Though we won't have altogether long until its January 15 return, 'Arrow' season 2 sped through its midseason finale, "Three Ghosts," last night. A number of familiar faces returned to the fold as Starling City's latest big bad was officially revealed, while a certain scarlet speedster met his destiny in a lightning-quick chemical bath. So, what do the 'Arrow' bosses have to say about the big new changes in the back half of season 2?

Speaking with reporters after a screening of "Three Ghosts", executive producers Andrew Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti previewed that Slade Wilson's (Manu Bennett) big return will change things up from the latter half of 'Arrow''s first season approach, as the one-eyed villain seeks his ultimate revenge on Oliver for Shado's death on the island. "This year we've got a two-pronged approach to the bad guy. Oliver knows about the presence of one of the bad guys; it helps us change the rhythm of the back-half of the year from what we may have done last year."

Of course, the reintroduction of Slade atop Brother Blood's ongoing attempt to craft an army of super-soldiers could well steal focus, especially with infamous DC baddie R'as al Ghul waiting in the wings with his League of Assassins, though the producers were careful to tease that certain threads might well push into next season. More immediate fallout will see Roy Harper's (Colton Haynes) newfound empowerment weighing on Oliver, as Oliver is forced to work more directly with the Glades youth to keep him from going down Slade's dark path. As revealed after the screening, both Roy and Slade's inherent anger enabled them to survive the "Mirakuru" injection without the required sedative, for which Oliver will now closely monitor Roy.

And speaking of newfound allies, let's not forget that Barry Allen's happy homecoming quickly dissipated into a flashy explosion at the S.T.A.R. labs particle accelerator, which agitated ambient chemicals in Barry's lab and proved a turn of fate when an unlucky lightning strike sent Barry speeding into the chemical shelf and his ultimate destiny. Producers have since decided to give 'Flash' his own pilot rather than return for the 20th episode of 'Arrow' season 2, though we'll continually hear of Barry's development in the episodes to come. “In the back half of the year, you hear about what happened to him in the way that you’re hearing now about S.T.A.R. labs on the periphery."

"Three Ghosts" also saw Oliver move toward embracing his destiny as a hero, both in his acceptance of a domino mask crafted by Barry Allen to better hide his identity and the forgiving return of Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell), whose death inspired the next phase of Oliver's vigilante crusade in season 1 finale "Sacrifice." Berlanti and Kreisberg revealed that they both had the idea for Donnell to return as the last of Oliver's ghosts, rather than his father as initially conceived, given that Tommy represented the last of Oliver's lingering guilt that kept him firmly in the shadows.

'Arrow' will return on January 15 with "Blast Radius," bringing in 'Firefly' star Sean Maher as DC villain Shrapnel, but in the meantime, what say you? Were you excited to see Slade return in the present day to menace Oliver from the shadows? Could R'as al Ghul be in our future after all? Check out the latest preview for 'Arrow' season 2 below, and tell us in the comments which "Three Ghosts" reveal you're most excited to see pay off in 2014!

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