‘Arrow’s Stephen Amell on Why Season 8 Is the Right Time to Hang up the Suit
Just like Oliver Queen, Stephen Amell has come a long way since he first slipped into his green leather getup. But after eight years, the time has come for both to hang up their bows and arrows.
Here, as he heads into his 10-episode final season as Star City’s vigilante turned mayor turned icon, the OG of Warner Bros.’ stable of superhero series opens up about why it’s the right time to wrap things up — and what he’ll miss the most about the show that spawned an entire Arrowverse.
When did you first start thinking about the end of Arrow?
Stephen Amell: [Executive producer] Greg Berlanti and I first started talking about it in January of Season 6. God, what is that, 2018? We sat down and just said, “I think it’s time to do other things.” My initial intention was to let them know before we began production with the idea that Season 7 would be it. My favorite TV shows have all had the opportunity to write toward the ending as opposed to just treading water. Then we talked a lot about a limited run for Season 8. [Seasons 1 through 6 each had 23 episodes; Season 7 ran for 22.]
What was your reaction when it was officially announced?
I knew the news was coming and even then, I was really, really emotional. The call from Greg, [fellow exec producer] Marc Guggenheim, and [showrunner] Beth Schwartz saying we’d end after 10 episodes was eerily reminiscent to getting the call that I got the job. I think I was even in Burbank both times.
It’s sad. My kid was born in Vancouver [where the series films]. I’ve spent the better part of a decade with the vast majority of the crew, and we’ve been so lucky to retain so many of them. To say nothing of the friendships I’ve built among the cast and the world we helped build. It’s going to be really sad. I don’t know what my life looks like without Arrow, frankly.
Outside of Arrow, you have produced the upcoming film Code 8, founded a cancer charity, launched a wine label.…
When you look at all the opportunities I’ve had, I’ll never, ever be able to repay Greg, The CW, and Warner Bros. for this opportunity.
Obviously, it’s the people, the cast and crew, you’ll miss the most?
Absolutely, man. Although it’s not like the connection with the fans will go away. I know guys from Smallville, which has been off the air for the better part of a decade, and that connection still resonates.
What do you plan on taking from the set as a souvenir for yourself?
No comment. [Laughs]
For those who can’t make your final panel at Comic-Con, what would you like to tell the fans before signing off?
San Diego Comic-Con will always be very special because that was really the place people saw the show for the first time. It was Katie [Cassidy] and me in Ballroom 20, and there was a lot of excitement, but there was also a lot of apprehension because I think people basically didn’t want the show to suck. [Laughs] I actually said in that panel, “If we do this show well, we’ll be busy for the next decade or so.” So I guess I would like to apologize to them that we fell three years short. But I think it was a good run.
What are your work plans now?
Arrow is a 10-month shoot, so I haven’t had a hiatus in a good while where I could go and do something. I’m going to roll up my sleeves and see what’s out there.
Arrow, Eighth and Final Season Premiere, Tuesday, October 15, 9/8c, The CW
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