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Amell, who portrays Oliver Queen/Green Arrow on the long-running CW series, announced on Wednesday during a Facebook Live stream that the superhero drama would be coming to an end after its upcoming 8th season.
In his emotional explanation, the Canadian-born actor that has been playing the titular role since 2012, said that being away from his Los Angeles- based family played a major factor in his difficult decision.
“A large part of this decision is because I’m now a father and a husband and a lot of my life and interests don’t really reside in Vancouver anymore and thinking that’s the best thing for me personally and professionally,” Amell, 37, explained as he fought back tears.
The actor shared that he initially brought up the idea of stepping away from the show to executive producer Greg Berlanti towards the end of the sixth season in May 2018.
“I approached Greg Berlanti and said that I thought both personally and professionally that at the end of my commitment this coming season, it would be the best for me to move on,” he said, adding that when the time came, he wanted to go out with a bang.
“I’ve always been a fan of television shows that not only don’t overstay their welcome but end in a manner that really packs a punch,” Amell continued. “It had always been my hope that we would know when we were going to finish this journey and not limp to the finish line, so to speak.”
After discussing things with Berlanti, Amell said they decided that he would return for a final, limited run in season 8. At this time, no date has been set for its premiere.
Despite serving as the main character, Amell was optimistic that the show’s legacy would “live on,” noting the other superhero-related series that Arrow has generated, including The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl.
“Because the entity of Oliver Queen character and the mythos and the iconography of Green Arrow has always been something that’s bigger than me or any other actor that’s playing him or voicing him,” Amell said. “There’s always been something more to it.”
“Something tells me even when I’m done I won’t be gone,” he added. “If you’ve watched the Arrowverse, you understand. I think it’s been a good run. It’s no Supernatural but it’s been a good run.”
As he began to wrap up, Amell tearfully thanked his wife Cassandra and five-year-old daughter Maverick for “putting up with really stupid hours,” his producers, cast, and the loyal fanbase.
He also expressed his appreciation for being able to pursue “philanthropic endeavors and cinematic opportunities” that he was granted simply from his time on the show.
“This feels strange and it’s certainly not the end, but it is the beginning of the end,” he said. “This show has given me a platform that extends so far beyond my ability to appear on your television 23 times a year. It has given me a voice…”
In a final note, Amell looked cheerfully towards the future. “I know when this is all said and done — after I drop off the face of the earth for approximately 2 months, probably on a safari — I know that the next chapter for me, both personally and professionally, will be really exciting.”
Following the emotional announcement, he also tweeted a note, calling his time on Arrow “the greatest professional experience of my life.”
Playing Oliver Queen has been the greatest professional experience of my life... but you can’t be a vigilante forever.
Arrow will return for a final run of 10 episodes this Fall.
There’s so much to say... for now I just want to say thank you.
— Stephen Amell (@StephenAmell) March 6, 2019
His tearful goodbye prompted a number of people to react to the news, including fellow cast members Colton Haynes, David Ramsey, Madison McLaughlin, and Rick Gonzalez.
“Sad to hear the news that #Arrow will be ending after Season 8. What an incredible ride this has been. Thank you to all the fans out there who supported us along the way. ??????” Haynes, who plays Roy Harper/Arsena, wrote on Instagram alongside a photo from the show.
“What an awesome ride! @arrow fans have been the best any actor could’ve asked for! Thank you for helping me bring John Diggle/Spartan to life!!! Love all of you! Can’t wait for you to see what we have in stock for you. Let’s end on a high, shall we? #ARROW” Ramsey a.k.a. John Diggle wrote on Twitter.
What an awesome ride! @arrow fans have been the best any actor could've asked for! Thank you for helping me bring John Diggle/Spartan to life!!! Love all of you! Can't wait for you to see what we have in stock for you. Let's end on a high, shall we? #ARROW pic.twitter.com/CDfjpCTNqA
— David Ramsey (@david_ramsey) March 6, 2019
“forever thankful for my time as evelyn learning from oliver, but also for my time learning from stephen. thanks for teaching me cool ways to carry a bow. and for giving my first tequila. but especially for having my back in a situation where I didn’t have much power, but you did,” McLaughlin, who plays Evelyn Sharp/Artemis, said.
In a separate tweet, the actress also congratulated Amell on his “incredible run” and shared a behind-the-scenes photo of the close-knit cast.
forever thankful for my time as evelyn learning from oliver, but also for my time learning from stephen. thanks for teaching me cool ways to carry a bow. and for giving my first tequila. but especially for having my back in a situation where I didn’t have much power, but you did. pic.twitter.com/5YYE2NVb6D
— Madison McLaughlin (@MadisonMcLaugh) March 6, 2019
“big time love for this whole crew. my time on arrow was always fun and supportive and also pretty sure I had to change my underwear from laughing too hard,” she said.
“Thankful and grateful to have had the chance to bring #WildDog to life on #Arrow,” added Gonzalez, who plays René Ramirez/Wild Dog, in a separate tweet.
“Thank you to all the writers and producers and cast and crew for welcoming me with open arms. And a big hug to all the fans for the love. It’s our job to give you an amazing last 10 episodes,” he continued.
Season 7 of Arrow is currently airing on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.