Arrow Season 5 Thea

Arrow Boss Explains Thea's Absence, Obstacle Facing Laurel's Next Return

This Wednesday on Arrow (The CW, 8/7c), Thea Queen returns from the longest, most conspicuous off-site conference regarding local government ever. And though her absence was explained on-screen, viewers nonetheless wondered: Why was series regular/original cast member Willa Holland MIA for weeks on end?

At a Monday press screening of this week’s weighty, Rene-centric episode, co-showrunner Marc Guggenheim accounted for Thea’s here-and-there presence.

“Everyone’s like, ‘Where’s Thea? Where’s Thea?’ Willa’s [contracted for] 14 out of 23 episodes this year,” Guggenheim revealed. “She’s not in all 23. That’s not her contract. We’ve had to write around that.”

Contractual matters also may prove a hurdle in bringing Katie Cassidy back for another encore as one Laurel or another, even though Cassidy (as reported over the summer) entered the season with one of those #DCTV-wide deals that theoretically would allow her to pop up on Arrow or any of its many offspring.

“We have an idea for how to see [Katie] again, but we haven’t made a deal with her,” Guggenheim shared. “She’s not a series regular anymore, so we have to make a contract with her, and she’s got to be available. We haven’t had those conversations. But… we know exactly what we do want to do.

“You now know more than Katie does in terms of her involvement at the end of the season,” the EP quipped.

Touching on the larger issue of contracts, Guggenheim acknowledged that it gets “complicated” trying to retain actors for when you might need them, without keeping them from going out for pilot season this time of year.

“We try to make the process invisible in terms of our storytelling,” he said, “but there are just human realities and contractual realities that not only tie our hands, but tie the hands of everyone running a show these days — unless you’re Game of Thrones and you can just literally afford to, like, hold people for an entire year for ungodly sums of money.” (Reporting by Vlada Gelman)

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58 Comments
  1. JM says:

    Yeah well you killed off Laurel and therefore Katie Cassidy owes you nothing. As for Willa, sounds like the CW is trying to save money with all these recurring cast members. Also, it’s a smooth transition of writing her out should they opt out of renewing her contract.

    • fatalsin says:

      cast members who have series regular status such as willa make the same whether they are in all the episodes or not

      • Butch says:

        Apparently not. Willa was contracted for 14 episodes this season. I don’t think they are paying her for 23 episodes per the article. Perhaps that does not make her a series regular this season.

        • fatalsin says:

          she doesn’t get paid per episode tho is what im saying… she as do all series regulars have a base salary that is paid despite episode appearances as a series regular

          • Sorry, that is incorrect. All actors get paid on a per-episode basis regardless of being billed as series regular or re-curring guest star. What the series regular “title” does is it secures them as first priority — meaning they may not be in every episode, which means they can do other projects in their off time – but being series regular means you are tied to this production as your first priority — you work around this production’s schedule. Its also typical that only those billed as series regular roles are eligible to receive any residuals on airings/streaming/dvd sales etc. in their contracts.

          • Brigid says:

            All actors get paid per episode. See “Friends”.

  2. Azerty says:

    So basically he is saying that the fancy contract as “series regular across multiple CW superhero shows” means literally nothing. “She’s not a series regular anymore”. Not in LoT, not in Flash and really not in Arrow, she is nothing more than a glorified guest star…I can’t say that I was the biggest Laurel fan, but that’s a way to treat someone who has made the success of a show or at least took part in it. It’s just a shame to brag about giving her a multi shows contract when in fact that does not exist. Same thing happen to Wentworth Miller and such a shame as well.

  3. Wrstlgirl says:

    This show is really a struggle to watch now. Kinda sad considering how awesome it used to be. I’m having the same problem with Supergirl this season also.

  4. LK says:

    So that DCTV wide deal they made with Katie apparently doesn’t mean anything? And why is Thea only contracted for 14 episodes? Is that by her doing or production trying to cut costs?

    • Rana Kercmar says:

      I never heard any of the EPs claim Katie Cassidy was a regular.
      Also EPs and writers have nothing to do with contracts that is with the network and WB.

