Who’s six feet under?
That’s probably the biggest question you may have after watching Arrow Season 4 Episode 1, which ended with a six-month jump into the future where Oliver Queen sits before a headstone in a cemetery with tears in his eyes.
The premiere also featured a not-quite-right Thea... Laurel inhabiting her Black Canary-ness quite well ... and both Diggle and Lance harboring secrets. And, hello, is Oliver really going to ask Felicity to marry him?
We’ve got even more questions about Arrow Season 4 - but we also have some answers so read on as we got some scoop from executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Wendy Mericle after a preview screening last week...
Who The Heck Is Dead? The producers naturally weren’t giving much up about the identity of the corpse, but they did say someone is definitely dead. “It's not a fake-out,” Guggenheim insisted. “That's not how we roll.”
What's Up With Thea? Ollie’s little sis seems to be enjoying her crime-fighting very much. Maybe too much. Should we be concerned? In show time, it’s been six months since Thea came out of the Lazarus Pit and something is definitely off. “Why is it only showing up now?” Guggenheim pondered. “We’ll be explaining why it’s rearing its head.”
Will Star City Embrace Green Arrow? Yes, the Arrow is gone but Oliver (with a snazzy new suit a la Cisco) proclaimed very publicly that he’s the Green Arrow. But will the broken Star City be on his side?
“We’re hoping that this will be a change and that they will embrace him, but it’s not going to be easy,” Mericle offered. “We can’t make it easy for him. It’s sort of speaking to him trying to be more of an inspiration and less of a judge and executioner we’ve seen in the past.”
Wedding Bells Coming? Well, there needs to be an engagement first, but Oliver held off after they decided to stay in Star City to help our team. Guggenheim and Mericle said they pitched the engagement idea to executive producer Greg Berlanti and were surprised he liked it.
“What it does is dramatize, in a very clear way, not only where they are, but when Oliver hides the ring essentially, we're also dramatizing the fact that, OK, he's with Felicity, they're together, but things are not the same as they were back in Ivytown,” explained Guggenheim.
Why is Diggle Secretly Working with HIVE? Remember Diggle’s unsolved quest to find his brother’s killer? “The fact that he himself has been unable to get anywhere has both made him feel, I think, slightly ashamed and also he’s run into so many dead ends,” said Mericle. “There hasn’t been anywhere for him to go until now. He will eventually talk about it, but I think up until this point there hasn’t been a lot of reason to do so.”
Also, the rift between Diggle and Oliver will take a little more time to heal.
More Island Danger? How will Oliver’s time on the island be different this time around? “He’s going to encounter who we hope is a love interest,” teased Guggenheim, “and he’s also going to encounter a lot of magic and mysticism on the show and that is going to inform what he is dealing with in Star City in present day with Damien Darhk.”
Lance + Darhk = No Good? We found that good guy Lance is working with the villainous Darhk. WTF? “You’ll see later in the season that he did not know what he was necessarily signing up for,” Guggenheim said. "And so we’re going to play it really as a crisis for Lance in terms of why he chose to do it and what it means for him.”
Given Lance has always talked to Ollie about morals, how will the tables turn when it’s Lance who isn’t acting on the up and up?
Is Laurel in full-on Black Canary mode now? You better believe it but, of course, none of it will be easy. “The overarching theme of the season is about chosen family versus blood family,” said Mericle, “and [Laurel’s] really going to be dealing with Sara coming back but also with her family on her team and also her dad…there are going to be ramifications for her and him as well.”
Where is Malcolm (aka new R’as)? We haven’t seen Mr. Merlyn yet this season but he is coming, promised the producers. “His arc for the season is really revolving around Thea and trying to be a good father while also being the very evil, badass Ra’s al Ghul,” revealed Mericle. “I don’t know how you work that out, but if anyone can do it, it’s Malcolm and John Barrowman playing him.”
The producers also said they hope to bring him back to the Malcolm we saw in the first season and, yes, Nyssa will be back, too, and she’s not happy to be kneeling to Malcolm.
Arrow Season 4 airs Wednesdays at 8/7 on The CW.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.