CW Arrow




Written by:
David Kozlowski

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After Arrow Season 5

Welcome to the LRM PRIMER. This exclusive and ongoing feature will explore many of today’s most popular TV shows and major film franchises, explaining what they’re about and what viewers can expect. The Primer is for new fans looking to jump into a show or movie, or returning viewers who just want to catch-up quickly. We’ll update this content before, during, and after each season.



The CW version of Arrow borrows liberally from the character’s long comic-book history. The show’s format is essentially two-shows-in-one, depicting Queen in both Lian Yu (via flashbacks) and Starling City (in the present). Queen battled the Dark Archer/Malcom Merlyn (John Barrowman), who detonated an “earthquake bomb” in a crime-ridden section of town called “The Glades,” which killed Queen’s childhood friend and caused him to renounce murder.

Subsequent seasons of Arrow have introduced many well-known DC Comics heroes and villains, including: The Atom, Deathstroke, Black Canary, Mr. Terrific, Ra’s al Ghul, and the Suicide Squad. Arrow has often been criticized for borrowing too much from DC’s Batman, mirroring many aspects of that character, including tone, style, and gadgetry. In Season 5, however, Arrow redefined itself as a show about misfit, broken heroes seeking a second chance!

Real Name: Oliver Queen

Profession: Mayor

First Appearance: More Fun Comics #73 (November 1941), illustrated by George Papp


Arrow airs on The CW cable network.

There are currently five seasons of Arrow available on The CW (a sixth season was recently announced). Each season of Arrow consists of 23 episodes, each approximately 60 minutes in length (including commercials). Each new episode of Arrow is released weekly and can also be streamed the following day (for free) via the official CW Website. At the midpoint of each new season is a multi-week break, which is marked by a mid-season finale.

Rating: Mature (violence, profanity, criminal activity)

Season 1: October 10, 2012

Season 2: October 9, 2013

Season 3: October 8, 2014

Season 4: October 7, 2015

Season 5: October 5, 2016

Season 6: 2017 (TBD)


Arrow is the first of several DC/CW shows (including The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, and Black Lightning). This infographic contains valuable information regarding themes, tone, style, and storytelling to help determine whether this is the right show for you.


Arrow is set in the fictional, North American, Star City (formerly Starling City). Many of the DC comic books employ such imagined places (Gotham, Metropolis, Themyscira). There is some debate regarding where Star City is presumably located within the United States; however, in Arrow Season 4, Episode 23, titled “Schism,” a map is displayed that shows Star City in place of Chicago, Illinois.

Star City is a vibrant character unto itself within Arrow, including many frequently visited locations, such as: The Glades, Big Belly Burger, Star City Police Department, Starling General Hospital, and the Cannery. These physical locations, often seen in establishing shots, are in reality Vancouver, Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, Frankfurt, Tokyo, and Brussels.

If we assume that Star City is a stand-in for Chicago, there are several key geographical and demographical facts that we can assume about the location within the Arrowverse.

Current Population: 2.7 million

Area: 234 square miles


Over the long-running series the Green Arrow has faced many threats, from violent sociopaths to crazed meta-humans to powerful criminal and government organizations — Queen has often been both a member and an adversary of these groups.

While operating under the name “The Hood,” Queen hunts down a list of criminals listed in his late father’s notebook. He is joined by former bodyguard and Army veteran, John Diggle (David Ramsey) and high-tech genius Felicty Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards). Queen uncovers a plot to destroy a section of Starling City, called “The Glades,” via an earthquake bomb by a madman called the “Dark Archer” (John Borrowman) — but he’s too late.

Queen vows to stop crime without killing, following the deaths of so many in Season 1. A former ally from Queen’s past on Lian Yu emerges, Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett), who bears a blood grudge against him. Wilson becomes the legendary DC villain Deathstroke. Queen adds new members to his team: Arsenal (Colton Haynes), Black Canary (Caity Lotz), Speedy (Willa Holland), while running afoul of the SCPD’s Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne). Also, the Suicide Squad (Task Force X) and the anti-terrorist organization A.R.G.U.S. emerge as an ongoing, chaotic element in the series.

Team Arrow continues to grow with DC hero the Atom (Brandon Routh) and Katana (Rila Fukushima), but suffers the loss of Black Canary – her sister, Laurel (Katie Cassidy) assumes the mantle. A major new threat to Queen and Starling City emerges from the far East: The League of Assassins, led by the deadly Ra’s al Ghul (Matthew Nable) – a villain well-known to Batman fans!

