SDCC 2016: ‘Arrow’ Cast Members Discuss Grounded Fifth Season and the Effects of “Flashpoint”

The fourth season of Arrow saw Star City’s emerald archer take down a super villain powered with magical abilities. While Neal McDonough’s performance as the super-powered villain Damien Darhk was enjoyable, his presence made season four feel out of place when compared to the previous three seasons. As season five approaches it’s already been stated numerous times that the show will be more grounded in reality, like it was in the show’s initial seasons.

Recently at San Diego Comic-Con, we had the pleasure of chatting it up with the cast of Arrow, including Stephen Amell, Emily Bett Rickards, David Ramsey, Paul Blackthorne, Willa Holland, and new series regular Echo Kellum, and discussed the grounded state of the upcoming fifth season as well as the personal challenges each of their respective characters will face.

Roundtable Interviews

Green Arrow himself, Stephen Amell, has been the most adamant about taking the series back to its roots. Amell confirms that the upcoming season will be “very grounded and very patient” and also states that this upcoming season will explore Oliver’s relationship with Star City, which he feels is Oliver’s most important relationship.

Oliver’s moral code has been a bit grey recently; for the most part he doesn’t kill, yet the last two seasons saw Oliver kill both Ra’s al Ghul and Damien Darhk. Amell does bring this up and states that the character is more dynamic when he allows himself to kill, yet based off Amell’s statement it’s unclear if the Green Arrow will make this practice a constant.

Being that season five will be the final season of Arrow to contain flashbacks of Oliver’s “five years in hell,” Amell confirms that a lot of questions will be answered about that fifth year before Oliver returned to Starling City. Questions like when did he make his bow, and why did he grow a full beard and look all disheveled in the series’ pilot. Perhaps the biggest confirmation Amell brings is the fact that The Flash‘s “Flashpoint” story arc will affect the world of Arrow. How? We won’t exactly know until the season premieres.

One thing Amell didn’t mention in his interview was the upcoming state of Oliver’s romantic relationship with Felicity. When speaking with Emily Bett Rickards, who plays Felicity Smoak, she confirmed that Olicity is officially over, but the work relationship between the two characters is stronger. Rickards continues to confirm the grounded style of the upcoming season, and even states that Arrow didn’t feel like Arrow when concepts like magic were introduced.

Last season Felicity was indirectly responsible for the destruction of the entire city of Havenrock when she was forced to redirect one of Darhk’s missiles towards a city with a lower population. Rickards states that the guilt Felicity feels over making this decision will be her “crux” in the upcoming season and will continue to affect her going forward. While that may have caused a negative impact on her state, Rickards hopes to see Felicity continue to develop the Palmer tech that cured her paralysis, and help whoever she can.

Felicity isn’t the only character harboring guilt in the upcoming season. David Ramsey confirms that we will continue to see the effects on his character, Diggle, after he killed his younger brother in season four. The effects of this act will continue to weigh on Diggle’s mind. As evident by season four’s finale, Diggle has decided to take some time away from his family, Team Arrow, and Star City altogether. It’s apparent Diggle will deal with his guilt while on a special mission in Chechnya.

On a lighter note, Ramsey confirms that Diggle’s Spartan persona will get an all new helmet and that it will be developed by Cisco Ramon at S.T.A.R. Labs. This was originally hinted at in a crossover episode in The Flash‘s second season. Diggle’s former helmet didn’t do much for him, as it did seem to obstruct much of his vision. His next helmet certainly sounds like an upgrade.

Following the events of season four, former SCPD Captain Quentin Lance also decided to take time away from Star City. One of the most tragic occurrences in season four was the death of Lance’s daughter Laurel, a.k.a. the Black Canary. Like many of the characters in Arrow, Lance will continue to face guilt and grief in season five. Paul Blackthorne, who plays Lance, admits that the character will be in a dark place next time we see him. Blackthorne states Lance “has to do some work on himself” before working his way back into the crazy world of Star City.

With Diggle making a trip to Chechnya and Lance taking his own personal journey, the group will be divided at the beginning of season five. Thea Queen is another character who decided to stay away from the whole superhero lifestyle. Willa Holland, who plays Thea, was sure to mention the “sabbatical” Team Arrow is on, but she also ensures that this season will be about “legacies.” It’s evident in the recently released trailer that Arrow will focus some time on the training of a new batch of Star City heroes that will continue the legacy of the team while the original stays divided.

Unfortunately, Thea couldn’t elaborate on what Amell stated about the effects of “Flashpoint”, but did mention rumors about Colton Haynes’ return to the series as Roy Harper. Recently released set photos have now confirmed that the actor will make an appearance in the upcoming season.

With the start of season five Echo Kellum has been promoted to series regular, and it’s apparent that his character, Curtis Holt, will be more involved with Team Arrow and their exploits. He’ll train alongside Madison McLaughlin’s Artemis and Rick Gonzalez’s Wild Dog. As far as confirmation on whether or not Curtis Holt will become the hero he is in the comics, Kellum could not confirm if the character will go full Mr. Terrific. According to Kellum, we’ll be able to see Holt have some fun and maybe even do some of the acrobatics that were hinted at in season four.

As with most of the cast members, Kellum could not offer up any details on how The Flash‘s “Flashpoint” will affect the world of Arrow, but it certainly seems there will be some consequences from Barry Allen’s actions. The big takeaways we receive from these interviews, other than the effects of “Flashpoint,” are the fact that this season will be more grounded, which every cast member seems to agree on, and that the season’s main villain will be inspired by Oliver Queen’s actions in season one. Stephen Amell was sure to point that out in his interview, and judging from the trailer we might be able to assume that Joe Dinicol’s Ragman will be that villain.

Season five of Arrow will premiere Wednesday, October 5th at 8/7c on The CW.