Arrow producers talk the future of the flashbacks on the show
When Arrow first aired - and kick started what has become a mega successful TV superhero universe - one of the more unique aspects of the show were the flashbacks. Taking inspiration from Lost, the flashbacks told the story of what happened to Oliver Queen on the island before he became the Arrow and by season two - thanks to great characters like Slade Wilson and the Mirakuru storyline - became the highlights of each week. Things changed a little with the frustrating Hong-Kong based arc of season three and despite returning to the island for the fourth year, things really haven't returned to those season two heights.
Marc Guggenheim, the executive producer of Arrow, recently did an interview with TV Line. (The link isn't provided as it spoils events that haven't aired in the UK yet). Guggenheim commented on what they were aiming for with the flashbacks and discussed the direction of them moving forward.
"Part of the appeal of the flashbacks – certainly in the first two years, but I think the first three years – is seeing what a big difference it is between Oliver Queen in the present day and Oliver Queen five years ago. The problem is that we are telling a five-year story in the flashbacks of Oliver becoming the guy you met in the pilot. So the deeper you get into the flashbacks, the closer he becomes to being that guy, and, thus, you lose that element of the flashbacks that was so interesting, which is how different he was…. That’s something we have struggled with this year." - TV Line
Guggenheim and fellow executive producer Wendy Mericle added that they know the end point - Oliver Queen being rescued from the island and becoming the vigilante - and planned to work back from there in season five. Mericle added:
"The season will be easier to break because we have an endpoint, and we work backwards from there....it’s a very good possibility that we’ll finally find out how Oliver got that Bratva tattoo and how he learned to speak Russian." - TV Line
It seems as if the flashbacks aren't going anywhere, despite the struggles alluded to in season four. Though if Arrow continues past season five, there is no more room for flashbacks, unless the show takes another leaf out of Lost's book and employ flash forwards?
In the meantime, check out our weekly reviews with Baz Greenland, including the latest episode Broken Hearts here.