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Over the course of Arrow’s first three seasons, Starling City was subject to some fairly terrible events. First, Malcolm Merlyn created an earthquake that killed 503 people, and then Slade Wilson created an army of Mirakuru powered soldiers who unleashed hell on the city’s populace, then last year the League of Assassins attempted to release a deadly virus with the potential to kill every living thing within the city limits. And somehow all of these things happened in May. It begs a very real question: why do people still want to live in Starling – now Star – City? That’s something that Season 4 of Arrow means to address. Here's what Arrow's co-showrunner Wendy Mericle had to say:
We really lean into it in the beginning of Season 4. The reality of a city that has essentially been struck by three terrorist attacks, and what does that look like? What does that actually do to the population of the people who live there? People are leaving and that’s really where we start Season 4.
Speaking with Uproxx, Mericle's words about the fourth season indicate that the creative forces behind Arrow realize that they can no longer simply have Team Arrow thwart a major attack on the city and once again ride off into the sunset. While only two episodes in, it has become evident that a major theme of Season 4 will be hope. As directly stated in the Season 4 premiere “Green Arrow,” in the six months since Arrow’s third season: people only leave Star City, they don’t go there.
Oliver Queen has realized that he can no longer merely thwart crime from the shadows, but rather that he must inspire the city to rally together and fight for a better life. It’s not enough to directly battle evil plaguing Star City as the Green Arrow, now Oliver has decided to run for mayor and become a beacon of hope during the daylight hours, as well. This seems to fall in line with the show's overall shift towards a lighter tone by bringing the entire city out of darkness. In a way he seems to have come around to the lesson he imparted upon Barry Allen during the series premiere of The Flash: inspire people in a way The Arrow never could.
This sort of theme has precedence in the comic book world. For example, Batman has often been portrayed as a symbol of hope in the typically hopeless Gotham City. Scott Snyder’s recent run on the Batman comic series has portrayed the iconic fictional locale as a sort of crucible for its citizens as well as its heroes. Those who stay and fight the adversity come out of the experience better as a result. Arrow has often adopted elements of the Batman mythos for its own purposes, so it’s entirely possible that such a philosophy will come to define Oliver Queen’s candidacy for mayor – and keep people from calling their real estate agents.
You can catch new episodes of The CW's Arrow on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET.