SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for "Inmate 4587," the Arrow Season 7 premiere.
Arrow Season 7 is taking a page out of Lost's book. "Inmate 4587," the season premiere, introduced flash forwards in the form of William's journey to Lian Yu, where he encountered a much older version of Roy "Arsenal" Harper.
With a heavy gray filter to indicate the time change, the Season 7 premiere flashed forward to a man -- later revealed to be William -- on a boat on his way to Lian Yu. When the captain dropped him off, William told him he wasn't coming back if he wasn't heard from in 10 days. The captain dismissed him and pulled away, leaving William on the island alone.
As William explored the island, he passed several landmarks familiar to longtime Arrow fans. For instance, the boat sailed past the wreckage of the Amazo and William later paid a visit to the grave of his grandfather, Robert Queen. After night fell, William couldn't see where he was going and stepped right into a trap, which left him hanging upside down from a tree. The man who set the trap quickly appeared and knocked William out, even as he tried to explain why he was there.
Later, William woke up next to a fire as his captor loomed over him. "You knew my father," he explained, leading the man to remove his hood, revealing an aged Roy Harper underneath. To prove his story, William produced the carved arrowhead Oliver gave to Thea, who later gave it to Felicity, who -- in return --passed it onto William during a present day scene in the premiere.
According to new showrunner Beth Schwartz, the flash forwards pick up 20 years in the future, aging William up to be in his early 30s; the time jump would also put Roy in his 50s, which explains the graying hair and wrinkles. "Now with the flash-forwards, you’re able to see what is happening in the present day, [and] how that affects the characters in the future,” she told TVLine.
"I could give you an hour to guess, to pontificate as to what he’s going to be doing, and none of you would get it," Amell told reporters at Comic-Con International in San Diego -- and, for many, it seems he was correct. With a setup like this, it would appear that William is seeking to either learn more about his father or receive training to become a hero like him.
Airing Mondays at 8 pm ET/PT on The CW, Arrow stars Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, David Ramsey as John Diggle, Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak, Rick Gonzalez as Wild Dog, Echo Kellum as Mr. Terrific, Juliana Harkavy as Black Canary and Katie Cassidy as Black Siren.