As we try to wait out the remaining seven weeks without Arrow on our television screens, we’re like a hawk when it comes to spoilers and teases that are making it near impossible to get through these next six Wednesdays without a new episode.
Arrow executive producer Wendy Mericle spoke to Collider about what lies in store for season four, including the new dynamic between Oliver and Felicity, the new Team Arrow, and the looming threat of one Damien Darhk.
Something fans are excited to see when the show returns in October is how Oliver and Felicity have been doing away from Star(ling) City for five months as they explore their new relationship. From all of the previous teases we’ve gotten, the happy couple are indeed “happy” when we’re reunited with them, as well as when they return home.
But we know that nothing stays happy and care-free on Arrow forever — or for an entire season premiere, let’s be honest — so there will be challenges for Oliver and Felicity in season four.
“They come back in a happy place,” Mericle said. “One of the things that we’re excited about is that we really want to explore them being together and in a good place, at the top of the season, but there are challenges. It’s not going to be easy. We’re interested in seeing how the relationship weathers those storms and how they influence the people around them.”
But the great thing about the challenges they’ll be facing are that they are challenges that any couple faces. So we’ll actually get to see Oliver and Felicity working together and being a couple, and that’s a dynamic that is incredibly appealing.
“They’re both soldiers, essentially, just in different ways,” Mericle said. “She’s a bad-ass on her own. She’s been attacked and she’s put her life at risk. The other piece of it is, how do you maintain any sense of normalcy? Any couple that works together, I don’t know how they do that. Everything you have at home comes into the workplace. Hopefully, we’ll have fun with that, this year. If they’re having a fight, how will the team members react?”
As for how being in a relationship with Felicity has affected Oliver, Mericle said that he’s in “a much happier place” when he returns to Star(ling) City. In fact, Oliver has been inspired in a way in regards to his legacy.
"He has renewed faith," she said. "His returning from being a soldier of war with PTSD has all been closed off and finished, by the end of Season 3. He’s done dealing with his family’s legacy and is really looking towards what his is going to be. That’s an interesting, different place for him to be."
While Oliver's relationship with Felicity is going strong, his relationship with Diggle is in need of some serious repair. When we pick up with season four and when Oliver and Felicity return to Star(ling) City, Mericle said not to expect Oliver and Dig to hug it out. Diggle is still distraught over Oliver's betrayal, and the two will be working on repairing their relationship this season, though it won't be easy.
"Dig has a huge bone to pick with Oliver when they see each other again, at the top of Season 4," she said. "We’re gonna work that out. It’s not gonna be easy. With what happened to Dig’s family, it’s really tough to buy that back, and Oliver is not gonna to be able to. Obviously, they can’t be mad at each other forever, or what are we doing? But also, in the intervening months while Oliver has been gone, Dig has, more or less, been leading the team. It’s a little bit more democratic, Speedy and Black Canary are both super bad-ass and kicking butt. He’s not happy, when he and Oliver meet again. It’s not an open-armed, 'Hey, buddy, all is forgiven,' reunion."
One of the intriguing things about season four is that the big bad of the year is going to be introduced, if spoilers are any indication, in the season premiere, unlike previous seasons where the big bad was brought into the story fully in the midseason finale.
Damien Darhk is an anomaly when it comes to Arrow villains, in regards to his intentions, which are "pure evil."
"If you start to break it down, they’re the villains, but they’re the heroes of their own story and you understand why they’re doing what they’re doing," Mericle said. "Damien doesn’t have that. Damien is just pure evil. We wanted to explore that. We’ve never really done a sociopath on the show, and that’s what we’re exploring this year. That’s why we’re introducing him so fast and early in the season."
You can read the full interview at Collider.
Arrow season 4 premieres Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 8/7c on The CW.