Arrow Producers Clarify the Status of Flashbacks

Don't say goodbye to Arrow's flashbacks just yet. In a new behind-the-scenes featurette for Arrow's upcoming season, executive producers Wendy Mericle and Marc Guggenheim explained Season 6's approach to flashbacks and how they will look different from previous seasons.

"We're not eliminating flashbacks. We're eliminating what we call the 'serialized flashback story,' which was, you know, we're telling a five-year story of Oliver," Guggenheim explained. "I think all of us, including Greg Berlanti, we were all very much in agreement that no, this was always designed to be a five-year story with the flashbacks. Let's honor that. Let's end the flashbacks as we always intended to, which would be with Oliver running through the forest like we met him in the pilot, firing that arrow, lighting that bonfire and that's the end of the flashbacks."

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"And you do have more time and real estate in the episodes themselves, so we'll be able to break form and maybe tell someone else's flashbacks, tell origin stories in a different way, which would be really cool to tell, other character stories, which is very exciting, and the episodes where we don't have them at all, you're able to explore stories and explore character and you just have a lot more time," Mericle added.

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Mericle is likely referring to Deathstroke here, as the character will have his own two-episode story arc this season. “We’re doing a cool two-parter where the flashbacks will be from Slade’s perspective,” Guggenheim said in an earlier interview, revealing that the episodes will be the fifth and sixth installments of the upcoming season.

Back in April, Mericle suggested that the flashbacks wouldn't be gone for good in Season 6. "The flashbacks have worked so well on the show, they’re not going to be gone forever,” she teased at the time. “We’re obviously not going to be going back to Lian Yu and we’re not going to be telling the story of the five years that Oliver was gone, but we might get some glimpses into the backstories of other characters, which would be really fun.” Per her comments above, this will definitely be the case.

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Since the series debut, Arrow has employed the use of flashbacks in order to show Oliver’s time on the island. As viewers came to learn, Oliver didn’t spend all five years on Lian Yu; he went to Japan, Russia and even back to Star City at one point. However, the flashbacks served to show how Oliver became the sharp-shooting vigilante he was in the series premiere. Fittingly, these "serialized" flashbacks will draw to end in the series’ fifth season, thus wrapping up the five years that Oliver was missing and presumed dead.

Starring Stephen Amell as the Emerald Archer, Arrow returns Thursday, October 12 at 9pm ET/PT on The CW. The series also stars Emily Bett Rickards, David Ramsey, Willa Holland and more.

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