Since the beginning of Season 5 of Arrow, the writers of the hit CW series have introduced diversity and expanded the ranks of Team Arrow as their numbers dwindled from numerous departures. However, executive producer Marc Guggenheim concedes that the current New Team Arrow/Old Team Arrow feud may not have been the best step forward.
To recap for those who haven’t been keeping up with Season 6, the machinations of Big Bad #1 Cayden James have led to an embattled first term in office for Mayor Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell). Thanks to a doctored photo that ironically exposed Oliver as Green Arrow, decisions such as OTA spying on NTA to flush out the mole – Oliver’s idea, of course – led to NTA leaving Oliver.
After failed attempts to coordinate with each other, both teams came to blows ala Civil War as the true Big Bad revealed himself as Richard Dragon. This was followed swiftly by a pressured Oliver lashing out at his own family, and John Diggle (David Ramsey) – the man who has had Oliver’s back since he got back from the island – walked out on him after an intense fight as well. As it stands, Oliver is now an army of one once again, only this time the odds are so stacked against him that a solo act won’t be enough.
“Superheroes having a falling out and fighting amongst each other is one of the most longstanding comic book traditions,“ Guggenheim explains. “[I] always thought the fans would go along with us in this regard, because it is such a tried-and-true comic book [convention].”
Sadly, implementing this convention has had the reverse effect with the fan base. With the brash and extreme ways that Oliver’s team has both deserted and battled against him, Marc admits that this season they have overplayed their hand a little. And that has thrown off the balance that has fastened the fans to the show as tightly as Oliver’s hood to his jacket.
“I think if I miscalculated anywhere,“ he explains, “it’s probably on the order of not taking into full consideration the fact that while all the arguments may be equal and equally strong, there’s always going to be a love and affection for the original characters that the new characters don’t get a chance to enjoy. In crafting these arguments, [we] were not taking into account the familiarity factor.”
With the remaining five episodes left in the season, it remains to be seen if Marc and company can learn from the mistakes of the past year and resolve these problems in an entertaining and engaging method. Like Oliver must find a way to get out of his own way and bring back his team, the creators must do the same to bring back the fans to hear those epic words, “My name is Oliver Queen.”
Catch the remainder of the sixth season of Arrow on the CW Thursdays at 8 PM Eastern.