The Arrow season 6 finale wiped the slate clean unlike anything the show has ever done before. That makes Arrow Season 7 an unprecedented enigma. But back at SDCC we spoke to the creative team and cast of the series. Here’s what we learned…
Six months have passed since the season 6 finale
In that time, Oliver has gone to prison and hasn’t seen his son William at all. “Certain people are in protective custody,” David Ramsay teased. “That’s all I can say.” We’re going to take a wild guess that’s William, though it sounds like he’s not alone – does this mean the return of Raisa? The team has had to pay their respects to Quentin and continue the search for Ricardo Diaz all on their own.
Well, not entirely. Diggle is still with Argus, and pretty high up – though not as high up as Lyla, who’s still in charge. Those Argus resources come in handy. “We used some Argus resources to try to track down Diaz,” Ramsay says. “There are some repercussions to that, there are some governmental repercussions. Argus is a governmental agency, and they have to answer to some people.”
Speaking of David Ramsay, Diggle and Oliver are apparently in a good place – or as good of a place as you can be when one of you is in prison – having made up since their brutal arguments in season 6.
The rest of the team is still fractured and was at least referred to more or less along NTA/OTA lines, but Juliana Harkavy stressed that both teams are acutely aware of the sacrifice Oliver made for them. Rick Gonzalez said Rene is, “sad that Oliver’s in prison and wishes it probably was him in prison,” and David Ramsay echoed that sentiment, calling Oliver the “sacrificial lamb.” The deal he made with Agent Watson was that he would go to prison and the others would give up their masks and their alternate identities, in exchange for immunity for everyone else.
Oliver is not doing well
Straight from the man himself, Oliver is handling just about everything “badly…there’s nothing about him in the premiere that’s heroic.” He’s handling prison badly. He’s handling Diaz’s escape at the end of the season 6 finale badly. He hasn’t interacted with William at all, and he’s just trying to keep his head down in prison. In the season 7 premiere, Oliver finally gets a lead on Diaz’s whereabouts, “but he gets it because he gets the shit kicked out of him.”
No one ever thought that millionaire playboy Oliver Queen going to jail was going to be a walk in the park, but it sounds like Arrow is going to really put him through his paces. Everyone is being pretty tight-lipped about how long Oliver will stay in jail, with Amell always saying if Oliver ever gets out of prison, and if he ever gets to meet Batwoman. This sort of thing usually only lasts the length of an episode, but I never expected the OTA/NTA schism to be a season-long arc, so maybe they’ll surprise us and keep Ollie in prison until somebody does something wild – like say, Argus reassembling the Suicide Squad.
Oliver is on a journey toward redemption
Season 6 focused on stripping Oliver down and laying his flaws (and secrets) bare. Arrow Season 7 will focus thematically on redemption, for Oliver and everyone else. It seems Oliver has a long way to go, for both of his identities.
So often on Arrow it has felt like if only everyone knew Oliver’s secret, all of his strange behavior would make sense and they would forgive him. His tardiness to meetings in times of crisis as mayor was always redeemed by our knowledge that as the Green Arrow, he was late because he was chasing down a lead or taking on the big bad. Perhaps the bleakest realization for Oliver Queen heading into this season might be the realization that Star City finally knows his secret, but they still didn’t forgive him and sent him to prison anyway.
Oliver’s not the only one looking for redemption. Rene certainly feels guilty for how things went down last season and will be looking for his own way to interpret Oliver’s charge to keep fighting. Dinah will be reexamining some of her prior stances in light of Quentin’s death and Oliver’s sacrifice, and continuing to realize the importance of relying on a team rather than being a lone wolf. Discussing that inner push and pull, Julianna Harkavy shared that, “[Dinah’s] instinct is to lean on herself and she always struggles with a team and having a boss…I think she’s realizing that she does want a group around her, she does want a team.”
Perhaps this theme of growth will carry over to Black Siren and their interactions. “I do think that the death of Quentin gave her a little bit more empathy,” Harkavy says. “She’s not her favorite person, for sure, but I think somewhere in her there’s growth there. She’s evolving towards forgiveness.” When it comes to Dinah and Black Siren, that’s practically friendship bracelet territory.
Oliver will take on old enemies
In spite of Laurel’s canary cry, Ricardo Diaz is still alive. For the first time, Arrow is carrying over a major villain from one season to the next without redeeming or downgrading them in some way, like they did with Malcolm Merlyn. “It’s definitely really exciting, because we’ve never done that before. We’re continuing a villain from season six, it’s an unfinished story, to season seven,” Showrunner Beth Schwartz says. “What I can tell you is, he’s going to be different than when we saw him last season.” It sounds like we’ll have to wait and see what, exactly, that means.
The Green Arrow has delivered a ton of people to the criminal justice system over the past six seasons – that is, when he wasn’t killing them, of course. Now that he’s in jail, he will have to face some of those people from his past. The three that WB has announced so far are Ben Turner/Bronze Tiger (Michael Jai White), Derek Sampson (Cody Runnels), and Danny “Brick” Brickwell (Vinnie Jones).
In Beth Schwartz’s words, “They’re definitely going to make sure his life is a living hell in there.” It’s a good thing the trailer shows Ollie getting even more swole than usual, because he’s going to need it. Maybe it’s time to add a few more scary survival gang affiliations?
It’s not just the Green Arrow who has to watch his back
But it won’t just be Oliver fending off old enemies. Ollie is the one who stared into television cameras and declared that he was the Green Arrow, but his friends’ covers are blown now too. It turns out not everyone the Green Arrow took on is dead or still in prison. As Producer, Director, and former stunt coordinator James Bamford shared at SDCC, the team on the outside will be running into some familiar faces, and they won’t necessarily all be friendly. On the positive side, we already know we have Roy Harper to look forward to, and it will be interesting to see how the writers bring him back without Willa Catha, who’s been written off the show.
To make matters worse, as the trailer has shown, the anti-vigilante law is still in full effect. Team Arrow will have found themselves rapidly adjusting to a new world with a lot more scrutiny.
Oliver charged his friends with specific requests at the end of last season, and when season 7 opens, “all of our characters are in a new role and trying to figure out how to save the city and honor Oliver’s requests in the end of season six,” says Schwartz.
New players are on the board
Of course, it wouldn’t be Star City without a few new faces to liven up the joint. We heard a bit about the Longbow Hunters at the end of season 6, and they will come into play in season 7. Since episode 702 is called Longbow Hunters, it sounds like we won’t have to wait long to meet them. The three that we know of so far are: Red Dart (Holly Elissa), “a ruthless and precise killer,” Kodiak (Michael Jonsson), “a beast of a man with brute force,” and Silencer (Miranda Edwards), “a master of stealth.”
There will also be more comical characters, which might be a relief to some after how tough it was to watch Diggle and Ollie go for the throat in a few of those fights. Last but certainly not least, Batwoman will be making her highly anticipated debut during December’s Arrowverse crossover event/backdoor Batwoman pilot, which will air in December.
Arrow Season 7 returns to the CW Monday nights on Oct. 15. We have everything else you need to know about the new season right here.