Arrow is back, and that Season 7 premiere sure dropped a bombshell. There was a lot happening in the episode, between Oliver (Stephen Amell) stuck in jail, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and William (Jack Moore) being attacked by Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo), and a mysterious new Green Arrow making things difficult for the rest of the team to move on with their lives. However, none of that had quite the impact of the final moments of the episode.
Through the installment, titled “Inmate #4587,” viewers were treated to what looked like a new set of flashbacks to Lian Yu, the island that was blown up in the Season 5 finale. The first five years of Arrow relied heavily on flashbacks to fill in the blanks of Oliver’s life, but after Lian Yu was destroyed, that way of telling the story was over–or was it?
In this new flashes, another young man arrives on Lian Yu in search of something, before eventually stumbling upon the grave of Robert Queen, Oliver’s father. In the end, it was revealed these weren’t flashbacks. Instead, these were flashforwards to the year 2040. The young man in question is Oliver’s son William, now an adult played by Ben Lewis (The Handmaid’s Tale).
We don’t find out why he came to the island in the episode, but he does come across another familiar face–Roy Harper (Colton Haynes), now a much older man. To attempt to get to the bottom of the flash forwards–and their place on the show going forward–GameSpot and a small group of other outlets were able to ask showrunner Beth Schwartz about this new storyline.
“We’re gonna keep [the flashforwards] all season and series,” Schwartz admitted. When it comes to how they’ll factor into character development, she explained, “Part of what I think made this series so successful in having the flashbacks is that you were able to really get into your characters. Especially with Oliver, you knew how he became the way he is. And now with the flashforwards, you’re able to see what is happening in the present day, how that affects the characters in the future.”
What Schwartz wasn’t willing to divulge is the answers we need. Why is Roy on the island? What brought William there? What’s happened to Oliver at this point?
These are the questions that will help drive the flashforward storyline this season, but they also shine an interesting light on the present day storylines. With a mysterious new Green Arrow unleashing vigilante justice on the streets of Star City and the resurfacing of Roy in the future, is it possible he’s taken up the hood without Oliver in the picture?
For answers to these questions, we’re just going to have to keep watching. Arrow airs Mondays on The CW.