During its first five seasons, Arrow relied on the flashback element in order to fully flesh out the time Oliver Queen spent away from Star(ling) City, while sometimes tying into whatever was going on in the present. But after season 5 concluded, it became obvious this storytelling method would no longer be utilized.
Well, actually, we did see some flashbacks during season 6, but those were of the standard variety. In other words, they were included when appropriate, such as when the writers needed to expand upon the history shared between Slade Wilson and his son.
Now, in season 7, the producers have implemented the concept of flash forwards. And interestingly enough, these sequences taking place in the future won’t be exclusive to this year of programming – they’re here to stay for the duration of the series.
So, if you tuned in for last Monday night’s premiere, then you’re aware of how the current set of flash forwards show Oliver’s son, William, venturing to Lian Yu at some point down the line, only to encounter a grizzled and reclusive Roy Harper. And from the sound of it, new showrunner Beth Schwartz had been wishing to do this for a while, as she told The Hollywood Reporter the following:
“I’ve been on the show since the beginning and we had always in the room discussed the possibility when the flashbacks ended that we would do the flash forwards. Especially since we knew about William and we thought that would be really cool to see how he’s been affected by his childhood and his father. We always wanted to do something like that and then this season I pitched it to Greg [Berlanti] and he was like, ‘Yes!’ We knew we wanted something fresh and new for season seven and my favorite part of the show was always the flashbacks and the mystery of how Oliver became the Green Arrow and his origin story.”
Now, what makes these peeks at the world of tomorrow different from, say, something comparable on The Flash or Legends of Tomorrow is that the future to be glimpsed here is set in stone. And based on what Schwartz had to say next, she and her colleagues fully intend to pay off the consequences of present day actions:
“When we had flashbacks in every episode, sometimes it felt like a little too much. 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.”
Though I may agree with her when it comes to the notion of opening the door for new storytelling possibilities, I hope that establishing the show’s future ahead of time doesn’t paint the writers into a corner in a creative sense. When you really think about it, this could limit what can be done in the present, so they need to tread carefully.
Arrow airs on Monday nights on The CW.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter