On the Season 7 premiere of The CW series Arrow, entitled “Inmate #4587,” it’s been five months since Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) shocking decision to turn himself over to the FBI and reveal his identity as the Green Arrow to the public, and life in Slabside Maximum Security Prison has not been easy for him. At the same time, Diggle (David Ramsey), Curtis (Echo Kellum) and Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) have left their superhero costumes behind and taken on new jobs, while Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and William (Jack Moore) try to start over with new lives, as they adjust to their new reality without Oliver.
Following a screening of the mind-blowing episode at the offices of The CW, Collider (along with a handful of media outlets) participated in a Q&A with executive producer Beth Schwartz, who also wrote the episode with Oscar Balderrama. During the interview, she talked about what she wanted to bring to the series, as the new showrunner, the season theme of redemption, doing such visceral fight sequences, how Felicity and William are adapting to life in Witness Protection, the mystery of the identity of the new Green Arrow vigilante, what’s in store for Diggle and Curtis at Argus, Dinah’s career choice, and what’s to come for Laurel.
Be sure to check back, after the episode airs, for a spoiler-filled Part 2 of this interview.
Question: As the new showrunner, is there anything specific that you wanted to bring to the series?
BETH SCHWARTZ: For me, because I’ve been on the show for so long, I just wanted to bring all my favorite aspects of the show and put together all of the things with all of the characters. I’ve been with them so long, and the things that I wanted to see them do, they haven’t done yet.
Is there a bucket list item, that you’ve always wanted to see on the show, that you’ve already gotten to do?
SCHWARTZ: Yes, and I can’t say what it is. We’ll talk later in the season.
You’ve talked about how this season’s theme is redemption. Is that going to be a full season theme?
SCHWARTZ: Yeah, it’s gonna affect all of our characters, but it will obviously affect Oliver the most, just in terms of everything that he’s done for the past six years and because his identity is outed. Everyone knows who he is, and that’s gonna be a huge. He’s gonna have to deal with that, all season. He can no longer hide behind the mask or prison, or any of those things.
The fight sequences with Oliver in prison are very visceral. Is that something you specifically asked the stunt fight teams to do, and will we see more of that?
SCHWARTZ: Yeah, I did. (Stunt coordinator) James Bamford and I have had many conversations about what we wanted the fight sequences to look like this year. We wanted to get back to the feel of Season 1 and be a little grittier with some more exciting stunts. We talked a lot about that shower scene. That was a very in-depth conversation of, “Are they going to let us do that?” Because Oliver is in prison, we didn’t want to sugarcoat anything and we just really wanted to show how hard it is for him to be in there. We’ll continue that. We definitely have a lot of really cool stuff coming up, for sure.