Over the past four seasons, Arrow has maintained a fairly consistent cast (for actors not in the role as Oliver Queen's mother or father, anyway). While some actors like Colton Haynes have come and gone (and will reportedly come back again), the series worked to ensure its growing list of regular actors and soon-to-be-superheroes remained a consistent part of the show. That came to an end last season when Katie Cassidy's Laurel Lance was killed after a run-in with big bad Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), but not before she imparted some last-minute wisdom to her former romantic interest and fellow crime fighter, Oliver Queen.
Although the handling of Laurel's passing might be a bone of contention for some – the public outing of the Star City DA as a vigilante at her funeral may have something to do with it – the show has made a concerted effort to offer the fallen hero a greater purpose following her death. Early trailers for Arrow season 5 seem to indicate Mayor Queen will be using his influence to see the city erect a statue in Black Canary's honor, suggesting the weight of her death will linger well into the show's fifth season.
As it turns out, though, the statue isn't the only glimpse viewers will get of Cassidy or Laurel Lance in the upcoming season. The actor recently revealed at the Salt Lake City Comic-Con that she will make an appearance in the premiere, while also reminding those in attendance that she's also be free to make appearances on all CW DC Comics shows, including The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl. While it may seem to be an odd thing to announce – especially since the series is making a point of getting off on the right foot and starting with a renewed interest in getting "back to basics" – but given the title of the season 5 premiere is 'Legacy,' it makes sense that Arrow might have some unfinished business to attend to, with regard to its fallen hero.
In speaking at the Con, Cassidy said (via ComicBook):
"And coming up, you will see me in the premiere of Arrow, Season 5. Pretty exciting. And I will also be—they announced at Comic Con, which I'm safe to say—across all three shows: Flash, Legends, and Arrow, for this next year. So, I'm excited about that."
It shouldn't be too difficult to surmise the extent of Cassidy's role in 'Legacy.' Given the show's penchant for flashbacks, there's a good chance Laurel will appear in some sort of previously unseen memory of Oliver's. Then again, should the episode take its title to heart, and really push the notion of Laurel being honored with a statue in her likeness, it stands to reason the remaining characters – i.e., Thea, Diggle, Felicity, etc. – will all have a chance to recall wistful memories of their friend. Who knows if that is the case, but it would be a fitting way to mark the character's passing in relation to the show being headed in a new (but familiar) direction this season.
While it may seem like a step back for Arrow to look into the recent past when it has worked so hard in the offseason (and before) to convince the audience that it's getting back to doing what it does best, honoring Laurel Lance one last time may prove to be a roundabout way of doing that. In other words: this may be how the show lets the past officially become the past in the season premiere. It remains to be seen if that is the case, of course, but fans only have about a month until they find out.
The Flash season 3 will premiere Tuesday October 4 at 8pm on The CW; Arrow season 5 will premiere in the same timeslot on Wednesday October 5; Supergirl season 2 on Monday October 10; and Legends of Tomorrow season 2 on Thursday October 13.