SDCC 2016: Arrow Season 5 Going Back to Its Gritty Roots

With Arrow approaching it’s fifth season, after Damien Darkh, after the League of Assassins, after Ra’s al Ghul, after the Suicide Squad, it’s hard to imagine where the show can go next. However, during San Diego Comic-Con, the cast and creators revealed a little more about the tone and the feel of the show moving forward. Stephen Amell, who plays Oliver Queen, seemed more enthusiastic than ever about the season, “This season feels very grounded and very patient.” It seems the show goes back to its roots of being “a street-level crime fighting make-Star-City-better show,” once again highlighting Oliver’s most important relationship in the show: his relationship with his city.

Stephen Amell, who plays Oliver Queen, seemed more enthusiastic than ever about the season, “This season feels very grounded and very patient.” It seems the show goes back to its roots of being “a street-level crime fighting make-Star-City-better show,” once again highlighting Oliver’s most important relationship in the show: his relationship with his city. And while the magic was important for the season, Amell notes, “We are better when we are more grounded.”

Moving forward, after jumping from one end of the moral spectrum to the other, Amell said that they’ve really found a shade of grey to be in for this season. He’s no longer the guy who just kills everyone, but he’s also not a no-kill vigilante. The show has its darker moments, and while Amell admits that comedy and levity is important and seen within shows like The Flash and Supergirl, he points out that “Oliver is getting to that point, he’s getting to be a bit of a grizzled old vegetable.”

 

With this being the fifth year, the showrunners have said that they only have flashbacks planned up until the fifth season. Arrow has relied on the flashbacks and present day storyline algorithm, but it has turned into one of the weaker points of the show and it seems like this will be the last year of the flashbacks. Amell said that this gave a sense  of urgency, and feeling that there was more to accomplish with these flashbacks and more questions to answer. “I made a list and I sent it to the producers,” questions like why Oliver is dressed as a castaway when he’s found, and how he built his boat are among some of the questions that Amell asks. “We made a big list and we are going to answer them.”

David Ramsay spoke a little bit about his character’s arc in the last season, and the importance developing Diggle’s recovery from killing Andy in season 5. We saw Diggle leave in uniform on service, and Ramsay reveals that he’s been in Chechnya. His time there is spent away from the team, but he uncovers something in Chechnya that will tie into the larger plot.

We’ll also be seeing a new helmet for Diggle after the fan reaction to Diggle’s mask last season, covering almost all of his face. “We will have a new helmet next season, it will be a Cisco creation out of STAR Labs, and it’s amazing, and you can see my face.”

After a rollercoaster season for Felicity Smoak, Emily Bett Rickards talked a little bit about the fallout after season four and where we’d be seeing Felicity in the upcoming season. While Rickards was unsure about Felicity getting Palmer Tech back, but she did remind us that her main goal is to get the microchip out and make it more accessible to the public.

And with the team disbanded, Felicity will be working with Oliver to rebuild the team and also rebuild their communication and their relationship, however, she did say that “Their romantic relationships has disentigrated.” Felicity will be wrestling the most with the guilt of having a direct hand in the death of the people of Havenrock, the town that was hit with the missile that Felicity diverted during Darkh’s rubicon ploy.

 

With the team separated, Willa Holland refers to it as a sabbatical for the characters, the return to season five will see the show returning to a more “grass roots” version of their story. Holland talked about season three and four having inherent lighter tones due to the fact that Oliver had a successful love story, but things will be changing now as we move forward.

As far as Thea is concerned, she’s hung up the suit for a while, but it won’t be permanent. “She’s trying to find a place that she feels comfortable,” Holland explained. Without the bloodlust to excuse her choices, Holland expresses Thea’s feelings after holding a knife to Darkh’s daughter’s throat, “This whole time I’ve been blaming my dad, I’ve been blaming my bloodlust, I’ve been blaming all of these things for whenever I go crazy, but this time it was just her.”

Despite the dark side of her character, and trying to find a balance, Holland did comment on the rumors that Colton Haynes might be returning for the upcoming season, saying, “That would be the greatest thing for me in the world […] having Colton back in my life would just be fantastic.”

 

After the devastating loss of Laurel Lance, perhaps no one felt it as strongly as her father, Quentin Lance. Paul Blackthorne describe’s Lance being in a “pretty desolate place” after the season. “He’s got a lot more of his demons to figure out.” After losing his job “his motivation is pretty low”, and it seems like he’ll be settling into a lot more guilt within himself. This will also become a challenge when you consider his relationship with Donna and the development of their romantic relationship after last season. We’ll see where it takes him, but Blackthorne points out that “Lance’s default setting is ‘it’s my fault’, he blames himself for everything.”

The newest addition to the cast is Echo Kellum, who was introduced last season as Curtis Holt, an employee at Palmer Tech that soon became an asset to both Felicity and the Arrow team. “It’s something I really dug into,” Kellum said, in reference to both his character and his future as Mister Terrific. “I really like the character, and I used to work for Geek Squad, so I definitely have experience with that side of things,” he said jokingly.

With the new season, Kellum talks about watching his character go through the growing pains and how the audience will get to see his own slow development into Mister Terrific. “You’ll see him working on a lot of tech, and bringing new things into the fold, and also getting his foot wet and getting out into the action in the field.”

Arrow‘s dip into magic wasn’t wholly successful for the show, but it seems that the show has seen this and corrected and with all this buzz about returning back to a grittier version of Arrow, it’s up to you to see if it lives up to the hype. Arrow returns to The CW on Wednesday, October 5th at 8PM.