It's no secret that Oliver Queen's world is in disarray. Though he won his bid to become Mayor of Star City, Oliver is learning that it may actually be easier to fight crime in his vigilante identity of Green Arrow than as a law-bound politician. Ad to that the fact that his friends have left Team Arrow behind them, his relationship with Felicity is pretty much over, and he's got to deal with a new crop of vigilantes running around his city, and it's not a stretch to say he's at a low point in his life.
According to "Arrow" executive producer Wendy Mericle, Oliver's not going to find any easy answers when the series returns for its fifth season. Speaking to the press, including CBR, at Comic-Con International, she detailed where the show picks up in October, the new faces joining in Green Arrow's fight, and how the events unfolding in "The Flash's" Flashpoint storyline will affect Felicity, Oliver and the rest of "Arrow."
Season 4 ended with the death of Damien Darhk, the destruction of the Arrow Cave, and the induction of Oliver as Mayor of Star City. According to Mericle, Season 5 picks up four and half months later. "The city is not in a great state. Oliver will still be the Mayor when we open... He will be fighting on two fronts: There is a new criminal element in town, the mob, which we haven't really explored on the show before. We dealt a little bit with the Bertinellis in Season 1, and they are going to be a huge element this season."
Another aspect of the coming season is that Star City's costumed vigilante population, inspired by Team Arrow, has exploded. "They will be popping up all over the city, they will be helping and not helping," Mericle stated. Among the new faces will be Rick Gonzalez as Wild Dog, Josh Segarra as The Vigilante and the reintroduction of Madison McLaughlin as Artemis. All three of these street-level heroes, plus Ragman, can be seen training in "Arrow's" SDCC sizzle reel.
"Arrow" is famous for crafting its storyline around Oliver's current struggles and the lessons that he learned on the island, but with the island now a closed chapter in Green Arrow's life, the show will turn to another point in his past. Oliver's fight against the mob, as both Green Arrow and mayor, will be mirrored in flashbacks to his time in Russia. "We are going to see some Bratva actions, both in present day -- and what's most exciting for us -- in the flashbacks," Mericle said. "We are going to Russia, finally, and we'll find out where that tattoo came from. We'll really be exploring Russia in the flashbacks, and we will be tying it into the present day."
Mericle also weighed in on "The Flash," and how that show's Flashpoint paradox will affect Oliver and company. "This is a million dollar question. There will be some effect. I can't tell you how big or how small, but we will definitely honor that [Flashpoint] has happened. There will be some characters that are more influenced and impacted by it, mainly Felicity. She's going to be carrying something in regard to that this season."
It makes sense that Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) would be a crossover character in this aspect considering her closeness with Barry and Team Flash. Asked if small crossovers similar to those we saw last season would take place in Season 5, Mericle said, "Those happen more frequently on 'Flash.' This year, we'd like to have more of that happen on 'Arrow.' We've definitely talked in our writer's room about having Cisco and having Caitlin -- we just have to find the right story for them."
By the end of Season 4, Felicity decided she couldn't be with Oliver until he could be completely honest with her, and the pair called off their engagement and ended their relationship. "One of the reasons that relationship happened is that we wanted to write to the chemistry that's obviously palpable between Stephen and Emily. We also really want to honor where those characters are. We left them ambiguous at the end of Season 4, they'll stay ambiguous for a while. Olicity fans will get some answers in episode five. From there, we are going to write to see where [Stephen and Emily] take them. If that leads to reconciliation, then we'll write to that. If not, we'll have to see what happens. A lot more clarity is coming in episode five."
"Felicity and Oliver don't know where they're going," added Emily Bett Rickards, "so I don't want to know either."
"Arrow" returns to the CW on Wednesday, October 5.