ARROW Post-Mortem: Who Is the Gravestone For?

Surely every ARROW fan out there is clutching their hearts right now.  Just what does that final scene with Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) standing before a gravestone mean?  Who lies in that grave?  Which of our beloved heroes shall fall before the end of the season?  Fans will surely be in a frenzy.  I know I felt a stone-cold clutch of fear as I watched Oliver’s tears and heard his vow for vengeance.  Whoever lies in that grave meant a great deal to him.  

In an effort to provide a few answers, executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Wendie Mercile talked about what is upcoming in Season 4 of ARROW.

Can you talk about that final scene, is someone actually dead? 
MARC:  Yes.  It is not a fake-out.

Do you know who it is?
MARC:  We can’t answer that question.

Is that “6 months from now” in real time?
MARC:  It will be six months in show time. 

When is it going to happen?  Will the characters deal with the fall-out this season?
MARC:  There will be time afterwards.  But we’re not going to tell you when it’s going to happen.  

With the Lazarus Pit a part of things on the show, will the person stay dead?
WENDIE:   They will stay dead.  We want to bring stakes back to the show.  And we will be finding a way to handle the Lazarus Pit portion of Season 3 and Season 4 in a way that I can’t reveal — it will be cool.
MARC:  It’s very organic and it’s very earned.  It’s actually very elegant.

How mad are we going to be about this death?
WENDIE:  That depends.  I don’t know.  Again, we don’t necessarily know who it is right now.  We’re still figuring out the plan for the season.  But we want it obviously to have resonance.  If it doesn’t mean something to the characters, it won’t mean anything to the audience either.  

Is there going to be a lot of question this season about who Oliver feels he is?
MARC:  I think we played that last year.  Last year was like: “Am I the Arrow or am I Oliver Queen?”  This year it’s” “Okay, I’m the Green Arrow and I am Oliver Queen.  How can I be both at the same time?”  

Diggle (David Ramsey) doesn’t seem to have any qualms about killing people — like Oliver did back in the early days.  Is that something that is going to come back around?
MARC:  I think the way gun shots play on the show, it’s very hard to tell who is dead and who is just badly injured.  In our minds, Diggle isn’t really killing anybody.  

How long is it going to take for Diggle and Oliver to be on the same page again?
WENDIE:  We’re going to resolve that.  It is something we wanted to explore:  seeing them at odds and really honoring what Oliver did in Season 3, which was pretty egregious.  So it’s going to take some time, but they will get back on the same side.  

This episode seemed to have more humor in it.  Is the humor going to be back this season?
WENDIE:  It is deliberate.  It’s more coming from where Oliver is a character.  We definitely did want to come into the season and change the tone.  It is the fourth season.  You do want to change things up.  We are kind of excited that it has grown out of who Oliver is.  He is happier now.  He is with Felicity.  He is no longer the post-traumatic suffering solider that he was in the first three seasons, but that’s really where he is coming from and we want it to still play as part of the fabric of the show.  This is not a comedy. 

Felicity seemed a little sadder last season.  Is she back this season?
MARC:  With a vengeance!  I mean, so funny.  Like so funny.  She’s on the top of her game.  She’s hysterical.  We’re definitely writing jokes for her, but Emily is also finding humor in lines that weren’t intentionally humorous.  She’s really dialed-in.  

Let’s talk about that ring.  How long is it going to take for Oliver to finally ask the question?
MARC:  You gotta watch the show! 

Why was that important for you to set up in the first place?
MARC:  We were breaking the premiere with Greg [Berlanti] actually and it came out of something that Greg had said — something along the lines of, “I wish there was some way we could dramatize where their relationship was” — and Wendie and I were like, “Well, you know…” When we threw it out, I don’t think either one of us really thought Greg would go for it and Greg was like, “That’s awesome!  Totally do that.”  What it does is:  it does dramatize in a very clear way really where they are.  But, obviously, when Oliver puts the ring [in the marble dish] and hides the ring essentially, we’re also dramatizing that, “Okay, he’s with Felicity and they are together, but things are not the same as they were in Ivy Town.”  We wanted to get at that concept that their relationship had changed now that they are back in Star City, but how do you do that? That’s how.

How much are you going to get into the death of Ray Palmer because, obviously, he’s on the other show [LEGENDS OF TOMORROW]?
MARC:  We’re going to get into it.  Bear in mind, his apparent death was six months ago as far as Star City is concerned.  So it is acknowledged.  If Ray died yesterday, it would be acknowledged in a very different way than as if he died five months ago.  So it’s played, but it’s not at the core of any of the episodes.  

What awaits Oliver now that he is back on the island?
WENDIE:  A couple of things.  He is going to encounter what we hope is a love-interest, someone he is going to fall in love with, and he is also going to encounter a lot of magic and mysticism.  That is going to inform what he is dealing with in Star City and dealing with in Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough).  

The Damien Darhk and Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) partnership, what does that entail?
WENDIE:  Lance is working with Damien and you will see later in the season that Lance did not necessarily know what he was signing up for.  So we’re going to play it as really sort of a crisis for Lance in terms of why he chose to do it and what it means for him.  He has always been the moral center of the show and he lorded his morality over Oliver’s and when all of it comes to a head, it is going to be interesting to see how those two characters work it out.  

What is Thea (Willa Holand) going through?  After the Lazarus Pits, she is clearly now a very different person.
MARC:  That is something that is going to come into play.  We are going to acknowledge it very directly.  Like the question:  “She went into the Lazarus Pits in Episode 320 and it has been six months and why is it showing up now?”  We will be explaining why it is rearing its ugly head now.

