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Arrow is kind of a big deal. Despite airing on the relatively diminutive CW, Arrow was the first modern network superhero show to be taken seriously by the mainstream media. Part of this undoubtedly comes from the fact that the superhero himself tended to take everything about his job as guardian of Starling City very seriously. His Season 3 struggle with identity was certainly not one that he took lightly. According to executive producer Marc Guggenheim, however, Oliver’s past tendency to hide beneath the darkness of the Arrow persona won’t be a factor in Season 4.
Instead, in an interview with Collider, Guggeneheim had this to tease about Oliver’s attitude in the fourth season compared to his outlook in the third:
No, I think we played that out last year. Last year was, ‘Am I the Arrow or am I Oliver Queen?’ This year, it’s, ‘I’m the Green Arrow and I’m Oliver Queen. How can I be both, at the same time?
One of the biggest differences between Oliver Queen’s Arrow of the CW series and Ollie Queen’s Green Arrow of the comics has been Oliver’s tendency to brood rather than... well, not brood. He’s been a big brooder prior to Season 4. A shift from his “quiver half empty” attitude during the majority of Season 3 to a “quiver half full” outlook on life has the possibility of being jarring, especially considering the jump from recovering Oliver of May to domesticated Oliver of October.
Fortunately, the stage had been set for the grim Arrow to become the lighter Green Arrow with Oliver’s ride off into the sunset with lady love Felicity Smoak in the last moments of the third season finale. He even smiled and proclaimed an “I’m happy!” without immediately following it up with “…to shoot an arrow into your knee.”
Of course, the five months of happily-ever-after with his lady love to encourage our hero to live as civilian and vigilante will not have had the same mellowing effect on those that he left behind. With Thea still recovering from the effects of the Lazarus Pit, Laurel doing her thing, Diggle stewing in his anger at his former best friend, and Starling dropping the –ling to become Star City, Oliver will likely have to do as much adjusting to the new status quo as those around him will have to do to his.
With the fourth year of the original intended five-year origin story premiering, the producers had to move forward from a hero brooding his way through life as he waits to die in green leather to a hero working to live outside of a mask. After three seasons of limited smiling and the main character compartmentalizing himself into half of a man, Oliver Queen embracing his two sides should take Arrow in a fresh new direction for Season 4.
None of this is to say that Oliver's days of brooding are 100% over. Hopefully, he'll just be doing it in civvies more often.