It’s finally spoiler season for the fall lineup of network and cable television shows, including Arrow’s eighth season which will be its last. Originally a grounded(-ish) action series with no superpowers and no magic, the show introduced both very early on. Arrow spawned three spin-off series and holds an annual crossover event the hearkens back to comics’ glory days. In advance of the onslaught of Warner Bros. television panels coming to Comic-Con International in San Diego, the man who launched a shared universe speaks about closing this chapter in his life.
In a new interview, Amell says that while he’s sad about the end he also recognizes that it’s time to say goodbye to Oliver Queen. Due to complicated rights issues and questionable executive decisions, Batman is not allowed to take part in the most ambitious shared universe on the small screen. Thus, it was up to Amell’s Oliver Queen to play the role of the gruff, brooding, and driven hero that doesn’t want partners or allies but trains them anyway. What started with hacker/love interest Felicity Smoak, played by Emily Bett Rickards, grew into a large extended crew that rivals any Bat-Family.
He says, via Entertainment Weekly:
“I’m 38 years old, and I got this job when I was 30. I’d never had a job for more than a year. The fact that I’ve done this for the better part of a decade, and I’m not going to do it anymore, is a little frightening.”
Arrow launched The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and the upcoming Batwoman, while The Flash also helped out Supergirl, part of the crew but on a different Earth. (LOL, comics.) Amell says that Arrow’s eight season will be a much different show, because it really shows Oliver embracing his role as one of the most important heroes in the universe.
Amell says he doesn’t feel a sense of responsibility for those other shows, however Grant Gustin who plays the Flash disagrees. Gustin’s Barry Allen (pre-powers) made his debut during Arrow’s second season. Since then, the Flash became the Superman to the Green Arrow’s Batman. Gustin tells EW that Amell is the most prepared person on any set, always conscious about ensuring everything about the shoot is high-quality. In fact, this passion for this universe suggests that after Amell hangs up the quiver, he might still end up coming back. He feels affection for this whole operation and, we’d argue, a sense of responsibility.
What’s Arrow’s Eighth Season Going to Be Like?
In the Arrow season finale, a scene at the end featured a moment where the original “Team Arrow” says goodbye to one another. This send-off was very real for actors Amell, Rickards, and David Ramsey who plays John Diggle. Rickards will not return as a series regular for Arrow’s eighth season, and the show justified this by putting Felicity and her baby into hiding. (Of course, the smart money says that she shows up in an episode or two, if only the Arrow series finale.) While most runs in the show focused on Oliver Queen protecting Star City, Arrow’s eighth season expands the scope. As shown in the end of the last season, the cosmic character The Monitor showed up with a mission to save the universe. A mission, consequently, Oliver does not survive, at least in any way we’d recognize.
Still, Amell promises new locations each episode and a large, epic story that both closes out Arrow’s series and kicks off the most-anticipated DC live-action crossover: Crisis On Infinite Earths. The series will take him far outside of Star City, but not so far that the show can’t look back. Actors like Colin Donnell who played Oliver’s (dead) best friend or Josh Segarra who played Oliver’s (dead) worst nemesis will return. Arrow’s eighth season will try to straddle the line between loving retrospective and brave new story that breaks the formula of the show to build to something amazing.
What About Arrow’s Fans?
Arrow shares a problem with other great franchises, most specifically Star Wars. There are fans of the show whose fan experience seems to be intrinsically linked to kind-of-hating Arrow. They talk about which seasons were awful and which characters were worthless or wasted. Of course, now that they know it will end, that misplaced ire might abate for the span of ten episodes. If Arrow’s eighth season really is a series of episodes featuring the show’s “greatest hits,” that sounds fun on its own. But if it’s cleverly tied into the larger Crisis story, it can ignite those fans’ interest as well as for some of the other shows. Once Arrow goes away, perhaps those angry fans can find solace in hating The Flash or Legends of Tomorrow instead?
For the rest of us, this final season will likely feel like a well-earned victory lap for a show that took chances and birthed one of the top two live-action shared superhero universes ever. What do you think? Are you excited for Arrow’s eighth season? Tell us why and your hopes and dreams for the end in the comments below. Or, share the article on social media so your friends can get in on the discussion.
Featured Image via CW
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.