Queen finally becomes the Green Arrow, a beacon of hope for the newly re-named Star City. The series introduces magic and mysticism in the form of Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), a deposed member of the League of Assassins, whose H.I.V.E. organization plans to level Star City with nuclear weapons. Team Arrow continues to splinter, as Diggle’s brother Andy (Eugene Byrd) is revealed as a member of H.I.V.E., forcing a dire confrontation

Green Arrow seeks to rebuild his team, taking on new recruits: Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez), Artemis (Madison McLaughlin), Ragman (Joe Dinicol), and Mr. Terrific (Echo Kellum). They are opposed by Prometheus (Josh Segarra), a brilliant tactician and fighter who was also trained by the League of Assassins. The Russian Bratva, another element of Queen’s past, returns and poses new threats. A wildcard vigilante, named “Vigilante,” emerges to counter Team Arrow and Prometheus.



Of all the epic fights over the course of the first two seasons of Marvel’s Daredevil, undoubtedly the most important ongoing conflict is between Wilson Fisk’s Kingpin and Murdock’s Daredevil. The entire first season was dedicated to their escalating feud, which has paid off in several face-to-face brawls. Season 2 picks up their storyline and takes it to some very exciting and unexpected places.


The cast of Arrow consists of many experienced TV veterans from shows like Private Practice, Hung, 24, and Dexter, as well as films including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Superman Returns and The Hobbit.


The Green Arrow is a master archer and warrior trained by the League of Assassins, A.R.G.U.S., Slade Wilson, and the Bratva. He has honed his incredible skills through constant practice and determination.Queen is just a man, he is not a meta-human or imbued with special or superhuman abilities. Much like DC’s other dark vigilante, The Batman, Queen relies his wits, his fighting skills, and an array of special technical gadgets created by Smoak and others, such as special trick arrows (explosive tips, lasso, electrical, and even a boxing glove).In keeping with his comic-book roots, Green Arrow typically employs a specialized compound bow. In addition to his array of special arrows, Queen also uses his bow as a formidable hand-to-hand weapon, much like a bow staff.

Queen, operating as The Hood, emerges in Starling City as a violent, murderous vigilante, killing criminals named in his father’s notebook. The Hood also battles the Dark Archer/Malcom Merlyn, who leads a criminal conspiracy to destroy The Glades via an earthquake bomb. The Hood fails in his attempt to stop the bomb, which kills hundreds, including one of Queen’s closest friends

Queen encounters an old ally and enemy in Slade Wilson, who later becomes the villain Deathstroke. Wilson, who is infected with a powerful mind-altering drug called Mirakuru, blames Queen for the death of his love, Shado, while all three were stranded together on Lian Yu. Wilson takes out his vengeance on Queen’s family, killing his mother. Deathstroke attempts to destroy Starling City with a mercenary force addicted to Mirakuru, but is defeated by Queen, who leads a civilian uprising to take back the city.

The League of Assassins seeks to take vengeance upon Starling City, led by the ancient terrorist, Ra’s al Ghul. Queen trains to face al Ghul, but is nearly killed in a mountaintop swordfight. He recovers and leads a team, including Diggle, Black Canary and The Atom against the League. Ra’s al Ghul travels to Starling City for a final showdown with Queen.

A deadly former member of the League of Assassins, Damien Darhk emerges with a plot to destroy the newly re-named Star City. Queen has gone public with his persona as Green Arrow, seeking to bring his fight into the light. Darhk’s H.I.V.E. mercenaries plan to detonate a nuclear warhead. A.R.G.U.S., fearing that Darhk’s organization is unstoppable, launches a pre-emptive missile strike. Green Arrow and his team take down Darhk just-in-time to prevent the missile attack, but Laurel is killed.

Green Arrow seeks to rebuild his team with a group of new vigilante recruits (Mr. Terrific, Artemis, Wild Dog, and Ragman). He also seeks out a new Black Canary, finding a metahuman with similar powers, who eventually joins the team. They are opposed by the ruthless and calculating Prometheus, who is constantly one step ahead of Queen, who has also become the mayor of Star City. Shades of Queen’s past, the Russian Bratva, also return and cause havoc, as well as a mysterious new foe, Vigilante, who has his own violent agenda.



The following timeline expresses many key moments during the entire lifespan of the series. Think of this as a 50,000-foot overview, to highlight major events and key character introductions.NOTE: each callout below references a specific episode from a particular season (the number corresponds to the specific episode).


The following video clip appeared in Season 2, Episode 23, titled “Unthinkable.” Oliver fights Slade Wilson to save both Felicty and Starling City, before an ARGUS drone strike levels everything. This is the finale to the season-long battle between Green Arrow and Deathstroke.



The following video clip appeared in Season 5, Episode 16, titled “Checkmate.” Green Arrow and team have tracked Prometheus to an abandoned building, where he’s holding hostages and has rigged the building to explode. Green Arrow and Prometheus stage their biggest fight of the season so far.



The following gallery contains several tesaers, trailers, featurettes, and other video content from The CW’s promotional materials.To view different videos, click the row of icons below the main video.


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