Arrow season 4 and The Flash season 2 will return from their respective winter breaks with a new focus, according to exec producers Marc Guggenheim and Wendy Mericle.
Although both shows have been on pretty strong form this go around, the debut of Legends of Tomorrow will allow them to re-focus on the threat of their villains, which for Arrow means increased stakes in Damien Darhk's continue assault on Star City.
Speaking to IGN, Guggenheim teased one particular curveball fans can expect in episode 15 of the current season:
The back half of the season, we're pretty much following the same structure that we have in seasons past where obviously the Big Bad gears up. That said, we're going to throw a hard six in episode 15 that I think will surprise people. We're going to do something that's never been done before on Arrow with the Big Bad. 15 is a real game-changer episode for us.
Arrow has taken its villains down various avenues in seasons past, but this twist won't be a death, Guggenheim clarified, and will be a first. Of course, exec producers are rarely immune to hyperbole when promoting their baby, but Arrow's creative juices seem to be flowing in such a way that this "first" could turn out to be something genuinely big.
Guggenheim also acknowledged the widely-held opinion that season 3 saw the show dip in form.
I love Season 3. I know Season 3 gets knocked, but there's a lot of episodes there that I don't think quite get their due -- it ended with this orgy of plot twists, which I love. We went into Season 4 going "we want Season 4 to resonate for reasons other than the plot twists". We want to come in and be very disciplined and tell a different kind of story. Even looking ahead to Season 5, to tempt fate, how's that going to be different?
It's interesting that the creative team view their show as a kind of constantly-evolving beast, that the freedom exists to take a new approach each season. Plot twists can become grating. Sometimes a slow-burn with a big payoff is more satisfying, and hopefully that's what we'll get with Damien Darhk and the grave mystery as season 4 intensifies.
In other news likely to devastate a certain segment of the fandom, Wendy Mericle spoke with TV Line to debunk the popular theory that a paralysed Felicity will take on the identity of Oracle.
That’s something we definitely talked about [doing] with Felicity in the beginning…. But yeah, it will not be Oracle, sadly.
Honestly, this is probably a good thing. Felicity, should she survive, can continue to fulfil an Oracle-esque role within the team, without actually adopting an alias that wouldn't serve any particular purpose or change what she does in any significant way.
Coming more immediately for Arrow is the return of Anarky in the midseason premiere, "Blood Debts", on Weds, Jan 20 at 8pm on The CW. Check out the promo below.
The Flash returns a day earlier, whilst Legends of Tomorrow premieres Thursday, January 21.
What do you think Arrow's big "game-changer" could be?