Now that Stephen Amell has fulfilled his lifelong ambition to compete in the WWE, his fans can turn their attention back to the CW’s Arrow. While season three was met with a tepid reaction from some fans, it looks as though the coming season, which starts in October, could be a return to the highs of season two. Here are five things I’m looking forward to from the next season.
Beware, the following contains spoilers for past seasons of Arrow and the Flash as well as speculation for the coming season…
5. Neil McDonough
Season Four is adding a new regular character to the show in the form of Neil McDonough’s Damien Darhk. There will be more on Damien further down the list, but as excited as I am for a new villain, the inclusion of Neil McDonough on any series is to be celebrated. If you are unfamiliar with him do yourself a favour and Google his career. You will be surprised by how many films and shows you’ve seen him in.
Most notably he has recently appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Dum Dum Dugan, and his other film credits include Star Trek: First Contact and Minority Report. He gave his best performance to date in FX’s Justified, where he played Robert Quarles. Quarles was the main antagonist in the third season. McDonough’s performance as a calm, well mannered and seriously deranged mob enforcer made this character stand out as one of the series’ greatest villains. McDonough is a fine character actor, so whether he’s playing a heroic World War 2 soldier, or crazed mobster, I know he’s going to deliver, and possibly put in a performance that will revival Manu Bennett’s Slade Wilson.
4. Black Canary and Speedy
Roll the clock back to season one and ask me what I would change about Arrow, and do you know what I’d have said? Cut out Laurel and Thea. It was nothing against either actress, but they would distract Oliver, and take the focus away from his mission. Their subplots were dull, and when the writers were really stuck with what to do with them, one got a drug problem, and the other became an alcoholic.
Then last season, while Oliver was in Nanda Parbat training to join the League of Assassins, Laurel and Thea suddenly became interesting. Laurel, in an effort to live up to her sister’s memory took up her mantle and began training with Wildcat and Nyssa Al Ghul. While Laurel often felt like the Britta of team Arrow, season four will be set months after the finale, and Black Canary will hopefully have become an efficient vigilante by the start of the next episode.
Similarly with Thea, who after being trained by Malcolm Merlyn, picked up her boyfriend’s bow and protected Starling City from Ra’s Al Ghul’s attack. I enjoyed Roy Harper as Oliver’s side-kick, but I am looking forward to this brother and sister super hero dynamic. Roy’s arc always had a melancholic redemption element to it, and I am looking forward to Thea being a hero, not because she has to be, but because she can. Also she took a nap in a Lazarus Pit, so I expect there to be fallout from that misadventure.
Exploring Black Canary and Speedy as vigilantes will remove their O.C-esque angst from the show, and hopefully they can start to be empowered and have their own agency on the show.
The first three seasons have included hints to a villainous group named H.I.V.E. While they were first named in Season 2, the villain Deadshot revealed he was ordered to kill Andy Diggle by this mysterious organisation before the show began.
John Diggle, Oliver’s best friend, mentor and body-guard, has been seeking to discover the truth about his brother’s murder since he first encountered Deadshot. Then last season Ra’s Al Ghul discussed Damien Darhk and mentioned he was the head of his own evil league, or H.I.V.E. Though only a minor character in DC Comic’s history Damien does have ties to this organisation. So with Damien being the focus of season four, Diggle may be taking centre stage as more information about his brother’s murder comes to light.
2. Guest Stars
While we don’t have a trailer yet for the new season, we’ve already got confirmation of a slew of high-profile characters form the DC comic universe, all of whom have even starred in their own comic series from time to time.
First up, replacing Ray Palmer as the shows head scientist is Mr. Terrific of the Justice Society of America. The character’s origin has been tweaked slightly to include a LGBT element to help the show incorporate some diversity. He will be played by Echo Kellum, an actor who I am unfamiliar with, but since it’s rumoured the majority of his screen time will be alongside Felicity it’s likely he’ll share her sense of fast talking humour.
Following the announcement that Hawkgirl will feature prominently in Legends of Tomorrow, it’s not surprising that Hawkman would be far behind. Carter Hall will be played by Falk Hentsche. Comic fans, and those who saw the later seasons of Smallville, will remember that Oliver Queen and Carter Hall do not play well together. In the comics they have opposing political views and have come to blows before. It’s rumoured this season will have a political element to some of the episodes, so it will be interesting to see if that plays a role in their exchanges.
Star Trek’s Jeri Ryan will guest star next year, but even more surprisingly, so will Matt Ryan, star of the recently cancelled Constantine. When rumours of Constantine’s cancellation begun to circulate Amell volunteered to appear in the show if a second season was approved. Unfortunately the devil was not looking to deal, and this time Constantine succumbed to death. Though he will be resurrected in episode five of the new season, for an episode with a strong supernatural feel. I didn’t watch Constantine, though I am excited for his episode, as anything that makes Arrow’s world bigger has got to be a good thing. Hawkman and Constantine are two things I never expected from this “grounded” show, though that brings me to what I am most looking forward to next season.
1. Green Arrow
For me the DCTV panel won Comic Con the moment Stephen Amell arrived on stage and asked us to follow the Green Arrow to Star City. The early episodes of Arrow had a Smallville vibe, and I had this worrying feeling that it was going to be ten seasons before the Hood became anything close to what we wanted him to be. As Oliver began to move towards non-lethal ordinance and took the name Arrow, I wondered if that was the closest the show would get. In season four the wait is over, Starling city and Oliver have both developed into what fans hope they could be. So many comic adaptations fail because the producers are afraid of the source material (look to Hollywood for some recent examples), however the success of the Flash has shown these producers that audiences are not put off by an overtly superhero tone. Barry Allen can be the Flash in season one and he can fight a CGI gorilla. None of this upsets viewers as long as the stories are good and mean something. Like The Flash, Arrow will be embracing he superhero genre, and Oliver Queen will be able to fulfil his destiny with six seasons to spare. I can’t wait.
Those are the things I am most looking forward to for next season, is there anything I’ve not mentioned? What are you looking forward to?