The first scene of Arrow‘s series finale revisited that fateful night where Slade Wilson held Moira Queen at gunpoint, only to holster his weapon… and instead run her through with his sword. Except this time around, Oliver untied his hands in time to rise up and tackle his arch enemy, so that in this reborn universe, his and Thea’s mother would live to see another day.
The changed-up sequence played out seamlessly, as if series alum Manu Bennett was actually in the rewritten scene from Season 2, Episode 20. And that is because he was. No stand-in or reshoot here.
As Arrowverse EP Marc Guggenheim explained to TVLine, “When we started working on the finale in earnest, I asked the postproduction team for a reel of every deleted scene, including the deleted scenes that didn’t get released on home video, and that scene” — in which Oliver manages to save the day, and thus his mom — “was the original opening of [Episode] 223. It was Oliver basically daydreaming about how he could’ve saved his mother and how things could’ve gone differently.”
“The moment I saw that [deleted scene on the reel] I was like, ‘Thank you,'” Guggenheim recalls. “What a find.”
Originally, the series finale was going to open with what wound up as the first scene from its second act, “which is a recapitulation of that life raft scene of the pilot,” Guggenheim shared. “But once I saw [the deleted 223 scene], I was like, ‘Well, that’s the opening of the episode clearly.’ And it was great, because it was the type of thing that even if we were to reshoot it, it wouldn’t have been as seamless because of the ages of the actors.”