The end of Arrow Season 5 marked the end of Oliver's flashbacks to his five years of hell, and the series has been opened up to a format that utilizes flashbacks on less of a regular basis. That said, we do already know that Arrow will incorporate flashbacks whenever an episode calls for blasts from the past, and executive producer Marc Guggenheim has revealed that a fan-favorite character will receive flashbacks for the very first time in Season 6. In an appearance at San Diego Comic-Con, Guggenheim had this to say about Season 6:
You're gonna still see flashbacks. It won't be every episode and it won't be serialized. They'll be character specific and I'll give you one example... as you saw in the trailer Manu Bennett is back for the season premiere and he's also coming back for a special two-part episode in the first half of the season where we're really going to be focusing hard on his character, post everything he's experienced on the show and we intend to do a Slade Wilson flashback story.
That's right, Slade Wilson himself will be the focus of flashbacks in Season 6. Slade has appeared in flashbacks before, as he was a key figure in the first two years of Oliver's life on Lian Yu. There is a precedent for a villain-turned-antihero flashing back; Deadshot got his own flashbacks in the past. Given that Deadshot totally died at the end of his flashback episode, fans can only hope that the same won't be true for Slade.
Marc Guggenheim's reveal should come as a relief for viewers who were disappointed at Slade's sudden change of heart when he appeared at the end of Season 5. When he appeared in Season 3, he was still wearing his crazypants and set on getting his revenge on Oliver. In Season 5, he simply said that he'd come around to a state of mind that wasn't warped by the need to destroy everything that Oliver holds dear, and he was swayed to help Oliver by the promise of a reunion with his son. Flashbacks could help fill in some of the blanks between vengeful, murderous Slade and helpful, reasonable Slade.
Considering that the theme of Season 6 will be family, we can bet that the flashbacks will feature Slade's son as well. Who knows? Maybe we'll get a look at the mother-to-be of Grant Wilson, who may or may not have a key part to play in the future of Star City. It certainly sounds like Slade will get a fair amount of screen time; not every side character on Arrow can boast being the focus of a two-parter. It's not likely that Manu Bennett became a regular and Slade Wilson will be the next member of Team Arrow -- although he at least would be qualified to hit the streets to fight crime in Star City -- but he'll still be important to the show.
Of course, Oliver may need all the help he can get, if David Ramsey's rather foreboding comments really are hinting at a dire fate for one of the good guys. Besides, Team Arrow will be facing more than just one big bad this time around. If Slade can drop in from time to time to lend a hand and call Oliver "kid," who are we to complain?