Whether or not Thea Queen survives the explosion on Lian Yu, actress Willa Holland will be back on Arrow this season. Showrunner Marc Guggenheim, though, hints that some of her episodes could be in flashback.
Thea's absence in the second half of Arrow's fifth season was noted by many fans, but Guggenheim told ComicBook.com that it was the byproduct of Holland's own request to scale back her time on set. While the explosion at the end of season 5 might seem like the ideal way to get rid of an actor who doesn't want to be onscreen all the time, Guggenheim has said in the past that he doesn't imagine that Thea will die on his watch, since Oliver has already lost both parents.
"We love Willa, we love Thea the character and we particularly love Thea's relationship with Oliver," Guggenheim told ComicBook.com. "That said, Willa came to us at the end of season four and she, very honestly, expressed a desire to cut back how many episodes a season she was doing. She's a member of our family, and we wanted to honor that request. That's what happens when you have a show that goes over a hundred episodes, people start to say, 'hey, I would like to pull back,' some people don't want to renew their contract. There's a whole host of different things that start to come into play and you work that into the story telling."
So what's next for the character?
"All I'll say really, and you can interpret this however you want, is Willa is back on the show and we are doing flashbacks from people's perspective that does not always include Oliver's," Guggenheim said. "I'll let you extrapolate from that what you will."
Arrow returns to The CW on Thursday at 9 p.m. ET/PT following the season premiere of Supernatural.