Time for some Rampant Speculation – based on some evidence, anyway. I’ve got a crazy theory about next season of Arrow, and I think I might be right. The folks behind Arrow and Flash have managed to pull some crazy ideas in the past, but this one would be – well, ok, I’m starting to sound like a Buzzfeed article here. Just click the jump and we’ll get into it. Spoilers for Arrow and Flash.
Here’s my theory – the next season of Arrow will be a hard reboot. Same cast, but different situations and possibly completely different personalities. This may not last the whole season, but it will last at least the first story arc. Let’s look at why:
The entire idea of the next season of Arrow being a complete reboot comes from two sources – behind the scenes info and what’s actually happened in both shows. Let’s start with the former – there’s three comments to pay attention to. First, Greg Berlanti’s comments that next season of Arrow would have a lighter tone:
“[Season 4] will take a lighter tone. That’s pretty much the only thing I say without spoiling it. We’ve been working for about a month now in the writer’s room, talking about season 4, and I think that one thing we all collectively understood was season 3 beginning with Sara’s death, because it’s the death of a major character in the show, it set the tone for the remainder of the season. And I’m not the least bit apologetic for that tone. I happen to like dark and I like the fact that Arrow is a pretty dark show particularly for a network show. That said, every year you want to mix things up and there was sort of a collective desire on all our parts to try to inject a little bit more lightness into the show, a little but more humor. It’s not going to radically change. The show’s still going to be the show but in terms of tone, we’re coming off a very, very hard season for all of our character. We wanted to try to mix it up a little bit.”
Ok, but that just sounds like the show’s taking a slight shift in tone. Nothing too crazy. But now let’s take a look at Stephen Amell’s comments:
“Arrow is done. No more Arrow suit. I’ve worn it for the last time.“
A lot of people on the internet are taking this to mean that Stephen will be back next season as Green Arrow, finally. And I agree that’s what it means, but not how you might think. Let’s take another look at this year’s season finale:
The finale of Arrow season three felt more like a series finale. Almost every loose end was tied up – Oliver made a decision about who he would be, left the city in the hands of his team, and rode off into the sunset with the love of his life. This could be a funeral for the series previous direction, certainly. But it could also be a send off for all of these characters before we come back with brand new versions. This way, we leave the characters we came to know and love through three seasons with a satisfying ending, while we move on into a brand new universe. It’s a lot like how DC ended most of their major comic storylines right before the huge reboot of the New 52.
Still, none of this definitively points to the show going full reboot next season. Except for one major thing – Arrow has been in an alternate timeline this entire time.
Stay with me here. In this season of The Flash, it was revealed that the entire show was the result of Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash, meddling with the time stream and murdering Barry’s mother when he was a child. In the season finale, Barry went back to try and fix this, but ended up letting it happen at the behest of his future self.
But then Eddie Thawne shot himself to stop the Reverse Flash. He erased Eobard Thawne from existence, therefore erasing the Reverse Flash, which means no one goes back in time to kill Barry’s mother – and you see where this is going. The Flash has massively altered its own timeline, and Arrow and The Flash live in the same universe. After Barry fixes the singularity by running really fast (I love comic book logic), he’s going to find himself in a world that he may not recognize at all. But Barry may remember his past and what’s been changed, the folks over in Starling City certainly won’t.
That means next year, it’s a brand new world for Arrow.
This leaves us open to a lot of possibilities. Tommy Merlin could return from the dead – we already know Sara Lance will. Thea could still be Speedy, but a sidekick that’s been brought into the Arrow’s team from the beginning. And Oliver, in a different world, could have taken on the mantle of the Green Arrow.
There’s a couple of things that stand in the way of this theory. The first is that Greg Berlanti specifically said the show will not “radically change.” An alternate universe is pretty radical. Still, if I was going to do that big of a change I’d probably lie through my teeth about it. So it’s still possible. The other is the first trailer for Legends of Tomorrow, which clearly shows everybody in the same world with nothing having changed. But it’s already been confirmed that the trailer was mostly shot as a promo piece, and won’t necessarily have anything to do with the show or it’s final look.
So is it possible next season of Arrow will be completely new? I certainly think so – although, given that this is Rampant Speculation, I won’t be surprised if I’m wrong, too.