Warning: This article contains spoilers from Tuesday’s series finale of Arrow, titled “Fadeout.”
Pour one out for Arrow, because it has ended.
In the CW superhero drama’s series finale, characters from past, present, and future came together for Oliver Queen’s (Stephen Amell) funeral. The man known as the Green Arrow sacrificed his life in the latest crossover to not only restart the universe but also resurrect many of the people he had lost in the past eight years: Tommy (Colin Donnell); his mother, Moira (Susanna Thompson); Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne); and Emiko (Sea Shimooka). With those familiar faces also came many sentimental moments: flashbacks to a key unseen season 1 moment in Oliver and Diggle’s (David Ramsey) friendship; Roy (Colton Haynes) and Thea (Willa Holland) getting engaged; and a Metropolis-bound Diggle discovering a box with a glowing green light at meteor crash site, which was a nod to the widely held fan theory that John Diggle was destined to become Green Lantern John Stewart.
Naturally, one of the highlights of the hour was Emily Bett Rickards’ return as Felicity Smoak. Fans got to see present-day Felicity meet her adult daughter from the future, Mia (Katherine McNara). Then, the episode revealed where the 2040 version of Felicity went when she stepped into a breach with the Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) at the end of season 7: It was a paradise dimension where she was reunited with her husband Oliver. So Olicity ended up living happily ever after in Moira Queen’s Queen Consolidated office, which is where Oliver first laid eyes on Felicity (It’s a long story).
One day before the finale aired, the CW invited reporters to a screening of the episode followed by a Q&A with Ramsey, showrunner/executive producer Beth Schwartz and consulting producerMarc Guggenheim, both of whom wrote the hour. Here’s what the trio had to about the conclusion of the Arrowverse’s flagship show.
On Diggle’s green box and future in the Arrowverse:
MARC GUGGENHEIM: In Rocky IV when Rocky did the press conference for his Ivan Drago fight, he said, “It’s going to be on Christmas in Russia,” and people are like, “Why?” And he’s just like, “That’s what I was told.” And every time David and I field questions about what was in the box, [it’s] basically like, that’s what I was told. What I mean by that is: This was something that was worked out over a year ahead with DC Entertainment. We very specifically negotiated and discussed the parameters, and I feel like to say anything beyond what we have shown you would violate our agreement with DC.
DAVID RAMSEY: That was very important [to pay off the fan theory]…There’s been a bit of a pay-off. We’ll see what all of that means. I’m with Marc, anything beyond that is kind of violating these parameters that we’ve been given by DC that we have to honor, but I think we’ve done some justice to the six year tease.
GUGGENHEIM: David and I have actually talked a lot about Diggle’s and David’s post Arrow future. We’ve got some really good ideas, and I’m going to stand pat on that. I will also say David has become a remarkable director, so we’re as interested in him behind the cameras as we are in front.
The reasoning behind the flashbacks to the early days Oliver and Diggle’s partnership
GUGGENHEIM: Because Oliver Queen dies two episodes earlier, we always knew that we wanted obviously Stephen in the finale, apart from just the end scene. That was number one. Number two, the obvious solutions to that seem to be do a flashback story, which also would honor the flashback convention that’s been so important to the show, particularly in its first five years. It seemed to make sense since in a series finale, you’re looking backwards, going back to season 1. The original plan was for it to be something with Oliver, Felicity, and Diggle probably circa right after episode 114, when Felicity was sort of brought into the circle of trust. The problem was that Emily was only available to us for two days, and that meant basically if we had a third day with her, we would have been able to tell that story. Once that didn’t materialize, we were like, our backup plan was do something circa post 105 after Oliver and Diggle have started working together and just tell a piece of the story you didn’t see, which is really the start of their relationship as partners and, as Diggle says later, as brothers. You kind of see, as Oliver says, the proof of concept of what that relationship could be. I think what kind of was nice and rewarding for us to see was how that and the eulogy speak to each other and you really do see how things have changed.
On the final scene, which Guggenheim wrote way back in June after meditating:
BETH SCHWARTZ: We didn’t even think of another ending. Like we didn’t have a backup plan at all. We were just like, Emily needs to do this. And luckily she did.
Why they went through Roy and Laurel’s engagement?
SCHWARTZ: I always wanted them to be together in the end, no matter what. I love them together and I think they’re one of my favorite relationships in the series, and then Marc went further with the engagement. He surprised me.
GUGGENHEIM: I think I was doing my pass on [those scenes] and I’m like, “Oh, this feels right. Let’s do this!” Because I also am a big fan of that relationship and that was actually something we had discussed and agreed upon very early on was they have to end up together…They’d been together off and on, off and on over the course of eight years. Again, sort of working in one of those reconciliation scenes, I was like, “How do we keep this from being different from the previous 20 times?” And it’s like their relationship has to move forward, they have to make a long-term commitment to each other, and it just felt right and I knew it’d be an easy sell with Beth.
SCHWARTZ: We wanted a few happy endings.
Why they kept Earth-2 Laurel instead of bringing original Laurel?
GUGGENHEIM: We went back and forth on that a great deal and, truth be told, that was really driven by the spinoff. I think if we weren’t doing a spinoff we probably would’ve gone a different way. But you know, we had a lot of conversations and me and Beth have and meet Beth, Jill [Blankenship] and Oscar [Balderrama], who will be running the spinoff if it goes, [about] basically which version of Laurel did we want on the spin off. And we’ve really fallen in love over the years Earth-2 version of Laura. We love Katie’s on that character. We love writing for that character. We love the complexities of that character sort of moral seaside. She’s just always been the more interesting character to us.
SCHWARTZ: In season[s] 7 and 8, she was really able to redeem herself and we felt that that was such an important story for her character, and she’s come such a long way from murdering people all the time to becoming the hero. You know, she was at the end of season 8 and we’ll continue to be in the spin-off hopefully. So it just felt like we would shortchange her if we didn’t really honor the growth that her character went through.
Is there a chance Stephen can return in the future?
GUGGENHEIM: As we’ve sort of said it in the saga sell, he’s become something else. The whole point of making him the Spectre was just to give us story opportunities because who knows what’s going to happen in the future. And the one thing I always say, every time a character dies on any of these shows, it’s like we’ve got alternate realities, we’ve got time travel, flashbacks, you name it. We have all these different devices. No one’s ever really gone…I think it would be how we brought him back and when. If we brought him back in the seventh season premiere of Flash, it would probably diminish this a bit.
The Arrowverse lives on with The Flash (returns Feb. 4 at 8 p.m.), DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (Tuesdays at 9 p.m.), Supergirl (Sundays at 9 p.m.), Batwoman (Sundays at 8 p.m.), and Black Lightning (Mondays at 9 p.m.), all on The CW.