'Arrow': Stephen Amell Addresses Willa Holland's Exit

Arrow said goodbye to series regular Willa Holland this week as Thea Queen left Star City seemingly for good in "The Thanatos Guild" and while Holland's departure is bittersweet for fans and cast alike, series star Stephen Amell supports her decision to go.

"Willa was nothing short of professional and excellent, and always delivered tremendous performances," Amell told TV Line. "But I know that she wanted to move on with her career. And I totally respect that. And I'm glad that she's going to get that opportunity."

Amell also acknowledged that making Arrow was a commitment that doesn't leave much room for other career opportunities.

"Quite frankly the most important thing when you're doing a show like this and you're doing 23 episodes [per season] and you're working long, hard hours, you need to make sure that everyone that's here wants to be here," he said.

Holland's departure from Arrow didn't come as shock for fans of The CW series. For the past two seasons, Holland has had a reduced episode count with Thea having reduced appearances in the series, first retiring from her role as a vigilante and then being injured in the explosion of Lian Yu in the show's Season 5 finale. Thea was left in a coma for much of Season 6 because of those injuries, but rather than simply have Thea remain in a coma, the show wrote her out -- a choice executive producer Marc Guggenheim told Entertainment Weekly was Holland's.

"Season six is the end of her contract, and going into season six, with all of us knowing it was the end of her contract, Willa expressed the desire to move on, not re-up," Guggenheim explained. "She expressed a desire to be written out at a certain time in the season, which is around episode 16, so we accommodated her on that front as well."

In "The Thanatos Guild", Thea leaves Star City along with Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law) and longtime love Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) to destroy three newly-discovered Lazarus Pits so that they wouldn't fall into the wrong hands. The departure allowed Thea to leave on her own terms while also not subjecting Oliver to another painful family loss, but even though saying goodbye to Thea was sad, Amell saw a silver lining.

"It was a good opportunity for us to bring Colton Haynes back, and that was exciting."

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Arrow airs Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW.

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