Arrow season 8 begins today, marking the beginning of the end for The CW's flagship Arrowverse series. There are plenty of surprises in store for this final season of Arrow, and the showrunners have just revealed yet another one, in this new clip that re-introduces Deathstroke to the show. However, don't expect to see Manu Bennett's Slade Wilson back in the mask; Arrow season 8 will introduce a new version of Deathstroke, who has even deeper connections to Team Arrow: John Diggle Jr. (Charlie Barnett), who is the new version of Deathstroke who rules over the future Starling City with an iron fist.
Watch the new Arrow season 8 clip introducing future Deathstroke, above!
EW debuted this exclusive clip, along with a synopsis of the season 8 premiere "Starling City" and Deathstroke's new place in the Arrow mythos (mild spoilers):
In "Starling City," fans get to see the new Team Arrow in action, featuring Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity's (Emily Bett Rickards) kids, William (Ben Lewis) and Mia (Katherine McNamara), plus Connor and one of the Canaries, Zoe Ramirez (Andrea Sixtos). But a simple bodyguard job turns into something more lethal when J.J. infiltrates the compound and outsmarts Mia. His calm demeanor after committing murder is downright terrifying, especially since we know who raised him.
The big twist in this character arc is that J.J.'s position as leader of the future "Deathstroke Gang" has put him on a collision course his adopted brother, Connor Hawke (Joseph David-Jones), who helped his love interest Mia and her half-brother William (aka Oliver Queen's kids) defeat the Archer A.I. system that kept the Deathstroke Gang in power, and Starling City on lockdown. Now the future Team Arrow is set for a collision course with the Deathstroke Gang, in a vacuum of power that will most certainly need to be filled.
Arrow showrunner Beth Schwartz has teased the conflict coming in the flash-forward sequences, as we try to learn how J.J. has fallen so far:
"That's all going to come out this season, because I know we teased it last season. We're going to have a bit of sibling rivalry in our future storyline."
...And apparently, that rivalry will jump off quick, as Connor and J.J. will come face-to-face in the season 8 premiere.
Arrow season 8 premieres tonight on The CW. The season will lead into the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover, which kicks off on Sunday, December 8 on Supergirl, runs through a Monday episode of Batwoman and that Tuesday's episode of The Flash. That will be the midseason cliffhanger, as the shows go on hiatus for the holidays and return on January 14 to finish out the event with the midseason premiere of Arrow and a "special episode" of DC's Legends of Tomorrow, which launches as a midseason series this year and so will not have an episode on the air before the Crisis.