Speculation about Season 5 of Arrow is hitting the internet faster than Oliver Queen at archery practice. Just recently, we've learned that Madison McLaughlin will return in the role of Artemis and that the Black Canary's legacy will have a vital impact on Star City throughout the next season, but there's a still a lot we don't know.
One particularly cryptic message tweeted by Arrow stunt guru and director James Bamford fanned the flames of speculation further, leading many to believe that another DC superhero would be joining the show in Season 5;
This alone probably doesn't mean a lot to fans, but the fact that CW have also announced the arrival of a new series regular called James kick started a whole wave of rumors regarding the Spectre, an otherworldly spirit who's a key part of the supernatural side of the DC Universe.
What makes you think this could be referring to the Spectre?
Collider were the first to suggest that the occult hero could appear on Arrow, pointing out that the Spectre is regularly referred to as 'The Spirit of Vengeance' when not using his human name, James Corrigan.
There's even precedence for this, as detective James Corrigan appeared on NBC's Constantine before it was cancelled, which just so happened to star John Constantine before he crossed over to Arrow. Spectre's links to the Justice Society of America and their recent introduction into the Flarrowverse also add some weight to this hypothesis.
So why can't the new character in Season 5 be the Spectre then?
Spectre is an incredibly powerful, god like being who makes Damien Darhk look like a small child in comparison. People working on the show responded to criticism that Arrow ventured too far into magical territory by declaring that Season 5 will take a back-to-basics approach, so The Spirit of Vengeance is the last character that the writers would consider using.
Of course, Spectre could be de-powered somehow to ensure that he fits in better with the general tone of the Flarrowverse, but it's far more likely that the name James is simply a double-cross, a pseudonym used by the writers to ensure an air of mystery remains before Season 5 returns this fall.
So if it's not Spectre, who could Bamford be referring to?
Bamford's tweet featuring the word "vengeance" could still be important; Amell recently revealed in an interview that someone will appear soon who we haven't seen for two full seasons, so it would make sense that this returning character may be seeking vengeance for being wronged earlier on in the show.
Of course, that opens up a ridiculous number of possibilities. Ollie clashed with a huge number of foes over the course of the first two seasons, but the majority of them are now dead thanks to the vigilante's loose morals back when he first started fighting crime.
Who's the main contender?
If you break down Oliver's main adversaries from the first two seasons of Arrow, the one who would be most obviously driven to wreak vengeance is Wilson Slade, who was last seen abandoned on a deserted island. Deathstroke has always blamed Oliver for everything that's gone wrong in his life and now he'll be more determined than ever to seek revenge.
The only issue with the theory is Amell's wording: the actor claimed that this returning character hasn't been seen for two full seasons and Slade did appear briefly in Season 3, but there's always a chance that he just means two seasons will have passed.
The return of Deathstroke could be a huge boon to the show, which has suffered a critical backlash since Slade was initially defeated at the end of Season 2.
Ok, so if it's not Deathstroke, who does that leave?
We don't know yet exactly how the events of The Flash's Season 2 finale will affect Oliver and co, but now that the whole timeline is potentially in disarray, it would be easy for the writers of Arrow to resurrect former enemies from Season 2, such as Bronze Tiger or even Isabel Rochev.
Who says that this "James" character will definitely be male?
Personally, we would love to see China White return as one of the big bads of Season 5. After all, her criminal background and non super-powered abilities would fit perfectly with the new direction that Arrow will supposedly take.
While the Triad assassin did appear in Season 3 flashbacks, the last we saw of China White was her being taken into custody in the season before, making it extremely easy to reintroduce her into the show.
Who do you think will return in Season 5 of Arrow to seek revenge against Ollie?