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Things are changing in Star City this season on Arrow.
Not only is Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) taking office as the new mayor, but he’s also implementing a new policy during his time on the streets as vigilante Green Arrow: Killing is once again allowed. But with the rest of Team Arrow scattered both physically across the world and mentally after most of them quit, what does that mean for season five?
The Hollywood Reporter rounded up everything you need to know going into the new season, from the new members set to join Team Arrow, the new villain created for this season that doesn’t have any comic book origins, the new flashback storyline and more.
New Team Arrow
After Thea (Willa Holland) quit the team to focus on herself and Diggle (David Ramsey) quit to re-enlist, Team Arrow is feeling a little empty going into the season premiere, “Legacy.” When the episode begins, Oliver and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) try to keep things going on their own, but Felicity knows that can’t last forever now that Oliver has to split his time as mayor of Star City. She’s already got her eye on some potential new recruits like Curtis (recently promoted series regular Echo Kellum), vigilante wannabe Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez) and former Black Canary copycat Evelyn Sharp (Madison McLaughlin) as she starts her journey to become her DC Comics alter ego Artemis.
And just because Laurel (Katie Cassidy) was tragically killed off last season, that doesn’t mean that she’s gone from the show. Cassidy returns to The CW series as early as the season-five premiere, in flashbacks to the night that Laurel died. Viewers will finally get to hear exactly what she asked of Oliver while in her hospital bed, and the Comic-Con trailer did not reveal the whole story. “She’s definitely not gone,” says executive producer Wendy Mericle.
It’s a good thing that Oliver is going to be filling out his ranks more as he’s going to have his hands full with not one but two big bad villains this season. The first is gangster Tobias Church (Chad L. Coleman), who is looking to take over Star City’s criminal underworld. And the second is a character with no DC Comics origins.
“He’s a new character. He’s our big bad for the year,” says executive producer Marc Guggenheim. “We call him Prometheus. It’s not the Grant Morrison-Howard Porter Prometheus from the Justice League. He’s a new character that fits in with the theme of legacy for this season. He’s pretty badass and mean.”
With two big bads set to terrorize Star City, at least Oliver is pulling no punches this season as the Green Arrow. When the premiere picks up, it becomes abundantly clear that he’s put killing back on the table. His battle with Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) in season four has left some serious psychological scars, since he blames himself for Laurel’s death. He believes that if he had killed Damien sooner, she would still be alive. But his new outlook as the Green Arrow is in direct opposition with his day job as mayor, and he’ll soon realize he needs to prioritize his public persona over his private vendetta.
Arrow isn’t the only show where viewers will get to see Oliver as mayor. Amell is guest-starring in the season-two premiere of Legends of Tomorrow, not as the Green Arrow, but as Mayor Oliver Queen. While this is the first Arrow-verse crossover of the new season, all four Greg Berlanti-produced shows — Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl — will unite for one major crossover event in the fall.
Changes at the SCPD
Now that Captain Lance (Paul Blackthorne) is no longer working at the SCPD, that means someone is going to have to fill his shoes on the squad. Tyler Ritter has been cast in a recurring capacity as Detective Malone, a new addition to the police department to make up for Lance’s absence.
But what does that mean for Lance moving forward? Expect the former cop to have a rough go of it when season five begins, as he’s back in Star City with no job, no daughters around and no girlfriend — yes, he and Felicity’s mother Donna (Charlotte Ross) are no longer together when the premiere picks up. Since Lance is a known alcoholic, does all this heartbreak signal a relapse is coming?
Last year of flashbacks?
After four seasons of flashback storylines, we have finally made it to Oliver’s last year of being presumed dead. Year five starts out with Oliver keeping his promise to Taiana (Elysia Rotaru) and searching for her parents to tell them what happened to her and her brother on Lian Yu. That leads him to Russia, where he will end up being recruited into the Bratva, the Russian mob. That will also put him in the orbit of new addition Dolph Lundgren’s character, who is a “badass” government strongman with mysterious ties to what happened to Taiana’s family, according to Mericle.
Since early in season one, it has been known that Oliver is a high-ranking captain in the Bratva, so this storyline will actually have big stakes, unlike the past few seasons in which critics and fans alike grew weary of flashbacks. But does this mean that this will be the last season of flashbacks? Or will this season’s flashback storyline not encompass a full year? When Oliver was rescued from Lian Yu back in the pilot, he had long hair and a long beard and had clearly been living alone on the island for some time, so he won’t be in Russia for the entire year.
Arrow will hit a big milestone this season when it airs its 100th episode. “Turns out [episode] 508 is chapter two of our four-part crossover,” Guggenheim says. “And then 509 is our midseason finale. It’s actually timed perfectly.”
Amell has revealed via his Instagram that former Arrow castmember Susanna Thompson will be returning for the episode as the late Moira Queen, as will Manu Bennett, who is returning to reprise his role as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke.
Arrow season five premieres Wednesday at 8 p.m. on The CW.
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