Arrow season 4 spoilers below.
Weren’t we just talking about an Arrow season 4 trailer?
Yes, we were. There’s a new one now because that’s how the CW rolls these days. Haven’t you been paying attention to how many Flash season 2 trailers there have been so far?
So, what new information do we learn about Arrow season 4?
-Things are going so well with Oliver and Felicity that he’s on the verge of proposing to her before Thea and Laurel show up for a “Just when I think I’m out, they pull me back in” moment.
-The new big bad is magic. No, seriously, Neal McDonough’s Damien Darhk has straight up magical powers, or at least appears to since at one point he pulls a Matrix and stops an arrow in mid-air through the sheer force of his will. Whoa. You might think there’s more to it than that (strategically placed magnets, maybe?), but executive producer Wendy Mericle told THR, “We are introducing new elements to the show this year with magic and mysticism. And the presence of Damien Darhk and the threat that that exerts on the city is going to be significant.”
-Diggle’s still ever so pissed at Oliver for abducting his wife last year during that big undercover mission of his which only Malcolm Merlyn knew about. Oliver literally taking a bullet for him, as we see in the trailer, might help with that, but Diggle’s next line might just be, “This doesn’t change anything between us,” before Oliver shrugs and complains, “Geese, you kidnap a best friend’s wife and threaten to kill her the one time and you never live it down.”
Boom goes the trailer:
But wait, there’s more. EW’s Natalie Abrams talked to the show’s producers about the new season and learned this:
Let’s have fun again –
“Ever since Slade Wilson came to town around [season 2, episode 15], the show has been on this very, very dark path, leading to Sara’s [Caity Lotz] death and the culmination of season 3,” executive producer Marc Guggenheim tells EW. “Our goal was to return the show more in the tone of the first season-and-a-half.”
Different, but kind of the same –
“It still feels like Arrow, but at the same time, Oliver’s got a new outlook on life,” Guggenheim says. “We’re driving conflict to the show in ways that we never would have in the first three years. So it still feels like , but it’s a different take on the show.”
Damien’s just no good good, and he never will be –
“Unlike previous big bads, who were doing the wrong thing for the right reasons, there’s nothing nearly as redeeming or redemptive in Damien Darhk,” Guuggenheim says. “He’s really pure evil, and he will stop at nothing to achieve his ends.”
That’s been a common talking point this Arrow off-season – the new bad guy will be delightfully uncomplicated in how evil he is. It reminds me how Vampire Diaries always tries to introduce big bads who seem one-note at first but then become well-rounded, to the point that two of their initial villains now have their own show. Eventually, an uncomplicated, purely evil bad guy might seem refreshing in how one-note he is, or so the thinking goes.
Team Diggle has been fighting Damien the whole time Oliver’s been gone –
“We’re gonna learn that this villain has been operating in town for the past three months,” Guggenheim continues. “Team Arrow has basically been trying to keep [him] at bay, but then something happens in the season premiere that’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back and it prompts Laurel [Katie Cassidy] and Thea [Willa Holland] to go find Oliver and get him to return.”
A lighter Oliver? –
“We played him as a guy who was returning home from war with PTSD for the first three years,” Guggenheim says. “Now he’s put those demons to rest, or so he thinks, and there’s a lightness to him as a result of all the things he learned last year.”
Diggle’s dead brother will be avenged –
Deadshot killed Diggle’s brother, but Deadshot was hired by H.I.V.E. to do it. Damien Darhk runs H.I.V.E. Ergo, Diggle and Damien won’t be fast friends.
Felicity will not be defined solely by her relationship with Oliver –
It was slightly odd to see Felicity, the girl who was once furious at Oliver for circumventing her career by pulling her out of IT and dumping her at a desk to be his glorified secretary, instantly quit her dream job and run away with Oliver at the end of season 3 even though she had no idea where they were going. But the heart wants what the heart wants, and the producers promise that while she’s in love and finally with Oliver that won’t be the end all, be all for her this season.
“She’s going to encounter some unexpected challenges, but it gives us a chance to really show a different side of Felicity. She’s still her funny, quirky, idealistic self, but she’s also now the CEO of a corporation and she’s also now going to have to be strong, confident and imaginative in addition to her already wonderful qualities.”
Also, Thea will get to play the game of trying to keep her crime fighting a secret from her new love interest (the always delightful Parker Young), Sara’s resurrection will differ from Thea’s because she’s so much deader at this point than Thea was prior to her dip in the magical hot tub, and Black Canary will be awesome before Sara’s return totally confuses her and everyone else. Oh, yeah, there will be more Green Lantern easter eggs with no promise of anything beyond that.
It all sounds perfectly fine to me, although I have my reservations about the magic. I am curious to see how Starling City reacts to having the Arrow running around probably right around the same time Oliver Queen returns to town. He has been accused and exonerated of being the Arrow twice, but surely if he just comes back and puts on the hood again people will ask, “Oh, come on. He clearly has something to do with this.” Also, the new trailer hammers home the idea of there being a difference between Oliver as the Arrow and Oliver as Green Arrow, that he will become a hero, not just a vigilante. I’ll be interested to see how exactly they make a distinction between the two beyond a costume change, eventual name change and continued philosophy of not killing anyone. It seems to me that he’ll simply be a kindler, gentler vigilante, but a vigilante nonetheless. I’m sure it’s more about the personal toll the job takes on him, and how this new version of things won’t murder his soul all the time.
We’ll find out when Arrow returns Oct. 7.