What’s that? You say you need to know what’s going to happen on this season of Arrow after last season’s absolutely bonkers finale that saw the greatest freighter-based showdown this side of Lost?
EW caught up with Arrow executive producer Andrew Kreisberg—who now has his hands full with The CW’s other new flashy (get it?) superhero show The Flash (now you get it). But since Kreisberg is pulling double duty with the DC Comics heroes, that means he’s got double the scoop to offer.
Perhaps most pressing is the question of which villainous threat Oliver Queen will face this coming season, which picks up six or seven months after the season-two finale. Crime is down and the police aren’t hunting Ollie—but peace never lasts that long in Starling City. Despite last season’s startlingly sinister Slade, this year’s villain will have to up the ante even more.
“Slade had a very specific agenda—he was out for revenge and had set up this elaborate five-year plot,” Kreisberg tells EW. “What’s interesting about the villain in season three is that he doesn’t necessarily disagree with [Oliver]. He doesn’t have any personal animus towards the Arrow, and he actually in some ways has a very similar worldview. [But] the Arrow is thinking too small.”
Kreisberg continued: “In some ways, as Oliver is struggling with whether or not he can be the Arrow and Oliver at the same time, the villain of season 3 is saying, ‘Being Oliver Queen is what’s holding you back from fulfilling your true destiny.’ So it’s a very interesting dynamic, but it is tied in the same way that Oliver last year was wrestling with, ‘Am I a hero or a killer?’ The theme of identity is tied up very much in how the villain is presented to Oliver.”
Kriesberg teases that the casting of this year’s Big Bad—one speculative fan theory suggests it’s Ra’s al Ghul—will happen “soon.” Certainly iconic baddie al Ghul would fit the bill for Kreisberg’s description of what Ollie will face in the coming year.
But while he’ll face a new villain, he’ll also encounter a new hero—or, a familiar one, actually. Fans have been buzzing about the announced Arrow/The Flash crossover episode, which will happen in the eighth episode of both shows (think November). So why is this Barry Allen-Oliver Queen mash-up more special than other crossovers?
“It’s really going to be an adventure with the Arrow and Flash on both episodes. Watching the two teams come together and fight alongside each other, it’s one of the most fun parts,” says Kreisberg. “We just don’t believe in waiting. We really believe in accelerated storytelling and especially for those first nine episodes of the season—for both shows—hopefully we’ve designed it so that none of these [make you say], ‘Well, I missed that one, it’s fine.’”
Kreisberg’s entire approach to both Arrow and The Flash operates on the hope that none of the episodes feel like duds. That’s why Kreiger and company have “spectacular and amazing midseason finales planned for both shows that are both game-changers … and what better way to lead into it than by having this amazing team-up?”
The Flash premieres on October 7; Arrow returns for season three on October 8.