Both Arrow show-runner Marc Guggenheim and star Stephen Amell (who plays the role of Oliver Queen a.k.a. The Green Arrow) have promised something big that will forever change the series in the final episode of season 6. While details are scarce regarding the episode, which began filming earlier this week, some signs point to the game-changer being Oliver Queen's secret identity being exposed to the world of The Arrowverse.
The threat of Oliver Queen being revealed as The Green Arrow has loomed over the events of Arrow's sixth season. The season opener, 'Fallout', ended with a news report showing a photo that seemed to depict Oliver Queen wearing Green Arrow's costume with the hood down and no mask. The photo was later revealed to be a forgery, but it still sparked an ongoing criminal investigation into the connections between Mayor Oliver Queen and Star City's resident vigilante.
Guggenheim spoke about the finale in an interview with TechPointMagazine. Describing the final episode of season 6 as "unconventional" Guggenheim also affirmed earlier comments by Stephen Amell, where the Arrow star said that what happened in the finale could not be undone.
"That is, yes, that is exactly true," confirmed Guggenheim. "In fact, it’s the kind of game-changer that we’re not going to buy back at any point. It fundamentally changes the show."
Guggenheim elaborated further on how the entire season has been hinting at the finale and building to the "game-changer" that he and Amell had both spoken of.
"The show fundamentally changes in the finale and I think you’ll see there’s stuff that we were seeding back in the season premiere that finally comes to fruition here in the season finale, so you’ll see that there was a very specific plan to the entire season."
Guggenheim's comments here seem to be the first clue that the game changer in question is Oliver Queen losing his secret identity. The reference to the season 6 premiere, which renewed the threat of Oliver being exposed as The Green Arrow, seems quite clear.
It is worth noting that one of the major criticisms of Arrow's sixth season has been the show's recycling the threat of Oliver Queen's secret identity being exposed from earlier seasons. The season 6 storyline marks the third time Green Arrow's true identity has publicly been put at risk. Many feel it strains all credibility that anyone could possibly think Oliver Queen isn't The Green Arrow at this point.
This in itself could be a piece of evidence that Oliver Queen's days of operating in secret as a superhero could be coming to an end. The show's writers may agree with the complaints and have decided to do away with the secret identity completely, lest the show grow more repetitive.
Oliver Queen operating without a secret identity is not without precedent. Indeed, Green Arrow was one of the first major DC Comics superheroes to largely abandon his secret identity after being informed by the Seattle Police Department that they had no idea he was trying to hide who he was!
Oliver Queen was later formally revealed to the world as The Green Arrow in Green Arrow #35 (Volume 2) at the start of The Black Arrow Saga. This storyline saw Oliver Queen framed for treason and espionage, after he was recruited by men he thought were in the employ of the DEA to sink a ship full of drugs as it passed through the Panama Canal. Though Oliver was eventually able to clear his name and given a full Presidential pardon, the damage was done and the world knew Oliver Queen was Green Arrow.
Years later - following a retcon in Infinite Crisis which restored his secret identity - Oliver Queen would be exposed to the world again in Green Arrow/Black Canary #32. The final issue of The Fall of Green Arrow storyline saw Oliver Queen brought to justice by his fellow Justice League members after he killed the super-villain Prometheus. To add insult to injury, Oliver was taken in by Brian Nudocerdo - the corrupt Police Commissioner of Star City - whom Oliver had fought as both Mayor and as Green Arrow.
The return of Roy Harper as a Series Regular in season 7 of Arrow may be another sign that Oliver Queen may be going underground. The series' third season saw Roy Harper taking the rap for his mentor and faking his death after Oliver Queen was accused of being The Arrow. It could be that Oliver needs an ally who knows something about living life on the run as season 7 starts. Who knows? Maybe we'll see a more modern spin on the classic Hard Traveling Heroes Green Arrow stories of the 1970s?