At long last, there may be no more flashbacks to Lian Yu, Hong Kong, Russia, or wherever else in Arrow. After the fifth season of The CW superhero series wraps up, Arrow will make significantly less use of its signature flashback structure. After five years on a hellish island, Arrow is finally free.
In an interview with Comic Book Resources, executive producer Wendy Mericle said that ditching the flashback structure is beneficial because it gives them plenty of room to explore other stories. “There’s so much story on the show, and it’s really exciting for the writers and for everyone on the creative side to be thinking, ‘Wow, we really have a lot more real estate to play with,’” said Mericle. “We always have so much story and we’re always pushing story. It’ll be great to have this extra space to play around in.”
The show will still use flashbacks but to a lesser degree than the first five seasons. So while flashbacks won’t be implemented in every episode — this week’s episode, “Dangerous Liaisons”, had no flashbacks at all — they will return when the story demands it. “[T]he flashbacks have worked so well on the show, they’re not going to be gone forever,” the producer said.
Mericle also said the show won’t go back to Lian Yu, nor will it explore the specific five years Oliver was away from Starling City again. But future flashbacks will explore other untold stories. “We’re obviously not going to be going back to Lian Yu and we’re not going to be telling the story of the five years that Oliver was gone, but we might get some glimpses into the backstories of other characters, which would be really fun.”
Arrow airs Wednesdays on The CW.