It’s only one episode into the fourth season of The CW series Arrow and there have already been big reveals and surprises. Thankfully, executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Wendy Mericle were available to answer some of the burning questions that arose with the latest twists to the story, following a screening of the episode.
With a handful of press, they talked about that tear-jerker moment and the ramifications of it, when that ring might come back into play, this season’s flashbacks, magic and mysticism, Damien Darhk’s unexpected partnership, and H.I.V.E. Be aware that there are some major spoilers discussed.
Question: Is someone actually really 100% dead and in that grave?
WENDY MERICLE: Yes.
MARC GUGGENHEIM: It’s not a fake out. That’s not how we work.
Do you know who it is?
GUGGENHEIM: We can’t answer that question.
With the Lazarus Pit, will they stay dead?
MERICLE: They will stay dead. We want to bring stakes back to the show, so we’ll be finding a way to handle the Lazarus Pit portion of Season 3 and Season 4 in a new, inventive way that I can’t reveal, but it will be cool.
GUGGENHEIM: It will feel very organic and very earned. It’s actually very elegant.
How mad are we going to be about this death?
MERICLE: That depends. I don’t know. It will be good. We don’t necessarily know who it is right now. We’re still figuring the plan out for the season. But, we want it to have resonance. If it doesn’t mean something to the characters, it won’t mean anything to the audience either.
When will we find out who it was that died, and will there be time after that to deal with it, before the end of the season?
GUGGENHEIM: There will be time afterwards, but we’re not going to tell you when it’s going to happen. That would be a real big spoiler ‘cause then you’d just be waiting for it to happen.
How long will it take for the ring to come back into play, with Oliver and Felicity?
GUGGENHEIM: You’ve gotta watch the show.
Why did you want to set that up in the season premiere?
GUGGENHEIM: We were breaking the episode with Greg Berlanti and it came out of something he said about wishing there was a way to dramatize where their relationship was. When we threw it out there, we didn’t really think Greg would go for it, but he was like, “That’s awesome! Totally do that!” When Oliver hides the ring, we’re also dramatizing the fact that he’s with Felicity and they’re together, but things are not the same as they were back in Ivy Town. We wanted to get at that concept that their relationship had changed now that they’re back in Star City, so that’s how we came up with the ring.
What can we expect to see, now that the flashbacks will show Oliver back on the island?
MERICLE: He’s going to encounter who we hope is a love interest. There’s a woman that he’s going to fall in love with. He’s also going to encounter a lot of magic and mysticism, and that is going to inform what he’s dealing with in Star City, in the present day, with Damien Darhk.
How does added magic affect the show and the tone?
GUGGENHEIM: It’s funny because obviously we started out with a very clear intention of doing something very grounded with no superheroes, no meta-humans, no powers and no magic. And then, Warner Bros. and The CW said, “We really want you to spin-off The Flash.” So, we were like, “Okay, I guess we’re doing superpowers now.” What we’ve tried to do on Arrow is embrace that, as much as possible. I don’t think it’s affected the tone of the show. When we tone the episodes with the directors, we always say that Arrow, as we’ve created it, can sustain these fantastical elements, as long as our characters’ reactions are realistic. It’s the reactions of the characters that ground things. If they react in a way that any of us would react, it makes the fantastical less fantastical, or at least it makes it more believable in the context of the show that we’ve created.
What can we expect from this partnership between Damien Darhk and Lance?
MERICLE: Lance is working with Damien and you’ll see later in the season that he did not know what he was necessarily signing up for. We’re going to play it as a crisis for Lance, in terms of why he chose to do it and what it means for him. He’s always been the moral center of the show, and someone who’s lorded his morality over Oliver. When all of this comes to a head, it’s going to be very interesting to see how those two characters work it out.
Now that you have H.I.V.E. connected to Damien Darhk, will there be any flashbacks with Diggle and Andy?
GUGGENHEIM: Maybe. I’ll be totally straight with you, one thing that we decided to do this year was to not be as aggressive with the non-island flashbacks as we were last year. In Season 1, we broke format and did a flashback from Moira’s perspective in Episode 121, and that worked out so well that we did more non-island flashbacks in Season 2. And then, that worked out so well that we did more in Season 3. But for my money, we ended up doing too many. What that did was that every time we did a non-island flashback, we stopped that story. It prevents those stories from gaining momentum, so we just haven’t been as aggressive about it. The first non-island flashback will happen in Episode 8. We go a whole seven episodes, which is more than we did last year, without seeing non-island flashbacks.
Why is Diggle keeping his connection to H.I.V.E. a secret from the rest of the team?
MERICLE: I think it’s really tied to his inability to make any headway. It’s his brother’s murder that he’s been trying to solve. The fact that he, himself, has been unable to get anywhere has made him feel slightly ashamed. Also, he’s run into so many dead ends. There hasn’t been anywhere for him to go until now. He will eventually talk about it, but up until this point, there hasn’t been a lot of reason to do so.
Arrow airs on Wednesday nights on The CW.