      • LK says:

        The EP is involved with contracts.,.. They are the ones running the show and thats part of their purview… The network gives them a budget that they have to work within but they dont dictate individual actor contracts usually.

        • Rana Kercmar says:

          Dear lord. No contracts are not part of the EPs workload. The contracts are negotiated by the actors and their representation and network/studio.

          • Marc says:

            On many shows, one of the many EPs is from the production company and is involved in contracts. Theoretically, EP Greg Berlanti has a role in contract negotiations as the owner of the company that produces the show for Warner Brothers Television and the CW. Steven Spielberg is credited as an EP on Bull because Amblin Television co-produces the show with CBS Productions. Both Berlanti and Spielberg may assign an employee of their production companies to handle negotiations. As for the showrunners, they may be involved because the negotiations affect them but the production company(ies), which employs them, and possibly the network buying the show have the final say. Of course, like David E. Kelley, a few showrunners own the production companies.

            From Wikipedia:
            Executive producer (television)
            There are four meanings for the term in North America. The showrunner is the “chief executive” in charge of everything related to the production of the show. It is the highest ranking individual who is responsible for the development and daily management of the show. Established show creators with prior writing credits are automatically given the title of executive producer, even after they depart the show. Executive producers can be showrunners, head writers, the CEO of the production company that distributes the series, or a producer on the writing staff who has climbed up the ranks.

      • Ray says:

        In the summer they put out press releases say Katie, Wentworth, and the guy that plays Malcolm would be series regulars across the CW/DC shows. We are about 50 combined episodes in and Katie has been in 2-3 episodes and Wentworth has been in 3-4 episodes. It was a straight out lie to keep down the noise of the fans of Laurel/Black Canary and Leonard/Captain Cold when they were both killed off. Instead of fixing both of the errors the Berlantiverse just continues to act like nothing happened.

        • Rana Kercmar says:

          Actually there was no Press release about KC. Marc Guggenheim even spilled the info about KC returning as a guest star during the SDCC to a fan before they announced it at the panel. This tells you all you need to know about her contract. They brought Barrowman to SDCC while not doing the same for KC.

          • This is the link to the story on this site about Katie Cassidy and if you do an internet search you will see that it was widely reported at the time.

            http://tvline.com/2016/07/23/arrow-katie-cassidy-series-regular-flash-legends-of-tomorrow/

          • notpercysowner says:

            You’re right, there was no press release, HOWEVER there was an announcement made at Comic Con
            Early reports of Laurel Lance’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. During the Arrow SDCC panel, it was announced that Cassidy was given a similar deal as Wenthworth Miller’s Captain Cold and John Barrowman’s Dark Archer where each respective character will be a regular across each of the 4 DCTV shows currently airing on The CW. In Cassidy’s case it’s currently unclear whether she’ll appear as Black Canary or her Earth-2 doppelganger, Black Siren (or perhaps even both). We should have clarification on her role soon but in the meantime, revel in the news that this isn’t the last time you’ll see Cassidy on The CW and there’s still a slight chance Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen will follow comic book canon and enter a romantic relationship with Canary over Felicity Smoak.

            During the Arrow panel at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday, executive producer Wendy Mericle revealed that Cassidy will be returning to Arrow in the season 4 premiere. Maybe this will be another side effect of Flashpoint seeing as Aaron and Todd Helbing revealed that it would impact Arrow during The Flash panel.

            If they wanted her gone, they should have just stuck with that instead of leading her fans on. I personally don’t care much one way or the other about Laurel as a character. I’m not a comics fan, so I don’t have that pull. I thought they wrote her poorly in season one, but did a fair job of course correcting after that. But even I’m miffed that they are playing games on her return. It’s disrespectful to fans and the actress.

        • Sarah says:

          I was mad and upset when they killed off Captain Cold. But he’s coming back in Legends. But they have to bring him back permanently.

          Laurel I was glad they killed off. I hope Katie doesn’t sign a contract to come back.

      • Maya says:

        Are u blind? It’s even in this articule as a related “Arrow’s Katie Cassidy becomes A SERIES REGULAR across all Cw hero show”! She already had a contract, so in that contract has to be very clear the amount of episodes she was gonna work! And now Guggie says that another contract has to be made? Plz this is a lie they are in the corner again and they don’t know how to deal with the fans backlash!

