When Team Arrow returns for Season 6, the series will attempt to top Prometheus -- the villain who blew up all of Oliver's friends -- with the introduction of its biggest bad yet. At Comic-Con International, Arrow executive producers Wendy Mericle and Marc Guggenheim weighed in which characters are returning, how Oliver's son William will affect the show, and how they plan to bring the first four-episode crossover to the CW this fall.
"[Season 6's] theme is family," Mericle said. "The last thing we saw was Oliver reunited with his son under pretty tragic circumstances. For us, going forward, thinking about ‘what is the challenge we haven’t seen a superhero go through on any of these shows’ is them being a parent. I can’t tell you exactly how that’s going to shake out but I can tell you he’s going to learn about being a father." Guggenheim added, "There are several different forms of family. There’s the biological nuclear family. There’s also found families. Last year we really spent the whole season building up this new iteration of Team Arrow. Last year we built a car, this season we really take it out for a spin."
"We’ve spent a lot of time in the writer’s room talking about Oliver’s relationship with William and the potential pitfalls that surround that," Guggenheim said of how the series will handle the subject of Oliver's 12-year-old son, who was last seen on the boat with Oliver in the Season 5 finale. "It was scary to us, because you’ve got a character who’s all about running around punching and killing people. What’s he going to be like as a dad? The way we chose to address this creative challenge was to really tell the story of Oliver and not shy away from the fact that Oliver does have this dual identity. We’re not moving away from it, we’re actually heading towards it."
Asked how they plan to top Prometheus, Oliver's most personal and visceral villain to date, they responded by first repeating the question. "How do we top Prometheus? I ask myself that question every day," Guggenheim said. "I'm a big believer that you always try to swing for the fences. At the same time, the more you make it about the fence swinging the more you take your eye off the ball. I think a big part of Arrow is, every year to varying degrees we always put the characters through some kind of grinder. What made Prometheus' character -- apart from Josh [Segura’s] incredible performance -- was we really put Oliver through the meat grinder."
"It’s going to be the biggest of all big bads, I can say that," Mericle opined about Season 6's main villain. "I’m going to be very cagey about that one, sorry." Guggenheim added, "We’ve got some pretty cool meat grinder moments planned for the season. Hopefully we’ll be here next year and you guys will be asking, ‘How do you top so and so?’ The big creative choice that we made was, this year, the consequences have to be felt not just by Oliver but by the entire team. That’s a big part of the engine that drives Season 6."
"We really are just focusing on the elements that worked last year," Guggenheim promised. "The gritty crime stories, the grounded tone."
"We’re going to really double down on that this year," Mericle added. "What we found we really do really well is gritty crime drama with a little bit of levity with Curtis and Felicity. I think it was pretty successful in Season 5."