During this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Arrow executive producers Wendy Mericle and Marc Guggenheim teased the “biggest of all big bads” for the upcoming villain in Season 6. They also touched on how Oliver’s son, William, will affect the story. Not only that they spoke about how they plan on bringing the first four-episode crossover to the CW this fall. They also weighed in on characters who have the potential to return.
The Biggest Of All Big Bads
Mericle also discussed Season 6’s main villain.
It’s going to be the biggest of all big bads, I can say that, I’m going to be very cagey about that one, sorry. We’ve got some pretty cool meat grinder moments planned for the season. Hopefully we’ll be here next year and you guys will be asking, ‘How do you top so and so?’ The big creative choice that we made was, this year, the consequences have to be felt not just by Oliver but by the entire team. That’s a big part of the engine that drives Season 6.
We really are just focusing on the elements that worked last year. The gritty crime stories, the grounded tone.
Mericle chimed in:
We’re going to really double down on that this year, what we found we really do really well is gritty crime drama with a little bit of levity with Curtis and Felicity. I think it was pretty successful in Season 5.
Oliver, William, And Family
[Season 6’s] theme is family, The last thing we saw was Oliver reunited with his son under pretty tragic circumstances. For us, going forward, thinking about ‘what is the challenge we haven’t seen a superhero go through on any of these shows’ is them being a parent. I can’t tell you exactly how that’s going to shake out but I can tell you he’s going to learn about being a father.
There are several different forms of family. There’s the biological nuclear family. There’s also found families. Last year we really spent the whole season building up this new iteration of Team Arrow. Last year we built a car, this season we really take it out for a spin.
On the subject of how the series will handle Oliver’s 12-year-old son, who viewers last saw on the boat with Oliver in the Season 5 finale Guggenheim had this to say:
We’ve spent a lot of time in the writer’s room talking about Oliver’s relationship with William and the potential pitfalls that surround that. It was scary to us, because you’ve got a character who’s all about running around punching and killing people. What’s he going to be like as a dad? The way we chose to address this creative challenge was to really tell the story of Oliver and not shy away from the fact that Oliver does have this dual identity. We’re not moving away from it, we’re actually heading towards it.
Then Guggenheim and Mericle switched focus and discussed Prometheus:
How do we top Prometheus? I ask myself that question every day, I’m a big believer that you always try to swing for the fences. At the same time, the more you make it about the fence swinging the more you take your eye off the ball. I think a big part of Arrow is, every year to varying degrees we always put the characters through some kind of grinder. What made Prometheus’ character — apart from Josh Segura’s incredible performance — was we really put Oliver through the meat grinder.
Regarding the upcoming fall crossover, Guggenheim said,
We’re pitching a four show crossover, not a three show crossover that is even bigger than last year, which I think is really saying something. We’ve hit upon an idea that I think is really huge. It has big emotional stakes and is something I think the comic book fans, in particular, will really dig.
We’re not going to be doing the Oliver-centric [flashbacks] anymore, so we have the opportunity to do it from different points of view. Black Siren would definitely be one we want to do on the show.” Mericle also promised “we will see the Vigilante again,” but she did not say if or when he or she will be unmasked. In the comics, Adrian Chase was the Vigilante, but with the Arrowverse’s Chase being Prometheus, literally, anyone could be under the mask.
Dark Archer and Huntress
Asked if John Barrowman was likely to make a return to Arrow and if the Huntress can see a role Guggenheim said:
That’s up to John. We told John when we called him, to tell him about the events of the finale, every single person on all the shows has come back in some shape or form. We’ve got flashbacks, we’ve got time travel, we’ve got parallel universes. Goodbye is never goodbye. He has an open invitation to return to the show any time he wants.
On the subject of the Huntress, Guggenheim added:
I want to say, ‘Absolutely.’ Jessica De Gouw has expressed an absolute willingness to come back. Jessica’s a favorite actor of mine, and the Huntress is a favorite character of mine. I want to make it happen in Season 6. We’ve got some plans for the later half of the year that I think she will fit into really well, so we’ll see.
Of all the speculation of returning characters, we know two are definitely coming back for Season 6, Slade Wilson and Anatoly Knyazev. Mericle touched on Anatoly’s potential for Season 6:
What I can say for sure is, Anatoly left Oliver with a promise last season. He’s going to leave some guys in Star City. Oliver is going to pay for that betrayal. Have we ever left you dangling for more than a season on that stuff,”
Mericle then went on to talk about Slade Wilson’s return:
Whether he’s in present day or flashbacks I will leave to your imagination. I will definitely tell you that we really enjoyed having him back at the end of Season 5. He brings a chemistry and excitement to the set, and the fans love it. We’re excited about having him back.
Arrow returns for its Season 6 premiere on October 12th on the CW. Who do you think the biggest of all big bads could be? I mean we’ve seen Ra’s al Ghul, Deathstroke, and Merlyn. Who could top them?