Paul Blackthorne, who plays Quentin Lance on Arrow, will step away from his role as a series regular on the show for the seventh season, which begins filming this summer.
Entertainment Weekly, who broke the story, say that Warner Bros. TV and The CW have not yet commented on the circumstances surrounding his departure or whether he may play a reduced role next season or is leaving entirely.
Blackthorne is one of only a few remaining characters who have been with the show from the beginning, although in the case of Katie Cassidy, who plays Laurel Lance, the actual version of the character she is playing is not the same one from the pilot.
His departure follows that of Willa Holland, who played Oliver's sister Thea Queen. Holland's role had been reduced over the last season and a half or so, at the actress's request, and when he contract expired, she declined to renew it.
Showrunners Marc Guggenheim and Wendy Mericle will also depart at the end of the season, with Guggenheim remaining on in an advisory capacity and longtime staff writer Beth Schwartz taking over as showrunner.
Lance, a police detective who began the series with an axe to grind against "The Hood," the vigilante who would later become Green Arrow, rose through the ranks throughout the series, and ultimately became the city's deputy mayor when Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) was elected to run the city. Along the way, his relationship with Oliver has been rocky, having blamed him for Sara's apparent death even before he knew that Oliver was Green Arrow. Eventually, he became the police department's contact within Team Arrow and became one of Oliver's closest allies. For a while, Lance's involvement with Team Arrow meant that Oliver and company were at a significantly reduced risk of arrest for their vigilante activities, but that disappeared once Lance joined Oliver at City Hall.
Following Oliver's recent impeachment, Lance became the city's mayor, which puts Black Siren (Laurel from Earth-2) in the position of standing between her father and Ricardo Diaz, her boss and the man who wants to run the city's criminal underbelly.8comments
Given the revelation that Quentin's surviving daughter Sara (Caity Lotz) will make a guest appearance in the Arrow season finale, some fans had already guessed that Quentin might be marked for death (her appearance, then, being at his funeral). That Blackthorne is leaving the show seems to lend those theories some additional credence.
Arrow airs on Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT, following episodes of Supernatural on The CW.