Though it may seem like Arrow‘s forthcoming farewell season only exists to service the five-part “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover, executive producer Marc Guggenheim says that is in fact not the case. Rather, he says the short Season 8 plan was in place before “Crisis” was ever locked down. And as such, there was an alternate plan for Oliver’s life to go on without Felicity.
Midway through our Fall Preview Q&A, Guggenheim stopped to set the record straight on the aforementioned misconception. But before we dive into that, some background.
Speaking with TVLine at TCA this month, series lead Stephen Amell confirmed that he had decided “midway through Season 6 — basically over the Christmas break — that it was time to be done, and I broached that subject with [Arrowverse overlord] Greg [Berlanti]…. I assumed that it was going to end at the end of [Season] 7, but Greg’s smarter than me and he had a really good idea for a limited run in Season 8.”
As such, before Season 7 even started, everyone knew that there would be a Season 8, with Amell on board for its 10-episode run.
At that point in time — well before the Arrowverse EPs would start breaking the story for 2018’s “Elseworlds” crossover — Guggenheim notes, “We didn’t know that we were going to be doing ‘Crisis’ in Season 8. And one thing I would love to clear up is this misconception I’ve read online that ‘Crisis’ artificially extended Arrow’s life span, that the only reason we did a Season 8 of Arrow was to set up ‘Crisis.’ That’s just patently untrue.
“Trust me — networks do not do additional episodes of anything just for one event,” Guggenheim added with a chuckle. “But let me put it even more succinctly: Even if we weren’t doing ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ in Season 8, we’d still be doing a Season 8.”
The thing is, of course, that Emily Bett Rickards had already decided, independent of Amell’s own plans, that she would exit the series at the end of Season 7. “[Emily] signed a six-year contract that ran through Season 7. She nailed it, and then she was done,” Amell said. “Frankly, from my perspective, I really would have preferred that she stayed until the end. But from a professional standpoint, as one of her best friends, I get it.”
So, in the event that there was no imminent “Crisis on Infinite Earths” that required Oliver to be pulled away, by the Monitor, from his and Felicity’s domestic life in the Season 7 finale, was there an alternate plan to somehow move forward without Rickards/Felicity?
“Absolutely,” Guggenheim said. “We actually discussed a number of scenarios to account for Emily’s absence.”