Robert Falconer/The CW
Natalie Abrams
May 09, 2017 AT 08:06 PM EDT

Arrow is heading for the end — metaphorically speaking, of course.

While The CW super series has already been renewed for a sixth season, the upcoming fifth season finale will close a big chapter in the story of Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell).

After five years as the Emerald Archer, Oliver’s alter ego has become public enemy No. 1, making it all but impossible for the vigilante to help save his city. That’s okay, because the season finale will bring Oliver back to the island he once called home as Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra) sets the stage for ultimate showdown between hero and villain — one that dovetails with the five-year flashback story that will finally reach its climax this season, thus starting a new chapter and maybe even a new legacy for Oliver Queen. EW turned to executive producer Wendy Mericle to get the scoop on the final episodes of the season.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What can you tease about the finale?
WENDY MERICLE: I would say that it’s very much in the same vein as what we’ve been doing so far this season. The ending is going to be very personal to Oliver. It is going to be the showdown between him and Adrian Chase that we’ve all been waiting for. We’re very excited about it because I think Josh and Stephen have just brought this amazing, cool dynamic to those two roles. Not surprisingly, Adrian is going to continue to be several steps ahead of Oliver, but I think Oliver has got his number. So the finale will be full of some pretty big surprises. I think Oliver’s finally going to find a way to do what he’s been trying to do all season and put the past behind him.

Obviously, there’s going to be a very physical showdown between Oliver and Prometheus, but can you talk about the emotional showdown?
It’s been such a fun thing to play, such an interesting dynamic to play, especially with respect to Oliver Queen, who is very physical and is a guy who can definitely throw a punch. There will absolutely be fisticuffs. In surprising ways, a lot of the battle will be done in ways that we’ve never done on the show before, which we’re very excited about. But emotionally, Chase has been trying to prove to the world and to Oliver that he is not a hero, he’s a killer. He’s going to pull out one final, big whammo at the end that is going to really leave Oliver reeling and raise a lot of questions. I think Oliver is going to come down on the right side of that question, but not without a lot of risk and a lot of potential heartache.

Will there be death in the finale?
We might lose some people.

How will wrapping up the flashback story dovetail into the present-day storytelling?
We are very excited about that part. We’ve managed to hopefully stick the landing on it in a cool way that allows us to see both some of the moments right before we first met Oliver in the pilot, where he launched that flaming arrow and it lit up the signal fire, and also maybe just a little bit after as well, some of the more emotional moments that we never got to see in the pilot. While that’s happening, we have the opportunity to see the island in the flashback, and we might see a little bit of it in present-day as well.

There are a number of familiar faces returning. What can you tease?
The impetus behind bringing all these people back is this is the end of the first five seasons, the end of this chapter of Oliver’s story, and it’s just fun to have everyone come back. What I can tell you about in terms of motive and story is Chase has been Oliver’s most formidable enemy so far, and he’s going to need some people help him take Chase down.

Prometheus has done everything he can to destroy Oliver’s life, making the Green Arrow public enemy No. 1. Can Oliver come back from this?
That’s one of the things we wanted to do was bring him to his lowest point this year. He’s going to have to, in some ways, let go of all of this, and let go of the past. Really the answer to that question will be in the premiere of season 6, which is how is he going to start rebuilding and what is his new legacy going to look like? He’s going to have to start rebuilding, because Chase has left pretty much everything in tatters.

What can you say for the rest of Team Arrow’s role in the finale?
Well, it’s definitely going to be an all-hands-on-deck situation. Everyone is going to have to do something to help put Chase to bed finally. Everyone’s going to have a huge emotional stake in it, everyone is going to have a very big role to play. Specifically, in respect to our original Team Green Arrow, both Felicity and Dig will play crucial pieces, as well as Slade Wilson — those are the three that are going to have a lot to do with how to get in and out of this situation and how we finally put Chase where he belongs.

You’ve mentioned before that the finale will be about Oliver’s family, but not in the way we’re thinking, and you’ve also said the finale would be explosive. Can you expand on that?
Not without giving away too much. I would stand by both of those things, and I would definitely say that I can expand on the family part in a sense that it’s going to speak to legacy. There’s no way to talk about the end of these five chapters without evoking the Queen family in some way, shape, or form, and really there’s no way in the flashback to sync up with the pilot, which is what we’re going to be doing, without evoking them as well. In that respect, I can tell you a little bit that’s where that comment came from. As for the second one, it’s going to be a big kaboom. That’s as far as I’ll go with that one.

How does the finale set up next season?
We’re going to go out on a big cliffhanger, so that part is definitely going to be helping us galvanize the premiere. Because we’re closing such a big chapter, I think there are going to be some really new and exciting questions. What we’re really trying to do is set up a new dynamic in season 6. That will speak in so many different ways — on the ground level, we’re going to be rethinking how we tell stories because the flashbacks aren’t going to be what they were. We don’t have to service that backstory in the same way that we had to, so the way the show is written and broken is malleable at this point. By the same token, where all the characters are is an opportunity to redefine and for everybody to look back, reflect, and then start to look forward about where they want to go and where do they have the most impact in our lives? How are they going to be the best heroes they can be?

What do you think will be the biggest questions for fans coming out of the finale?
I don’t think I can safely answer that question without giving away the cliffhanger. [Laughs.]

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. The finale will air May 24.

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