  5. lisa says:

    basically katie and willa are moving on and they’re scrambling

    • Rana Kercmar says:

      Willa always a loose kind of contract. Paul Blackthorne also isn’t in every episode of the show. But still a regular.
      Katie was always gonna appear in 3 episode tops of Arrow.

  6. Amy says:

    That GOT quote made me laugh.

  7. Betty Boop says:

    I wonder if Willa’s episode reduction is a result of the many, many new characters they’ve introduced this season.

    Rene, Rory, Adrian, Billy, Evelyn, Susan, Dinah – there’s a lot of new faces, not even including the usual flashback characters. They have to find the budget somewhere. They’ve given Thea literally nothing to do this year, it’s kinda sad.

    I think they need to let Laurel Lance, in all her iterations, go. An appearance in the 100th made sense, but there’s no need to have her cropping up regularly. Seeing Moira again in the 100th had emotional resonance because she’d been gone a long time. They should let the same thing build up with Laurel.

    • Brad says:

      Biggest reason is it’s Cheaper to have new actors

    • Lex says:

      Oh, I’m all for letting Laurel go. Can’t we all just move on? Let Katie find a character more suited to her talents, because Laurel did no favors for her. Willa is doing voice acting for Kingdom Hearts, that much I know. I’m just surprised Marc is so incredibly candid about this; usually you’d get things like a vague “regular across all shows” mention. This is like he’s venting his frustrations about getting the same questions over and over again.

      • notpercysowner says:

        I’m willing to let Laurel go as well. The problem is the producers continue to jerk her fans around with this “regular over 3 series ” line. Have her be gone or bring her back, don’t play games. It’s not that hard.

    • Jim says:

      It might have been Willa’s choice. She might have wanted to go do other things, too. With 14 out of 23, it would be possible for her to find other projects willing to shoot around her obligation to Arrow. If it wasn’t her choice, I think it was a big mistake. She’s been missed as Speedy this season.

  8. Do we even know if they are doing another season I though they only plan to do the five years he was gone

  9. Dominique says:

    yeah i’m no laurel fan but i don’t know what they expected here. a contract across all arrowverse shows? that doesn’t mean anything, apparently, because they still need to make seperate contracts for each seasons if they want those actors to return for several episodes. which leaves me worried about the other actors who have such contracts…
    i wonder why willa only has 14 episodes, he makes it sound like it was her choice, so i hope it means she’s out there doing other projects, or things she likes.
    that last bit in article sounds like they’re losing their new recruits, or at least that’s what it sounds like to me. which is not all that strange, given that only one of them is a regular, and sorry to say it’s not the most interesting character.

  10. Carlie says:

    No issue with the Laurel thing.
    But 14 of 23 is a lot for Thea to be absent from & I feel they have been lazy in writing her out. She’s kinda important to the series…especially as the female character count is dropping seriously low across all arrowverse shows.

    I also wasn’t paying attention earlier, if she hasn’t been in the last 3, how many of the remaining episodes do we get Thea?

    • Butch says:

      I first noticed Thea being absent on the last part of the cross over on Legends where Ollie thanked someone for dropping her off on home. I think the last 3 episodes are the only ones where she has been off camera. Therefore I think she will be missing. That means she won’t be in six of the remaining episodes. I agree they really haven’t given her anything to do this season. They really don’t focus on Ollie as Mayor and that is where she is. Maybe she should have remained in the fantasy world of the 100th episode like she wanted. That would have made more sense than this endless meeting she has been to.

  11. T.W.S.S. says:

    Katie, please go out for pilot season. Don’t return for another thankless guest-star appearance.

  12. JC1 says:

    Huh. (With apologies to Wendy Mericle)

  13. More misdirection and blatant lies from the Arrow EPs regarding Laurel/Katie. Let her go. Stop leading her fans on just to continue to trash the character and torture Katie with your obvious hate. Calling it now, he said all this knowing he’s got nothing for her but now he can blame it on Katie “not being available.”

    Oh and his “you now know more than Katie about this” is so typical. Kinda like when they didn’t tell her until two weeks before s2 started filming that Caity was cast as Canary Sara and called her at a convention to let her know they were killing Laurel just before they released the script for that ep.

