Plus: Get an exclusive first look at the new Black Canary
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Who survived Arrow’s explosive finale?

We know at least one member of the Emerald Archer’s team made it out relatively unscathed, since Dinah Drake (Juliana Harkavy) will officially suit up as Black Canary in season 6 — and EW has the exclusive first look.

The upcoming sixth season picks up five months after the island of Lian Yu turned to ash, and will explore the conflicts between the family you’re born into and the one you make along the way (or, you know, the one you fight crime with). How will Team Arrow handle the new challenges ahead? EW turned to executive producer Wendy Mericle to get the scoop. (Stay tuned for our interview with Harkavy about Dinah’s new suit.)

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Dinah will be fully suiting up. What were you going for with this costume versus the last two Canary costumes we’ve seen?
WENDY MERICLE: I can tell you what my favorite parts of it are and what I think it says about the character. Last season, she wasn’t a full fledged superhero, you could say. She was, she had this power, she had this ability, she was part of the team, but really what this costume signifies more than anything is that she is now a full-fledged member of the team. She was before. But she’s now owning it in a different way. We had talked about having the costume at various points last season and it never felt right. It felt that we wanted to save it for a special occasion, and the premiere seemed like a really good place to do it. She needs something tactical. She has this meta power, but she also has the bo staff, so we just felt it was right for her to have something that was definitely more than a nod to the DCU character, but also something that was distinctive from what we’ve seen before. This really fits the bill. Maya Mani, as usual, did an amazing job with it. My favorite part is actually the subtle hint of the gold and yellow lines in it.

Credit: Marc Hom/The CW

Last season, Dinah was a bit hesitant to take on the role of Black Canary. How does she feel suiting up now?
I think the combination of the costume and this new confidence she has as being part of the team is — this is it, she’s come into her own very much so. It’s a good step forward for her character, but it’s also really representative and a good step forward for the team. People we brought in at the beginning of last season — probably, if they make it off the island — some of them will become full-fledged members of the team. That’s a very different situation than we’ve had in the past. In a way, we’re closing the circle on what we started in episode 501 and 502 last season, which was introducing these new characters and really bringing them along under Oliver’s tutelage. This is going to be the culmination, for her, of where she ends up.

If we’re seeing a first look at Dinah in the Black Canary costume, ostensibly she survived, but how do you think it has affected her and what’s left of Team Arrow?
No matter what, our hope is that finale was powerful and also very destructive. It literally did blow up Oliver’s past, but I think in many ways it’s a reset for all of the characters. It was traumatic. It’s a big traumatic event that will definitely have huge reverberations throughout the whole season really for Oliver, but for everybody. The show is still centered around the Green Arrow and Oliver Queen, but these other characters are coming into their own and there will be more stories this year. We have no flashbacks that we have to service, so there will be more real estate to explore the characters in addition to Oliver.

What’s the catalyst of Dinah suiting up?
We haven’t gotten the specific story for it at the moment, but it’s something that I think [we’ll explore]. We have an intervening five months between the finale and where we pick up in the premiere and I think we will take the opportunity to tell the full story of it. But I think yes, the island and everything that happened in the finale has driven her to this point. But at the same time, it’s really the team and this sense of her being a part of something. She was adrift before, but now she’s part of a family and part of this bigger force in the world.

Does Black Canary suiting up mean Team Arrow is still intact moving forward, because there was that question of whether they could still operate after Green Arrow became Public Enemy No. 1?
Right. That will be an ongoing question throughout season 6. They are all going to be grappling with the fallout from that and there’s even more fallout to come in season 6 that will definitely raise the stakes for that question; it’s a very prescient question. As usual, you’re thinking ahead. But this is going to be a big thing for all of them, and there’s a question of she’s a cop as well as the Black Canary. How is she going to balance that? How is she going to keep that secret? How is she going to live her life and still fight crime at night? We really wanted the team to explore a lot of the questions that Oliver explored in season 1. That’s what we’ll be trying to focus in on in season 6.

What kind of hero will Dinah be now after initially being driven by revenge?
She’s fighting for her family now, and that family extends beyond the team. It’s going to grow into something that basically represents the city for her. This is her new home. As someone who basically wandered the earth for revenge, these are higher stakes for her now. Star City and the team mean a lot to her.

How will someone like Black Siren feel about Dinah suiting up as Black Canary?
That’s a great question. I’ll just say this: She’s probably not going to like it very much. [Laughs] I mean, I don’t know how much research she’s done about her Earth-1 Laurel, but I would have to say that I think there’s going to be some sparks flying there.

What does Dinah and Quentin’s relationship look like moving forward?
In season 5, we wanted to explore this idea of someone taking on his daughter’s mantle and what would that look like? That moment where he does say, “Yes, she is the Black Canary,” that is a moment that is certainly one of the steps toward this costume and the evolution of that character. In season 6, it will be building on that and capitalizing on that and also exploring it further.


Do you have a theme for the new season that you’re leaning into?
We do. We’re really leaning into this idea of family, and what it’s like to deal with your own biological family, but also to deal with your found family, and the natural emotional conflicts that arise when you have to choose between or balance both of them. Oliver and everybody else, all of our main characters will be grappling with that.

Do you feel like the show is a reboot now going into season 6?
Reboot is one of those words. It’s so funny. I think in some ways yes, I do, but I also think that word can get misconstrued very easily. This show is evolving and it’s exciting because it is a new dynamic this season without the flashbacks. I know I keep saying we have more real estate, but we’ve been in the writers’ room for three weeks and it’s been amazing how different the show feels. There’s just a lot more freedom. It’s actually very exciting because we can take this show to different places now and to different directions. I’ll repeat it, but it really is exciting to have the time and the space to talk about these other characters. We were always sort of pressed, and moved stories so quickly. We’re still moving stories that same way, we just have a little more space to explore other points of view and other characters. It’s fun.

You aren’t tied to those specific flashbacks, but will you still have some sort of flash back or flash forward element?
Absolutely. One of the advantages is we know how to use that device and we’re going to use it for different reasons this season, which will be fun — different characters, different points of view.

Is the Arrow bunker still intact after “Underground”?
There’s always going to be some fallout, but I’d say by the time we see them in the premiere, it’s intact, but for how long is a really good question.

Arrow returns Thursday, Oct. 12 at 9 p.m. ET on The CW. Stay tuned for more scoop in Spoiler Room.

Episode Recaps

Billionaire Oliver Queen — under the vigilante persona of Arrow — tries to right the wrongs of his family and fight the ills of society.
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