When "Arrow" kicks off its new season Wednesday, fans will undoubtedly notice that Star City's crime-fighting archer has turned over a brand new leaf -- an emerald one, to be precise.

Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) spent the first three seasons of his successful CW series battling his inner demons by shooting holes in them with arrows, but after screening the superb Season 4 premiere, Moviefone is happy to report our hero has finally learned healthier ways to cope.

Last season ended with Ollie jumping into a convertible with his ladylove Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) as the two of them quite literally took the long and windy road toward happily ever after. A few months have passed by the time Season 4 picks up, but Oliver's shiny new disposition still holds strong. He eventually winds his way back to Star City, of course, but not before rebranding himself as the Green Arrow, complete with his greenest suit yet.

Oliver is "trying to be more of an inspiration and less of the judge, jury, and executioner we've seen in the past," Wendy Mericle, "Arrow's" newly anointed co-showrunner, explained after a screening of the premiere episode.

But Oliver's sunny new disposition isn't the only big change in store. From a fantastically funny new villain to a drastic increase in metahuman and mystical occurrences, here are a few more things to expect from Wednesday's game-changing "Arrow" opener and the season ahead:

Oliver Is Funny Ha Ha, and the Tone Is Light
The "Arrow" return is filled with twists and turns aplenty, but for our money the biggest shocker is the drastic shift in tone. Whereas last season was dark and gritty (think "The Wire," Nirvana, or Picasso's Blue Period), this one seems light and playful (think "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," Weezer, or Bob Ross).

Specifically, the show is hilariously funny at times. Perhaps funnier than it has ever been. Sure, Felicity has always been good at cracking wise, but for the first time Speedy, Diggle, and Oliver -- yes, that Oliver -– are also joining in on the fun.

"It's coming from where Oliver is as a character," explained Mericle. "He's happier now. He's in love with Felicity. He's no longer the post-traumatic stress disorder suffering soldier he was in the first three seasons."

Did we mention the new villain is hilarious, too? Speaking of which...

New Blood, Bad Blood, Nerd Blood
Two new recurring characters will cross paths with Team Arrow this season: Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), Season 4's unapologetically evil "Big Bad," and Mr. Terrific (Echo Kellum), a brand new good guy who eventually befriends Felicity. Of the two, only Damien appears on Wednesday's episode. Revealing the "Big Bad" in the season premiere is actually a new approach for showrunners. "One of the things we really wanted to explore this year was seeing a Big Bad from the get go and giving him a lot of room to play," Mericle said.

The approach paid off, with McDonough absolutely stealing every scene in which he appears. "There's a real glimmer in his eye whenever he's putting the screws to somebody," co-showrunner Marc Guggenheim explained. "It is something we haven't seen on the show before."

Mr. Terrific, meanwhile, will eventually fill a Ray Palmer-shaped hole in the hearts of the Scooby Gang. From the sound of it, he won't be cracking skulls in the street with Oliver, John Diggle (David Ramsey), Black Canary (Katie Cassidy), and Speedy (Willa Holland), but will instead stay glued to the computers in Team Arrow's lair, which means he and Felicity will have a lot of opportunity to interact.

Kellum's character "has a strong tech background and is somebody for Felicity to talk to, to have scenes with," Mericle revealed. "It's very magical. They are great together." But their new relationship isn't the only magic in store this season...

Magical Mystical Tour
"Arrow" dabbled in the unexplained last season with the growing inclusion of super-powered metahumans and the reanimating waters of the Lazarus Pit, but that wasn't always the case. There was a time when The CW series featured the most realistic superheroes around. But that was before Barry Allen came a-knocking.

"We started out with the clear intention of doing a grounded show: no superheroes, no metahumans, no powers, no magic," Guggenheim said. "But then Warner Bros. and The CW said they really wanted us to spinoff Flash -- so we said, 'Okay, I guess we're doing superpowers now!'"

This season, the showrunners have doubled down on the mysticism with Damien Darhk, who promises to be "Arrow's" most magically delicious character yet. The show's previous villains, like Slade Wilson, Malcolm Merlyn, and Ra's al Ghul, were mostly super-charged fighters, but Darhk is different species of evil. He isn't physically imposing and he doesn't need to be, as he can wave away arrows with his hand and drain the life out of a man with one touch.

Relying heavily upon sorcery and superpowers is, of course, a gamble, but Guggenheim believes his show can stay grounded "as long as the characters' reactions are realistic." "If they react how we would react, it makes the fantastical less fantastic," he added.

"Arrow" returns to The CW for Season 4 on Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Arrow TV Show Poster
Arrow
CWTV14October 10, 2012
Based on 25 critics

Changed by a shipwreck, billionaire Oliver Queen becomes Arrow to right the wrongs of his family. Read More