Many will argue that Arrow completely changed the game in its season six finale, and now fans won't have to wait too long to find out what's next.
Season 7 of Arrow is expected to bring some interesting changes, which could potentially signal a new era for the long-running series. And with just a few short weeks until Arrow returns, we thought we'd break down everything you need to know about the latest season.
A New Normal for Oliver
As fans will remember, the Season 6 premiere ended with Oliver being arrested and taken to a SuperMax prison, after he agreed to cooperate with the FBI and publicly unmask himself as the Green Arrow.
Based on what we've already seen of Season 7, it looks like Oliver's time in prison won't be particularly easy, with him getting into a very gnarly - and naked - fight in the prison showers.
"Beth [Schwartz, Arrow showrunner] and I had a phone call with BNSP, which is our censors... a very lengthy phone call about a particular scene that we never had before," frequent Arrow director James Bamford said of one scene in an interview earlier this summer. "So, we are really trying to push the limits on the show in the gritty factor. We are trying to go as far as you can go within the confines of our network and what is expected of us and what we can do and can't do. We are not on Netflix, so we will never be able to X, Y, and Z, but we are damn sure going to try."
And according to Amell, Oliver's stay in prison could end up being a semi-permanent thing, at least compared to currently-running fan theories.
"Oliver is definitely in jail and I think that he's going to be in jail I think longer than people expect," Amell told ComicBook.com back in July.prevnext
...And for Team Arrow
Outside of Slabside Prison, Oliver's absence will apparently be felt, as a newly-reunited Team Arrow tries to navigate without him.
"Well, everything is a little bit under constraints because of what's going on with Oliver so [the vigilantism is] definitely going to be there, but they're going to have to be a little bit crafty in how they go about it," Juliana Harkavy, who plays Dinah Drake/Black Canary, told ComicBook.com. "I think everybody kind of has to step up in their own way. In a large part I think that's what this season is really going to be about like how do we see ourselves as heroes without our leader. It's going to come in a lot of different forms for Dinah."
Of course, this change might not come about in the best of circumstances, especially as Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) still is out there.
"The idea now is: If Oliver's in prison, is he actually more protected than the team?" Emily Bett Rickards, who plays Felicity Smoak, explained in an interview earlier this year. "The rest of the team is all going to be in danger as well. Where that puts Felicity and William... I mean, we can only do so much to protect them."
Well, that certainly sounds ominous...prevnext
Even as Arrow enters some new territory, it will supposedly be doing so with a bit more comic flair, both in terms of plot and in just small details.
As Arrow has been telegraphing for the past half-season or so, the show is set to introduce a version of the Longbow Hunters, a group of vigilantes assembled in the New 52 era.
"I will say that the reference to the Longbow Hunters is us planting a flag, much the same way we referenced Damien Darhk in the Season 3 finale, consulting producer Marc Guggenheim explained before Arrow's Season 6 finale. "We would be [not nice people] to name-drop the Longbow Hunters and not see them in Season 7."
The introduction of the Longbow Hunters could also bring about a change in Diaz, who, according to a recent interview with Schwartz, will be a bit more like his comic counterpart, Richard Dragon.
And as the photos for Season 7 have already proved, Oliver will be sporting a version of a certain comic-accurate piece of facial hair, which fans have been campaigning for for years.
"In Season 7, I am going to debut the goatee," Amell explained earlier this summer. "I can't promise that I'm going to keep [the goatee] forever. I can definitely promise that I'm not going to wear the stupid hat."prevnext
Some New Faces
As with most CW shows, Arrow will be bringing quite a lot of new characters into the fold in Season 7.
The first are the aforementioned Longbow Hunters, a team that will consist of Red Dart (Supernatural's Holly Elissa), Kodiac (Van Helsing's Michael Jonsson), and The Silencer (Orphan Black's Miranda Edwards). While it's unclear exactly when they will debut, fans can safely expect to see more of them in the second episode of the season, which is appropriately titled "The Longbow Hunters".
Shadowhunters alum Katherine McNamara will also be joining the cast in a "significant" role, as a Buffy the Vampire Slayer-esque "scrappy street fighter and thief from Star City".
