Fans of Arrow must have been pretty stunned at the season five finale: a massive explosion on the island that Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen had escaped from in the series opener looks like it could have claimed almost the entire cast of characters. No doubt it left viewers wondering who would survive and who would die, and the challenge of dealing with that was certainly felt by the cast (see our video interview with Stephen) and the writers.
“We’ve never done a cliffhanger where we literally leave everybody’s life in jeopardy, hanging by a thread,” notes executive producer Wendy Mericle. “What we can say for sure is that, obviously, the explosion was a big one and we went out with a bang, and that will have consequences. Some will be more serious than others.”
While reluctant to spill the beans, she does agree with the notion that to have everyone survive would be a massive cheat. “We’re aware of that,” she says, “and not everybody’s going to come back.”
The tone of the new season is going to be similar to last year’s: dark, gritty and differentiating itself from the other CW superhero shows The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and the mid-season series Black Lightning. Wendy explains, “The theme will be family, found family, biological family and what the differences between those are. Everybody that comes out of the island will be dealing with that issue on some level, and for those who don’t, there will also be consequences for the survivors.”
There were a lot of rumblings that season six of Arrow would be something of a reboot in that this part of Oliver’s adventures had come to a close. Wendy doesn’t necessarily agree. “We’re not reimagining this show from the ground up, which a reboot implies,” she says. “Season five was very much the end of a chapter, and what we’re doing now in season six is setting up a whole bunch of new questions for the audience and the characters. So a soft reboot, maybe?”
And for those who have enjoyed the crossover storylines between the different superhero shows, a new one will be on the way this season. It’s probably Arrow that has the toughest time dealing with it. “It’s tricky,” Wendy points out. “You’re dealing with three or four different shows, but we have a good writing staff, so everyone’s on the same page. Everyone communicates and it’s sort of exciting. I mean, they can do something on The Flash and we’ll hear about it and it’ll give us something new to play with on Arrow. Or, sometimes it doesn’t fit within our universe, so we address it and align and move on.”
Arrow’s sixth season kicks off on October 12th.