The upcoming fifth season of Arrow is a return to the character's grounded roots, but it won't ignore the ongoing events of the other CW shows either. It's an interesting tightrope to walk, but Executive Producer Wendy Mericle and the rest of the staff seem up for the challenge.
"The show was always meant to be a gritty crime drama at its heart. And then Flash came along, and oh my gosh, we have meta powers. And then Damien was, well, we haven't done magic on the show, let's try to do that," she told IGN. "I think for Season 5, just because it is an answer to Season 1, and we are sort of closing this chapter out, we did want to go back to our roots and figure out what is specific to this show. What is our universe? Go back to, 'What is Arrow?'"
Part of how they'll do that is to get away from magical or superpowered villains, and instead focus on an antagonist that is far more based in reality. That will take the form of Prometheus, a villain many will recognize from the comics. His intellect rivals people like Batman and Lex Luthor, and he's at his best when having to adapt to someone else's skillset.
"[He's] not going to have magic, no powers," Mericle said. "He has a very personal grudge and axe to grind with Oliver and he's going to come at him in a really interesting, sociopathic kind of way."
While Arrow will narrow its focus, it isn't ignoring the events of sister show The Flash. If you watched the season finale, you know that Barry kickstarted the Flashpoint event after saving his mother in the past, and that presents plenty of interesting places to go if the Arrow team wants a change of pace.
"Flashpoint provides an interesting jumping off point for all the shows this year, in that we have this reset button available to us if we want it," Mericle said. "We've landed on a few things, but the door is open. That's the fun part. You can play with it in whatever way, shape, or form you want to. I think it will be small in some ways, and big in others."
Still, the centerpiece of season five will be Oliver, as opposed to accommodating the network's other shows.
"I do think that because it's about Oliver this year, you'll feel that more," said Mericle. "That's more of our focus, I think, than trying to figure out where they would be best served on the other shows."
Arrow returns to The CW on October 5th.