Just as Oliver Queen backed his sister Thea’s decision to put Star City in the rear view mirror, Arrow‘s Stephen Amell supports Willa Holland’s decision to exit the series after the better part of 131 episodes.
As showrunner Marc Guggenheim shared with TVLine, Holland had been angling to ankle the superhero drama since the end of Season 4, and in the interim settled for reduced episode counts for Seasons 5 and 6. Finally, in this Thursday’s episode, Thea left town with longtime love Roy Harper and former League of Assassins honcho Nyssa al Ghul, to destroy a trio of hidden Lazarus Pits, discovered by her late father Malcolm Merlyn, before they fell into the wrong hands.
Weighing in on his TV sister’s decision, Amell told TVLine, “Quite frankly, the most important thing when you’re doing a show like this and you’re doing 23 episodes [per season] and you’re working long, hard hours, you need to make sure that everyone that’s here wants to be here.”
Even in recent years, Amell attested, “Willa was nothing short of professional and excellent, and always delivered tremendous performances. But I know that she wanted to move on with her career. And I totally respect that. And I’m glad that she’s going to get that opportunity.”
Reflecting on their five-and-a-half seasons together, which adds up to a lot of brother/sister pep talks, Amell said, “I always enjoyed the Oliver and Thea’s dynamic” — as perfectly demonstrated by his idea to have their final moment together, hugging good-bye, echo their reunion in the series’ pilot. (Back then, Thea welcomed her long-“dead” brother home by saying,”I missed you so much,” to which he said, “You were with me the whole time.” This week, as they parted ways, Oliver said, “I’m going to miss you so much,” to which Thea said, “You’ll be with me the whole time.”)
And as but an added bonus, Amell observed, “It was a good opportunity for us to bring Colton Haynes back [as Roy], and that was exciting.”