Oliver Queen will soon draw his last arrow. The CW announced this afternoon that Arrow will meet its end with an eighth and final season this fall.
“Like every hard decision we’ve made for the past seven years, it was with the best interests of Arrow in mind,” executive producers Beth Schwartz, Greg Berlanti, and Marc Guggenheim said in a statement to Variety. “We’re excited about crafting a conclusion that honors the show, its characters and its legacy and are grateful to all the writers, producers, actors, and — more importantly — the incredible crew that has sustained us and the show for over seven years.”
The decision came in part from none other than Oliver Queen himself, Stephen Amell. As he revealed in a Facebook video, he approached series showrunner Greg Berlanti towards the end of the sixth season and felt it best to move on due to his contract soon ending. Though he’d hoped the show could live without him and even tried to advocate for it, the showrunners and the network came to the mutual decision to end the show. As a result, the final season will get a limited run, with only 10 episodes instead of the normal 22.
But how could it end, knowing about where the Arrowverse is headed?
All good things...Posted by Stephen Amell on Wednesday, March 6, 2019
“My name is Oliver Queen”
Arrow premiered in 2012 as an origin story for Oliver, bringing him back to his home of Starling City after being stranded on an island for five years. Armed with a bow and arrow and donning a green hood and smearing grease over his eyes, he would save his city by killing those on his father’s list. At the time, the series had everything going against it: a cast of attractive people in the mold of other CW teen series; Oliver without his iconic goatee; a goofy line spoken with a Christian Bale growl: “You have failed this city!” Amell’s body was a big focus in the marketing, to the point where the network leaned into it for season 2. It seemed like it would be a bungling of the character from the network that had made Smallville a chore to get through for most of its run.
Instead, the show became something of a hit, eventually turning into the start of a whole universe of its own — featuring Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and the incoming Batwoman — dubbed as the Arrowverse. In lieu of having Batman in this new universe, the show had used Oliver as a substitute and got creative with things typically associated with the Dark Knight. In this universe, Oliver and Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke, were once best friends. He’d manage to become a member of the Russian mafia while stranded (spoiler alert, he wasn’t on that island all five years) and eventually fought Ra’s al Ghul. Love it or hate it, the show has helped shape the landscape of superhero television, not just for those on the same network, but that of other networks such as Agents of SHIELD and Gotham.
The future of Arrow
Right now, the big question is how it all ends. Rather than featuring flashbacks as they have in previous seasons, this season of Arrow features flashfowards focused on Oliver’s children William and Mia finding their mother Felicity Smoak and figuring out who wants to bomb Star City. The year 2040 isn’t a particularly great future for the people of Star City, as vigilantes are completely outlawed, seemingly thanks in part to Team Arrow becoming deputized by the police. In this week’s episode “Brothers and Sisters,” a flashforward featuring Oliver’s future children William and Mia indicates that our emerald archer doesn’t live to see his daughter being born. “My whole life,” Mia says, “my mom [Felicity Smoak] told me our dad was a hero.” It’s a throwaway line that provides our biggest clue about how the show could conclude.
During this year’s Elseworlds crossover, Oliver struck a deal with the Monitor to prevent the Flash and Supergirl from obliterating themselves while saving the world. Given that our next crossover lifts from the legendary Crisis on Infinite Earths arc, and Arrow has always been a part of the crossovers, it seems a given Oliver traded his life for theirs and this is where he heroically perishes. Unlike the other times he’s been thought dead, though, this one should prove definitive. Which makes sense: the Arrowverse heroes are expected to go up against the Anti-Monitor.
Should our hero does meet his end during Crisis, it’s doubtful this’ll be the last of Oliver. There’s plenty of ways to bring Amell back — an alternate universe or time travel featuring his younger self, perhaps — and he seems aware of that.
“Something tells me that even when I’m done, I won’t be gone,” he said in his video.
The other Arrowverse shows will continue to longer seasons, but when they eventually take a holiday break and return in 2020, it’ll be strange to see them all return without their leader.
Justin is a Kansas City, Missouri, freelance writer and is on Twitter often, @GigawattConduit. He also is an avid lover of M&M McFlurries from McDonald’s, and accepts that he has an addiction to them.