While fans have been pretty warm to Arrow season 5 so far, one of the criticisms it has faced is that in returning to the show's gritty, action-driven roots, it has neglected some of the character development that characters besides Oliver had received in earlier seasons.
That criticism has been personified in recent weeks by Thea Queen, Oliver's sister, who was one of the high points in the first half of the season before disappearing in 2017's episodes thus far.
The character will return to Star City in Wednesday's episode, titled "Spectre of the Gun," executive producer Marc Guggenheim noted during a screening of that episode earlier today.
There's not a particularly exciting reason for Thea's recent absence, Guggenheim said; it's really just about the business of making a 23-episode season of TV.
“Everyone’s, like, ‘where’s Thea?’ Well, Willa’s [in] 14 out of 23 episodes this year. She’s not in all 23. That’s not her contract. So we’ve had to write around that,” Guggenheim told reporters.
Green Arrow TV notes that it's not clear whether that 14 includes the crossover episodes with The Flash and DC's Legends of Tomorrow or whether those were a special arrangement.
“We try to make the process invisible in terms of our storytelling,” Guggenheim said,“but there are just human realities and contractual realities that not only tie our hands, but tie the hands of everyone running a show these days.”
Arrow airs Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.