roy (Colton Haynes) then Thea as Oliver's protégé.
When it was announced that Mr. Terrific would appear in season 4 of Arrow, many fans hoped to see Curtis Holt suit up as the superhero this past year. However, though Echo Kellum made his debut as Curtis in season 4, the show has yet to introduce his superhero side - though there have been teases of his T-Spheres. Still, Kellum was promoted to a series regular for season 5, and all signs point to Curtis finally suiting up as Mr. Terrific.
Additionally, Curtis will be an official member of Team Arrow, working alongside Felicity on the technical aspect of vigilantism. His new role on the team was likened to that of Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes)'s on The Flash, in the sense that Curtis and Felicity have their own specialities just as Cisco and Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) do - Felicity is better with software, while Curtis is more adept at hardware (like, say, T-Spheres). Still, after becoming a fan-favorite character in season 4, viewers can expect to see more of Curtis, and hopefully a Mr. Terrific suit, when season 5 begins.
Getting Back to Arrow's Roots
It's no secret that both season 3 and season 4 of Arrow have diverged from what initially drew fans to the series. With the inclusion of metahumans that served as The Flash's introduction to the DC TV universe, then the season-long mystical arc dealing with Darhk, Arrow hasn't quite lived up to its second season heights. However, many of the comments from cast and crew during the off-season hiatus have been about the show refocusing on Arrow's original five-year plan when the series kicked off way back in 2012.
To that end, Amell recently said the first few episodes of season 5 "refocuses us on what the core mission of the show should be." This comment arrived after he said season 5 will take the series "back to its roots" and feature a villain without superpowers, which is where Arrow excels. Additionally, the actor has spoken about how season 5 will build upon aspects of the show from season 1, like the villain, and the flashbacks taking Oliver to Russia and tying that particular storyline to his Russian ties in season 1. Speaking of the Arrow flashbacks, Guggenheim assured fans prior to the season 4 finale that the flashback storytelling will improve in season 5, likely due to the fact that it will be utilized to bring the five-year story arc of the show full circle.
Certainly, with Arrow refocusing on street-level crime not committed by metahumans or those with mystical superpowers, the show has the opportunity to win back fans who have lost interest in recent seasons. Additionally, with The CW's DC Comics television universe fully established - The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl have each carved out their own corners of the universe with their own unique tones and DC mythos informing the stories - Arrow now no longer needs to act as the launch pad for these other series and can return to what it does best: Street-level vigilantism.
Considering the wealth of new characters joining Arrow in season 5, along with the more developed arcs planned for other characters like Curtis Holt and Evelyn Sharp, the show certainly has a chance to start somewhat fresh, rebuilding Team Arrow from the wreckage of season 4. Along with all the new characters, they give Arrow the opportunity for even more adaptations from the comics, pulling in heroes and villains that fans may recognize - but with a new spin to offer a fresh take for live-action viewers.
Of course, we don't know exactly how these pieces will come together to form the overarching narrative of season 5 until it premieres this October, but the characters seem to be in place to bring Arrow back to the high points of seasons 1 and 2 when Oliver faced off against a human(ish) villain and worked to make Star City a better place. Hopefully, as we get closer to season 5 and learn more about what to expect, Arrow will deliver on all the expectations and promises generated during the hiatus.
The Flash season 3 will premiere Tuesday October 4th at 8pm on The CW, Arrow season 5 will premiere in the same timeslot on Wednesday October 5th, Supergirl season 2 on Monday October 10th, and Legends of Tomorrow season 2 on Thursday October 13th.