Literal magic may be out of the picture, but can Arrow Season 5 get the figurative kind back? Our first photos of the October 5 premiere are certainly looking good, as a new dark archer takes center stage, while Oliver faces new bad guys in past and present.
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Just as yesterday brought us a fresh look at The Flash Season 3, so too is Arrow opening the quiver for our first Season 5 footage since Comic-Con 2016. Laurel’s legacy is at last unveiled, while Mayor Queen gets an intimidating new foe and some rough meetings in a new trailer.
The CW’s Arrow has broadened its horizons quite a bit, to begin Season 1 as a loose Batman Begins homage, then spread to superpowers and magic over the next few seasons, though most fans have called for a return to the series’ roots. So it is with Season 5, as producers promise an end to any magical big bads, and a return to the gritty side of superheroes.
Whether or not you buy Joss Whedon hanging around the Arrow-verse, it looks like another Marvel star is making the leap. With Jessica Jones Season 2 off in the distance, Wil Traval will become a Human Target for Arrow’s fifth run, once again trying to protect a brooding hero.
Arrow Season 5 has made clear enough its intent for Oliver to build a new team of heroes, one we thought an some point to include Colton Haynes’ Roy Harper. The actor certainly suggested as much in passing, but certain Scream Queens may have a monopoly on Haynes’ time, preventing an immediate Arrow return.
We’ve known for some time the likelihood that Arrow would end its flashback cycle altogether with Season 5, but however much flack the format gets, they’re going out with bang. Ivan Drago himself, Dolph Lundgren must break the Arrow, guesting as a major new big bad for the season.
Among Arrow struggles in recent seasons, the show’s flashback structure has had increasing difficulty connecting to the present, as one Oliver moves toward the killer vigilante of Season 1, and another moves toward the DC hero we know. Season 5 seems to be tackling that disparity head-on, but even as the landmark fifth year completes Oliver’s exile, producers say Season 6 and beyond may yet utilize the flashback structure.
Yes, where once Arrow Season 4 made us wait months for new footage, Season 5 is already here at Comic-Con 2016, with all-new friends. Oliver tries to assemble a new Team Arrow in the first trailer, as a new big bad looms over Star City, and guess who’s back from the grave to join every DC series at once?
Stephen Amell has promised that Arrow Season 5 will return to the series’ grounded roots, fitting given the end of Oliver’s five-year flashback cycle, and it seems the Green Arrow may appropriately deal with a major fallout of his Hood-ed past. Season 5's big bad has been revealed to result from the series’ early tendency for murder, something that now comes back to haunt Oliver.
Even if Arrow Seasons 3 and 4 had a hard time living up to its first years, Season 5 will at least reach a milestone for the DC drama, to complete the cycle of flashbacks and presumably break new ground. That said, Season 5 has plenty of work ahead in past and present, as a shirtless Stephen Amell gets closer to that island look in a new photo.