Mericle Calls Arrow's 100th Episode a 'Love Letter to the Show'

This fall, "Arrow" will cross a major milestone: its 100th episode. Over the course of the series so far, Oliver Queen and his band of vigilantes have come up against super science and magic, but this particular episode will be a first in a few ways. That is to say, "Arrow's" 100th episode lands smack dab in the middle of The CW's four-show crossover, which puts an alien invasion and an inter-dimensional crossover on the horizon.

At the celebration for this milestone, executive producer Wendy Mericle spoke to CBR about finding a balance between "Arrow's" legacy and the crossover event, the future of the show, Green Lantern Easter eggs, female super-villains and more.

The big crossover between The CW's four DCTV shows will have aliens and metahumans, but "Arrow" Season 5 has really been about getting back to basics and street-level violence. How did you balance those two aspects in your approach to the 100th episode?

You really nailed the essential question of this episode, and also it's the 100th and we wanted it to be very nostalgic and very much about the DNA of "Arrow," of the show when it started. We feel really lucky. We found a way to balance the fact that we do now live in a world where there are metas and there are aliens. Greg Berlanti came up with this brilliant way of accomplishing that and making it very much a love letter to the fans and to the show.

In an earlier interview, you said "Arrow" would be "reinvented" after Season 6. What do you envision for the future of the show?

I did! I think that's an excellent question. I think that we've closed a chapter here in [Seasons] 1 through 5, and it's very much been about Oliver looking back at his legacy and his family and where he's come from. I think Season 6 and onward is going to be him thinking about who is he and where he's going. Where does he go from here? And he has got a whole new team of people now to work with, and I think that will be a big part of it as well.

What would you call Oliver's legacy now that he has this whole new team?

This idea that really attracted to me to the show was this idea that Oliver Queen speaks for people who have no voice, and I think ultimately -- when Oliver looks back at what he's done -- that's what his biggest legacy will be, that there are people in the city that don't have a voice, that don't have power and don't have the abilities that the Green Arrow has and he's their defender. He's the one who speaks for them.

Are we going to see Oliver get a little more involved in his politics?

He's going to grow into being the mayor, and I think the thing that's interesting is we've had Oliver try so many different jobs: CEO, various positions that he more or less could blow off. I think the thing about being a politician, which really does speak to these ideals that he holds. I think he's going to engage it and I think he's going to become more intrigued by the power and the possibility of what that role will have for him.

Thea is really running the show for Oliver right now. Are we going to see her step back a little?

She's kind of running the show right now. She's Hillary Clinton! [laughs] She might be running it in five years. No, I think Thea has found a place in this that also honors her legacy and speaks to her trying to do something for her whole family, but Oliver is the mayor. He was the one who was elected, and I think -- for the first few episodes of the season -- he's really enamored with this idea of, "Oh, well, I could be much more effective as Green Arrow than I can as the mayor." So that's going to change!

This season, Carly Pope plays Susan Williams, who is part of the Green Lantern mythology. Was it a deliberate choice to use someone from Green Lantern?

One of the fun parts of the show is that you can put these characters in and the Easter eggs and the fans that know this universe so well respond to it on varying levels of excitement and whatnot, but the thing about her character that's so intriguing is that it operates on that level. It also operates because she's someone who's very intrigued by Oliver, who's going to uncover some secrets that Oliver has, which is going to be really fun, and is a fun nod to the Green Lantern, who obviously we could never bring on the show.

I mean, at the same time, we never thought we'd get aliens, so…

This is 100% true! I mean, really Season 6 and on, all bets are off, right? [laughs]

Are there any corners of the DC Universe that you haven't touched yet that you'd like to bring onto the show?

I think so! I'd really like to see some strong female supervillains on the show. I don't know who we would want to get! There's such an embarrassment of riches in that respect in the DCU, but that's something I would definitely love to do.

Well, Ruve Adams was a very effective villain!

She was a badass! She was great! I agree! But I'd like to use someone like, I don't know, Poison Ivy, a Batman villain who would be amazing. Someone in that vein, but someone in the Green Arrow universe would be fantastic.

We've seen some Batman villains on the show, like Ra's al Ghul. Is there any chance we could get someone from another DC pantheon?

There's always a chance. You know, it's one of those things where, if the story presents itself, you never know. We really want to bring Huntress back.

Any chance she could join Team Arrow?

We would love that! She's fantastic. But again, it's always about whether it's right for the direction or whether it's right for the story at that point in the series, so we'll see.

Could describe the 100th episode in a few words?

Love letter to the show!

Starring Stephen Amell as the Emerald Archer, "Arrow" airs Wednesdays at 8 pm ET/PT on The CW. The series also stars Emily Bett Rickards, David Ramsey, John Barrowman, Willa Holland and more.

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