Arrow EPs Didn't Know Which Character Was in the Grave When They Wrote the Premiere

Tuesday, 05 April 2016 - 11:02AM
DC Comics
Arrow
Tuesday, 05 April 2016 - 11:02AM
Arrow EPs Didn't Know Which Character Was in the Grave When They Wrote the Premiere
Back in the fourth season premiere, Arrow teased that they would be killing off a major character. Fans were scouring every flash forward to the future for the answer to this season's biggest question: "Who's in that grave?" But as it turns out, we all could have saved our energy, because until relatively recently there was no answer to that question. When the premiere aired with that first funeral scene, the writers had no idea which character they were going to kill.

At an early screening for this week's episode, which will reveal which character dies, the executive producers said (via THR) that the decision to kill the character in question was both a recent and reluctant one:

Opening quote
[Wendy] Mericle and [Marc] Guggenheim said the writers didn't want to kill off the character in question, but they felt they needed to pay off the storyline set up in the premiere. At the time of the premiere, the writers hadn't yet figured out who they were going to put in the grave.
Closing quote

I have very mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I'm always in favor of writers not tying their hands and letting the narrative develop organically; look what happens to shows like How I Met Your Mother when they get boxed in by their own premise. But on the other hand... what?? Fans have been analyzing every single detail of those flash forward scenes, but that's presumably completely fruitless. I've been confused by the fact that Barry came to the funeral, for example, since it's been officially revealed that Felicity isn't the one in the grave, and those spoiler-y set photos seemed to reveal a character that isn't very close to Barry. But now it all makes sense, as they were probably tentatively planning to kill Felicity off when they wrote that first scene with Oliver and Barry in the premiere.

The writers were also very confusing and gave conflicting answers about whether this death will stick. THR said they specified the death would be "permanent," but Guggenheim seemed to imply that this character will come back at some point:

Opening quote
"Dead is not goodbye," Guggenheim said. "We definitely recognize across all three shows [Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow] that when we kill off a character, it means something different now. I'm not going to put a qualitative judgment on whether it's more or less impactful. I'll leave that up to the audience. But certainly, we acknowledge that there's a difference. Arrow much more so than Flash or Legends, for a lot of reasons, it traffics in death. For better or for worse, death is a part of the show. What we're finding as we're pushing into season five, the show has to evolve. The concept of death on the show is evolving and changing as we've seen with Sara Lance. As the show has evolved, so has death."
Closing quote

Mericle, on the other hand, made the death sound more permanent:

Opening quote
"It is a game changer in a very sad way that we're losing a beloved character but also in the sense of it's going to open up new storytelling avenues and will force our characters to rethink their decisions and their objectives," Mericle said. "Death is a reality and with the Lazarus Pit and the possibility of coming back, it's easy to forget that these people are vigilantes, they're out on the street, they're doing dangerous things. This brings that reality back in a rude and brutal way. It's good for the audience to be reminded of that and for our characters as well."
Closing quote

Thank you, guys, I'm sufficiently confused now. I guess we'll see what happens when "Eleven Fifty-Nine" airs this week at 8pm on The CW.
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