  14. aaron says:

    So basically they lied about her having a DCTV-wide contract because if she did then they wouldnt have issues with getting her for an episode.

  15. Jared says:

    They literally took all the good secondary characters, spread them throughout the other DC shows and left Arrow a hot mess that is pretty much unwatchable this season.

  16. Lucy says:

    Bring Katie but Legends as Black Siren, they would probably treat her better and the dynamic between her and Sara would be interesting, especially if she was a villain first, we some more unpredictable rogues after Snart’s death and Mick is the only one. The team is meant to be a mix of heroes and villains, up the villains.

  17. Kristina says:

    I don’t understand this. They gave these “contracts” to three actors, two of which have been woefully underused and the other whose appearances have been pretty much confined to LoT. What was the point?!

  18. Fernanda says:

    So, they always wanted to put Felicity as the only female leading lady… Arrow showrunners I hate you

  19. Jeff hunter says:

    Don’t expect to see these in March or April,I follow her on Instagram and she’s on vacation someplace warm and “showing off”as usual😂😂😂😂😂!jeff

    • LOL if you followed her IG because you’re a real fan and not the obvs hater troll you are, you’d know the LA fashion show that she/her site posted an article about today was ten days ago. She also just moved back to LA recently. There was also a TKC shoot a couple weeks ago that she posted some pics. Recently her IG and FB live vids have been her cooking stuff. So

      Also it’s so bizarre and creepy to follow a person on social media that you obviously hate.

  20. Liz says:

    What a shame about Thea/Willa. She has a lot of potential but they wasted it on storylines with Malcolm. I’d like to see more from her and less of the new characters I don’t care about. Sigh, this show can be so clueless sometimes.

  21. JC1 says:

    Countdown to announcement of Juliana Harkavy being added as a series regular for next season in 3…2…1….

  22. Lex says:

    Well, considering it was contractual obligations that kept Laurel around so long, even after the narrative went in a different direction…

  23. Lisa says:

    I really would love to see these “regular across all shows” contracts. To repeat what other have said, they are clearly pointless. Maybe they just get more money or something.

    As a huge Captain Cold fan, I’m super angry at the lie that he will be part of the Legion of Doom when it’s looking like he won’t be back in Legends until the last two episodes of the season. I’m convinced that he will only be part of the LoD in some alternate timeline scenario. Can’t wait til Marc tries to deny he was lying about that one.

  24. Lisa says:

    You can blame contracts for why Thea isn’t on the show as much. But contracts aren’t to blame for the bad writing to explain it. At least Lance got a good reason to be out for a while. Thea just got “oh….uh….some sort of conference or something”. Heck, maybe actually show her go off to the conference and not just explain if off screen.

  25. Maria says:

    I’m so tired of KC. She’s nothing special. Let it go and move on.

  26. tvloverSA says:

    I am starting to hate this Marc Guggenheim guy even more ..the way he deals with things it’s just crazy…

  27. Jess says:

    Arrow is such a mess. It’s a shame because Arrow used to be such a great show. Seasons 1 and 2 were great but they have never managed to pick themselves back up.

    I think the next season should be the last. There’s nothing more of this story to tell. It’s like Wolverine! Nobody cares anymore.

  28. Cmdr_Shepard says:

    Ollie and Thea have the most realistic brother-sister relationship on television– and that’s saying a metric ton considering that this is a DC superhero show on the CW that has recently introduced aliens.

    I truly hope that her contract doesn’t reflect her status as a series regular in the future. I’ve been a fan of Willa Holland since her days as Agnes the drugged out model on Gossip Girl and, quite frankly, I find her performances, as well as Paul Blackthorne’s, to be the most poignant on the show.

  29. Brigid says:

    If they just wrote this show the way they originally intended it wouldn’t be the hot mess it is today. I wish Willa and Katie would go off and do something worth their talent, this show isn’t it.

  30. Aolani08 says:

    The new Siren or Canary or whomever fit right in so does it really matter if Laurel comes back or not? I’m just going to have to fast forward through Susan and Oliver scenes they are boring