The promos for this Wednesday’s Arrow (The CW, 8/7c) portend “the end of an era.” But those who have had their eyes peeled since the close of the Season 4 premiere know very well what that means — the long-anticipated/dreaded reveal of who is in the flash-forward Mystery Grave, which was first spied at the close of the Season 4 premiere.
Just in case there is any doubt, “I think promos have made it clear this is the episode you find out who’s in the grave,” says executive producer Marc Guggenheim, who co-wrote the pivotal installment, “Eleven Fifty-Nine,” with Keto Shimizu.
At the time the original flash forward was filmed, the Arrow bosses by some accounts weren’t 100-percent sure who would eventually be killed off. But over time, the path to take made itself clear. “We started off this year with the promise of a death,” says Guggenheim, “and when we worked our way through our various creative choices, we realized that the thing that will give us the most pop going into the end of the season, into next season, unfortunately would be”… the character they wound up choosing, to be revealed in Wednesday’s episode.
Though that difficult decision is sure to sock with sorrow as many fans as it shocks, Arrow is not a show to take death lightly, nor has it ever.
“Arrow, much more so than Flash or Legends [of Tomorrow], traffics in death,” Guggenheim notes. “We started off the series with the apparent death of Sara Lance and the actual death of Robert Queen, and a hero who murdered people. For better or for worse, death is part of the show. And what we’re now finding is that the concept of death — as it should, by the way, when you are pushing into Season 5 – has to evolve, it has to change.”
And though some viewers have spoiled themselves by seeking out long-lens paparazzi photos of the fateful funeral scene, Guggenheim assures that there still are surprises to be had. “There are a couple [other] revelations in this episode,” he says, as well as “a pretty seismic change for the Diggle/Andy relationship.” (With reporting by Vlada Gelman)