SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of tonight’s episode of Arrow.
The long-rumored shakeup in Team Arrow became a reality tonight when Arrow’s sidekick Roy Harper, aka Arsenal, left Starling City. The departure was prompted by the end of Colton Haynes’ contract on the show. The Teen Wolf alum joined Arrow as a recurring in the second half of Season 1 and became a regular at the beginning of Season 2 with a two-year deal.
After posing as Arrow and turning himself into police to protect Oliver Queen in last week’s episode, Roy tonight staged his own death in prison, then escaped, but ultimately made the decision to leave Team Arrow, getting in his car and driving off.
While Haynes’ tenure as regular on Arrow is over, he is not necessarily done with the Arrow-Flash universe. Haynes is already slated to appear in one more episode of Arrow this season, and talks are underway about possible stints on The Flash or the upcoming Arrow-Flash spinoff series, said Arrow co-creators/executive producers Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim. I spoke with the duo about Haynes’ exit, the impact on Team Arrow and the future of the Arsenal character.
DEADLINE: When did you know that Colton Haynes was leaving after Season 3?
BERLANTI: When we made the deal. We made a two-season deal that had a clock on it, we always knew that. When he was coming off Teen Wolf, we described the role to him, and we agreed to do it for a couple of years. At that particular moment, he had a lot of opportunities to do things, and we’re lucky he chose us. He brought a lot of notoriety and viewership to Arrow when we were growing, and the show wouldn’t be the show it is without him. He is such a talent and such a nice guy, everybody from the crew to the writers were so enthusiastic to have him for the time we had him. We are sad to see him go but excited to see what he does next.
DEADLINE: How and when did Roy’s Season 3 storyline came about?
BERLANTI: We knew based on what had happened last season. Roy has struggled with guilt after killing a policeman. In saving Oliver, he sees a chance to absolve himself. Hopefully it was surprising for the audience as some thought for a moment that he might die.
GUGGENHEIM: We were able to deign his arc for the season with the end point in mind. We always knew he would take a heroic stance and redeem himself for his actions. It’s always a blessing when you know where exactly you are going to end up.
DEADLINE: Did you consider killing off Roy?
BERLANTI: We wanted to do something different. These characters are so young, they represent the next generation of superheroes, and we love the idea of having them just out there. And as a person we like Colton so much, we all would love to see him back. Such a talented, great guy.
GUGGENHEIM: The hope is that he’ll continue to be part of the universe we are building. We love working with his so much. We’ve talked to him about returning to one of the three shows, and if available, he has expressed interest. He is gone but definitely not forever.
DEADLINE: What will the impact of Roy’s departure be on Team Arrow?
BERLANTI: It’s always affecting the show when one character is moving on to the great beyond. That allows the show to grow and change, with the state of loss providing high stakes. The end of this season is very much a punctuation mark on the first three seasons. Third season will feel like the end of a trilogy, with elements and pieces coming together. We are heading into a big, epic, climactic battle, and I’m not not going to give away who is going to make it. Everything will be changed after this season.
GUGGENHEIM: The third season finale is among our best episodes, with each twist more shocking and surprising than the next.
DEADLINE: Will Oliver get a new sidekick?
BERLANTI: Watch the finale to find out. Fans will really wonder where you go from there.
DEADLINE: Do you know where the show will go from there?
BERLANTI: We have planned something cool and radical to open next season.