Some TV shows that have struggled in recent years, or maybe didn't deliver according to expectations set by their earlier successes have a couple of options when considering what to do next. One of the more popular has been that of the soft reboot, a restructuring of the series in an attempt to work out certain kinks or just make as close to a fresh start as possible. The other option is to make a concerted effort to return to the show's roots and to rediscover what made it so successful in the first place. The latter seems to be what Arrow has in mind for season 5
In all the press that's been handled by the cast and crew of Arrow since the season 4 finale, one eventuality that has come up several times over is the idea of doing what the show does best. In other words: getting back to more grounded, less superpower-oriented storytelling. To be fair, this is something that star Stephen Amell has been championing before the latest season wrapped, and before Green Arrow managed to overcome the power of Damien Darhk in a divisive end to an uneven season.
While season 4 may have left fans wondering if Arrow's best days were behind it, Amell was on hand at Wizard World Philadelphia to assure those in attendance that, while this is not the case, a return to the series' best days is pretty much what he, the producers, and the writers have in mind. Amell also spoke with regard to the season 5 villain, the introduction of a new vigilante, and the flashbacks that will presumably see Oliver venture to Russia and explain his Bratva tattoo and maybe even bring in a Big Bad from the DC Universe as well – one that isn't scheduled to be in an upcoming summer blockbuster.
When asked by a fan whether or not Ollie really will be in Russia in the flashbacks, the actor said, "Yes," but then, playing coy, followed that up by saying, "No." Amell clarified saying that his press duties for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows have kept him away, so he's a little behind where he normally is with regard to prepping for the season ahead.
"Typically by now, I would have gone to the writers' room and we would have had long, lengthy discussions about the upcoming season, but I wrapped Arrow, I had a really nice end-of-season dinner with Greg Berlanti, which is what we always do. We chatted about the good, the bad, the ugly, what's coming, what's happened, et cetera, et cetera. But we had that, and I literally haven't been home since the beginning of May on the Turtles press tour."
Now that he's ready to get back into an Oliver Queen state of mind, Amell told the audience that he's expecting to "get the full download next week" in terms of what season 5 has in store for Star City's preeminent hero and that he's "excited for the Russia thing." Moreover, Amell confirmed that the show will be "introducing another vigilante from the DC Universe next season," meaning the time to speculate as to which familiar hero will be recklessly taking on criminals in Star City can officially start now.
While not exactly a bombshell, the biggest news Amell delivered at the con was more details regarding the season's villain and the hope that the series will move away from setting up The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow to better focus on stories tailored specifically for Green Arrow and his crew.
"Our villain is going to be in a lot of ways a callback to season 1. And that's something that you can do when you're in season 5. I think that the villain that we have coming in is really going to ground the show and take us back to some of the elements that we had in the earlier days before we introduced so many fantastical elements to the Arrowverse."
Who the villain will be is still anyone's guess, though some names like KGBeast have been floated around with increasing frequency since so much has been said already regarding the supposed Russia-centric flashbacks. Does that mean Arrow season 5 will take a dual storyline approach to the villain like season 2 did? Perhaps. At this point, anything akin to what the show did so well in its first two seasons is welcome news, so any clues suggesting an emulation of those storylines is a step in the right direction.
Arrow season 5 will air in the fall of 2016 on The CW.