Arrow broke format in some unique ways in this week's "Star City 2040", which dove deep into the future-set sequences that have been popping up throughout this season. And amidst all of the plot twists and new revelations, a unique Marvel Comics crossover came about.
The episode followed Mia Smoak (Katherine McNamara) and William Clayton (Ben Lewis) attempting to infiltrate the Glades, in hopes of locating Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) from her cryptic messages. Eventually, Mia, William, and Connor Hawke (Joseph David-Jones) made their way inside of the building they believed Felicity was hiding in, and rescued her from a futuristic prison cell.
Almost as soon as Felicity was freed, she set out to stop an evil corporation named Galaxy from blowing up the rest of Star City. This upset Mia, who realized that she was upset at her mother for putting her work as a vigilante ahead of her daughter. Connor tried to console Mia, quoting the line "With great power comes great responsibility" as an example of why their superhero parents have an obligation to help the city. When Mia didn't respond to the line, Connor mentioned that it was a Spider-Man reference, to which she said that she wasn't a big fan of comic books.
While this is far from the first time that the Arrowverse has referenced the Marvel world, it does serve as an interesting proxy for the flash-forward sequences. To an extent, the "great power" line justifies why Team Arrow is continuing to do what they're doing, even as things in the future seem more and more bleak.
"A lot of people are saying they're disheartened by how down and depraved our city has become, and they're saying, what's the point of it all if it's gonna be that dark?" Juliana Harkavy, who portrays Dinah Drake, admitted during a set visit last year. "But we don't know that it's gonna end there. That's just a portion that we're looking at."
"When we had flashbacks in every episode, sometimes it felt like a little too much," showrunner Beth Schwartz echoed in an interview last year. "I wanted to make sure that we were telling the story we needed to tell instead of being forced to tell them in every episode. With the flash forwards, we're able to see the consequences of what our team has done in the present day story. In the future storyline you're going to be able to see were vigilantes effective? How did that affect Star City in the future? How did it affect The Glades? How did it affect all the characters we love? Are people going to be the same or different? It opens up the world a lot."
Arrow airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.