Arrow deserves a lot of credit as the show that really kicked off the current era of superhero fare on the small screen, and it certainly is responsible for The CW's DC universe that currently spans four shows on four nights per week. Still, no good thing can last forever, and Arrow is swiftly approaching the end of its five-year deadline to finish Oliver Queen's flashbacks. The big question now is of whether or not Arrow has a long future beyond Season 5. Star Stephen Amell had this to say about the future of Arrow:
I do really believe that this season is sort of a throw-down-the-gauntlet year for us, where we're either going to do what we do and do it well or it's the last year. If we find that magic formula --- which is not magic, it's just hard work and playing to your strengths --- then the show could go on for a really long time.
Executive producer Wendy Mericle has already promised that Season 5 will be the end of Oliver's flashbacks to his five years of hell, and so the structure of the show would have to be very different in any subsequent seasons. Stephen Amell's reveal to EW that Season 5 could possibly be the last if the show doesn't work as well this year as it has in seasons past means that fans may not want to start counting on a Season 6 just yet. Season 4 and what has aired so far of Season 5 have been somewhat divisive among fans about whether or not they've been any good.
The Oliver/Felicity relationship in Season 4 definitely had its detractors, and the focus on newbie vigilantes over old school Team Arrow has made the show feel very different now in Season 5. The one thing we can probably all agree on was that the baby mama drama last season was a huge setback for Oliver. If Arrow can't iron out its kinks and set the stage for an exceptional Season 6, it may be best for the show's legacy for it to come to an end. Longtime fans might have a hard time saying goodbye, but going out after Season 5 would at least mean that Arrow was able to come full circle on the five-year promise from the pilot. Giving closure and ending on a high note could be better than petering out over time.
Of course, there is still one major problem with Arrow ending after Season 5, and it has everything to do with the rest of The CW's DC universe. The network has been taking advantage of the shows' shared reality to share characters, and the ginormous crossover between all four has been hyped for months. Oliver can't really be lifted out of the equation very easily, especially considering that Arrow is directly responsible for setting up both The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. Unless Star City is somehow transported to another reality, the show may not be able to find a way to remove Oliver and Arrow from the Arrow-verse without killing him off. The poor guy deserves the chance to retire, but Arrow doesn't seem to like to give him breaks without throwing tragedy at him shortly thereafter.
Nobody should start panicking just yet. Arrow remains one of the highest-rated shows on The CW, and Stephen Amell doesn't sound like he's antsy to move on. The show could end; it could also last for a long time. Hopefully Arrow is done well for however much longer it will last. Tune in to The CW on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.