Flashbacks have long been an integral storytelling component for Arrow, but in The CW series' Season 7 premiere, the show took viewers not into the past, but the future. According to showrunner Beth Schwartz, those flash forwards are here to stay, not just this season but for the duration of the series.
Last night, Arrow fans caught up with Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and the rest of Team Arrow dealing with the fallout of the Season 6 finale, specifically Oliver being behind bars while Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) remains on the loose and with Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and William (Jack Moore) in his targets. However, the series also showed a young man traveling to Lian Yu with no real understanding of what was going on until a surprise twist: that young man is William roughly 20 years in the future and he's on Lian Yu to seek out an older Roy Harper (Colton Haynes). It's a surprise that Schwartz told Entertainment Weekly will continue for quite some time.
"We're going to keep it all season and series," Schwartz said. "We didn't know how long the show was going to go on for, so we always knew that after season 5, there wouldn't be flashbacks. So, we had talked about flash-forwards years ago. Like, 'is this what we're going to do when there aren't flashbacks?'"
The flashbacks are, as Schwartz sees it, a way to bring something fresh to the series and open up new stories for the long-running series.
"I think it opens up our world immensely," Schwartz said. "For a seven season show, coming up with new stories that we haven't done before is definitely a challenge. I think this is a really great way to tell some of these stories and also add a lot of mystery, because we can introduce something in the future and then you're like, 'How the hell did that happen?' So in the present-day story, you're going to really want to tune in to see all those details."
These new flash forwards are certainly tantalizing, but they also open up a lot of questions. As fans of the network's Arrowverse know, we've gotten a look at the future before. In Legends of Tomorrow's first season, fans got a look at a bleak, dystopian Star City in 2046. It's a timeline that appears to be a real possibility, considering that the Legends' own Zari Tommaz (Tala Ashe) comes from a similarly bleak future around that same time. On top of that some of the elements of Star City 2046 -- specifically Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) and Diggle (David Ramsey) having a son instead of a daughter -- have become part of Arrow's present. However, Schwartz shut down the idea that Arrow's flash forwards would be connected.
"This is not connected to Legends," she said. "This is our own future."
What do you think about the flash forwards on Arrow this season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.