Executive producer Marc Guggenheim revealed at a 2017 DC All Access presentation (via Comic Book) that the Arrow team left in Season 5 to cover a political issue. The team ended up covering gun violence because it fits so naturally with the show. “Gun violence felt like the right subject because of its timeliness, but also because of the scale of gun violence that is found on ‘Arrow.’ We could have done an episode about abortion, but that’s not really where the show lives. So gun violence really felt like the right thing to do,” Guggenheim said.
The producer also revealed that he took inspiration from an older television era when the show tackled the political issue. As Guggenheim grew up, it was common for shows to cover different real-world themes each week. He cited shows like “Black-ish” and “The Carmichael Show” as two of the few shows continuing this longstanding trend, but wanted “Arrow” to repopulate it in modern network drama.
Guggenheim cited the political division in the United States following the 2016 election as another reason for Arrow to address the issue. He and executive producer Wendy Mericle wanted to ensure that Specter of the Gun delved deep into the gun control debate, rather than remaining on the surface and focusing on the Second Amendment. Mericle said: “It’s important to at least talk about it. Eventually we got away from that as a country and we would like to hear both sides and hear both sides as fairly as possible.”
Both The CW and Warner Bros. supported the Arrow team’s decision to cover the controversial topic, and Guggenheim said there was no interference from either group (via Entertainment Weekly).