And while the role has yet to be cast, it sounds like Arrow will be casting a version of Leonard Gibbons/Javelin, a French chemical weapons trader who crosses paths with Curtis Holt/Mr. Terrific (Echo Kellum).prevnext
And Some Familiar Ones
The show's ensemble will also include some old favorites, who could be appearing under some very specific circumstances.
Arrow veterans Danny Brickwell (Vinnie Jones), Derek Sampson (Cody Runnels), and Bronze Tiger (Michael Jai White) will all be fellow inmates of Slabside Prison, and it sounds like they might be involved with the aforementioned prison fight.
And Season 7 will also be bringing back Roy Harper (Colton Haynes), who will be returning from his Lazarus Pit hunt with Thea and Nyssa to surprise fans in a major way.
"You guys have no idea what's happening with Roy Harper." Haynes told ComicBook.com. "It's a crazy storyline, I can say. It's nothing like he's been before. It's going to shock [so many people]. I'm shocked right now. It's going to shock a lot of people. Roy's not the same person. I can't say much, but we're returning back to our roots on the show. Not the characters, but the show — We're going back to how we were a couple of seasons ago. But it's going to just be so good. Beth Schwartz, our new show runner, is just — She's a dream. She's changing everything and she's making everything the way I think the show was at the beginning."prevnext
A New Attitude
These new changes will apparently signify a different outlook for the cast and crew of Arrow, especially when it comes to writing certain storylines.
"[The writers] have a very clear vision of what they want season seven to be, and what I asked them to do – and it's not up to me – but what I asked of them is to not just assume that we have an eighth season." Amell revealed earlier this year. "I wanted them to write like, 'If you have a good idea, and you have something you've always wanted to do or see on the show, then just do it! Do it right now!'"
"I think that's one of the things I'm getting out of what they've planned for season seven – we're not writing like we're guaranteed something beyond this, because we're not; nobody is." Amell continued. "I want them to really push forward and take the fact we have a certain license and a certain respect from the fans to take some chances."
And while The CW is planning to end any of its Arrowverse shows just yet, Amell has hinted that he already has Oliver's endgame in mind.
"I find it incredibly difficult to believe that [Oliver being killed off] would ever happen - I don't know that anyone would allow themselves to be cornered by killing the title character of the show," Amell said in a recent podcast appearance. "The only thing that is left for him to do - and he doesn't need to die to do this - is he needs to leave a legacy. Because we have all these other shows that exist. So whether Arrow continued on in the absence of Oliver Queen, or someone else took up the mantle of the Green Arrow... I think leaving a legacy is the last box left to tick for the character."prevnext
But before Arrow nears its end, it will be gearing up for quite an interesting TV event -- the upcoming "Elseworlds" crossover.
The crossover will see Arrow, Supergirl, and The Flash (not Legends of Tomorrow) involved in a one-of-a-kind adventure, which will also serve as the live-action debut of Kate Kane/Batwoman (Ruby Rose). The crossover will also include appearances from Supergirl's Clark Kent/Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) and Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch), as well as Arkham Asylum employee Dr. John Deegan (Jeremy Davies), and The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett).
The crossover will also boast an interesting connection to Arrow, with Amell's real-life wife, Cassandra Jean Amell, playing Nora Fries.prevnext
Arrow's seventh season will debut on Monday, October 15th, at 8/7c on The CW. You can read the synopsis for the season premiere - "Inmate #4587", below.
LOCKED UP -- Following Oliver's (Stephen Amell) shocking decision to turn himself over to the FBI and reveal his identity as the Green Arrow to the public, Oliver has spent the past five months in Slabside Maximum Security Prison. Determined to keep a low profile to shorten his sentence for the sake of his family, Oliver is tested when he runs into old foes.2comments
Meanwhile, Diggle (David Ramsey) and Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) have taken on new jobs and left their costumes behind but not everyone is following suit. With her focus on William (guest star Jack Moore), Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) tries to start over but when someone from her past resurfaces, things become complicated.
James Bamford directed the episode written by Beth Schwartz & Oscar Balderrama.prev