How open is Thea to having a new relationship? Is she ready to move on from Roy (Colton Haynes)?
WENDIE:  We definitely put Roy to bed, for all intents and purposes.  So we’re hoping to introduce a new love-interest for her.  Our intention for her this season is not only to explore the side-effects of the blood-lust from the Lazarus Pit, but also to talk about her life as Speedy.  How does she balance having a personal life with being a vigilante?  

What can you share about the John Constantine episode?
MARC:  I can tell you it is really cool.  We can tell you that we got all the props, we got all the original costumes, and we got the original Matt Ryan.  I think for us, when we finished watching the first cut of it, we were like, “Oh, this feels like a legitimate crossover.”  

With the introduction of H.I.V.E., will there be flashbacks with Diggle and Andy, his brother?
MARC:  Maybe.

What’s behind Diggle’s decision to not tell the rest of the team about his brother’s death connecting to H.I.V.E.?
WENDIE:  It’s really tied to his inability to make any headway.  It’s his brother’s murder that he has been trying to solve and the fact that he himself has been unable to get anywhere has made him sort of feel ashamed, and also he has run into so many deadends.  There hasn’t been anywhere for him to go until now.  So he will eventually talk about it, but up until this point, there hasn’t been a lot of reason to do so.  

As the show gets closer to crossover, will it introduce Vandal Savage?
MARC:  Suffice it to say, the crossover will really platform LEGENDS OF TOMORROW in a really swell way.  

How much will ARROW crossover with THE FLASH this season?
MARC:  We’re certainly going to do our annual big crossover, which will be episode 408.  It will be like last year’s in the sense that we’re crossing over between the shows with a good chunk of both casts.  It will be a bit more of a two-parter than last year’s was.   But beyond that, we have made deals with all the different actors for just crossing over characters and cross-over moments, like you saw Barry (Grant Gustin) in the premiere. We’ll sort of find our spots — sort of like we did last year, like Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and Palmer (Brandon Routh) showed up on THE FLASH, Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) showed up on ARROW.   But we really try to do it when it is motivated by a story and we’ve got a really good reason to do it.  

When can we expect to see more of Malcolm Merlyn as the new Ra’s al Ghul?
WENDIE:  You’ll see him early.  His arc for the season is really revolving around Thea and trying to be a good father while still being a very evil and badass Ra’s al Ghul. So I don’t know how you work that out, but if anyone can do it, it’s Malcolm and John Barrowman playing him.

Are we going to see a different Malcolm in this new role?
WENDIE:  He’s going to be different with respect to Thea.  We would like him to find a way to sot of be a father.  He really doesn’t know what that means as a character.  That said, we do want to restore him to more of the Season 1 Malcolm, who was going around and messing up Oliver’s plans and anyone else he can cause problems with.

Will we see Nyssa (Katrina Law) again? When we last saw her, she was being forced to kneel down before someone she didn’t want to kneel before?
WENDIE:  Yes, we will definitely see Nyssa again and that will pretty much be the same.  She is not going to be onboard with Malcolm as Ra’s and we’re hoping to take that in a cool, very funny direction.

With Donna Smoak (Charlotte Ross) coming back, does that mean we might get some information about Felicity’s father this season?
WENDIE:  We’re hoping.
MARC:  I think Felicity’s dad remains that topic that we’re always talking about it, but again, it’s like  we have to find the right story and the right moment.

What is Laurel’s trajectory this season?
WENDIE:  When the show comes back, she’s the full-fledged Black Canary.  So she is going to be a crucial part of the team going forward, and she is really going to be grappling — the over-arcing theme of the season is about family:  chosen family versus blood family — and she is going to be dealing with Sara (Caity Lotz) coming back, so with family on the team, and also with her dad.  There are going to be ramifications for her.  

Why did you choose the theme of family for this season?
WENDIE:  It’s all organic to where Oliver is.  He’s in a new relationship, and we’ve always looked at the team as a family and it felt like an organic place to go.  Also, we’re going to be exploring Diggle and Felicity’s relationships outside the team.  It felt organic to where all the characters were and it wasn’t something we had really explored on the show before.  

How fun is it digging into the character of Damien Darhk with Neal McDonough portraying him?
WENDIE:  He’s amazing. We love him.
MARC:  He’s a wonderful guy and we found ourselves writing more and more to him.  We’d get his dailies back and he really took that note to heart that we gave him, “You’re not only evil, but you enjoy being evil.”  There’s a real glimmer in his eye whenever he is putting the screws to somebody.  It is something we haven’t seen on the show before and it is one of the reasons why we wanted the show to go in this direction.  In Malcolm, in Ra’s, in Slade, they were bad guys who all thought they were doing the right thing and they all sort of had their own nobility.  Not so much with Damien.  Damien could really give a f*ck if you think he’s noble.
WENDIE:  He has no conscience.
MARC:  No conscience whatsoever and he’s really enjoying having no conscience.  It’s very freeing for him.  There’s not a lot of actors who can pull that off and make it compelling and make it interesting to watch every week. 

How is Star City going to react to this new hero, the Green Arrow?
WENDIE:  We’re hoping that this will be a change in that they will embrace him.  But it is not going to be easy.  We can’t make it too easy for him.  It’s sort of speaking to him trying to be more of an inspiration and less of the “judge, jury, and executioner” that we have seen in the past.  

How and when will the show go back to Coast City and the guy with the bomber jacket that said Jordan on it?
MARC:  [Laughs]  I don’t know what you’re talking about.  If certain things happened to have slipped past me as I was watching dailies, I can’t take responsibility for that. [NOTE: That was all said with a wink and a smile.]

To find out who is not going to make it through Season 4 and whether our hearts will be completely and irrevocably broken, be sure to tune in for all new episodes of ARROW on Wednesday nights at 8:00 p.m. on the CW.