It feels like just yesterday that Arrow first debuted on the CW, quickly turning into the harbinger of the extended TV universe for DC. Since then, we’ve seen three seasons, along with a companion show in The Flash, and soon Legends of Tomorrow. Each successive season of Arrow has seen our title character undergo major changes: Between Seasons 1 and 2, he vowed never to kill again. Between 2 and 3, he gained perspective on what it meant to be a hero. Now we’re about to head into Season 4, with perhaps even bigger shifts than ever for our hooded hero.
The tone of Arrow in its early seasons is starkly different than what we saw at the conclusion of its most recent one. Oliver Queen has gone through a lot in just three years, evolving from a vindictive street brawler into a morally strong superhero. There’s a reason that the show is responsible for the CW’s biggest audience, and Season 4 promises to be an intriguing continuation of this trend.
1. The new costume
From the very beginning of Arrow, it was hard not to notice that the costume of our titular hero didn’t resemble the one we know from the comics in the slightest. Greg Berlanti’s early version for the show featured a full green leather get-up, eye-black, and a hood. Comparatively, the comics have the Green Arrow going sleeveless, wearing a green mask, while alternating between a hood and a Robin Hood-esque hat. As each season has gone on though, the CW’s outfit has slowly picked up pieces of the comic. Season 3 saw him put on the iconic mask for the first time, and now Season 4 will see the sleeveless look make its first appearance.
2. A decidedly lighter tone
While every movie and TV show nowadays pushes forward with a “dark, gritty” tone, Arrow will be going in the opposite direction for its fourth season. Producer Marc Guggenheim confirmed as much in an interview with io9, noting that “every year you want to mix things up and there was sort of a collective desire on all of our parts to try to inject a little bit more lightness into the show, a little bit more humor.” For its first season on the air, The Flash functioned as the lighter yin to Arrow‘s yang, something the creators of both shows apparently took to heart.
In that same interview, Guggenheim did admit that the show is “not going to radically change,” so really it’ll more be an attempt to keep Arrow from being downright hard to watch. Both shows are served well by committing to the more humorous and ridiculous aspects of their shared universe, and apparently that will spill over into Arrow sooner rather than later.
3. Oliver and Felicity’s love will live on
Season 3 (spoilers ahead) closed out with Oliver and Felicity driving down the coast together, having finally ended the “will they/won’t they” questions that have cropped up since Season 1. Most of Oliver’s relationships up until now have been fleeting at best, and usually end in someone either dying or melting down emotionally. With that, it’ll serve the new lighter narrative well to have him in a healthy, functioning relationship with a fan favorite in Felicity Smoak. Felicity herself has proven to be independent, funny, and entertaining, making her the perfect outlet for the new look of the show.
4. The appearance of John Constantine
Rumors have been floating around since NBC canceled Constantine, but we finally have confirmation: Matt Ryan’s iteration of the mercurial sorcerer John Constantine will be showing up in Season 4 of Arrow to help impart how knowledge on the Lazarus Pits. There’s been little talk about whether or not he’ll have a recurring role, but it wouldn’t be entirely unprecedented for the CW to continue to bring in a character if they resonate with audiences enough. Although it certainly helps that the built-in cult following of Constantine will likely show up in full support of their recently-canceled hero.
5. We could finally see “The Green Arrow”
It always seemed odd for a TV show surrounding the Green Arrow to never actually call its main hero by that name. For two seasons, he was known simply as “the Hood,” only donning the moniker of “the Arrow” at the beginning of Season 3. With a new costume, new tone, and new relationship marking Season 4, it only follows logically that it won’t be long until Oliver Queen finally assumes the full name of his comic book predecessor. It’s a small yet meaningful change, and demonstrates the journey of Queen from his early days in Starling City, to the battle-scarred yet more confident version of his hero today.
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