If this feels like disappointment Deja Vu, it should: actor Colton Haynes is dropping out as a series regular on the upcoming Arrow season 8, which will also serve as the series final season. The change in Haynes status on the show was confirmed during the recent TCA press tour, with Arrow executive producer Beth Schwartz telling Green Arrow TV the following:
“We hope to have him back. We love him and he’s obviously one of the foundations of the show."
As stated above, this isn't Haynes' first time saying goodbye to Arrow. After first appearing in the show's first season, Haynes was upgraded to series regular for seasons 2 and 3. Haynes first departed the show in season 3, citing his mental health (anxiety), specifically regarding the struggle with his sexual identity. Haynes would only pop-up for minimal guest spots in Arrow seasons 4 - 6, while offscreen he came to terms with revealing his LBGTQ status, and even settled down into a marriage with florist Jeff Leatham.
However, troubles were not fully behind Haynes as he made his full-time return to Arrow in season 7; the actors marriage has hit several rocky (and very public) patches, and he lost his mother in spring of 2018. In spring of 2019, Haynes opened up even more regarding his struggles with alcohol and drugs, revealing that he had abused both substances virtually every day over the course of a decade. While there haven't really been whispers of any trouble with Haynes on the Arrow set, it would be understandable if the actor needed to take more time to do the right thing for himself. We wish him the best.
As it stands, Roy Harper's absence won't be an insurmountable loss for Arrow season 8. The final run of this flagship series in DC's Arrowverse Universe will be almost entirely focused on setting up the major "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover event that will radically change the Arrowverse, going forward. In fact, Arrow season 7 pretty much laid out the end of the series, by revealing a flash-forward storyline set decades after the "Crisis" event, where Oliver Queen's two children must fight against dark forces in a dystopian future, long after their father's death. That storyline brought Haynes' Roy Harper back into the fold, as he's discovered living in isolation on the island of Lian Yu where Oliver first trained and became the Arrow.
The end of season 7 saw Harper unite with Oliver's son, daughter, and wife (Felicity), as well as the remnants of Team Arrow and the Black Canarys. That rag-tag team managed to strike a significant blow against the A.I. Archer system Felicity created, and Felicity passed the superhero torch to her kids' generation, before meeting The Monitor to be reunited with Oliver in a place beyond the mortal world.
With that storyline closed, it would be easy to also explain that Roy simply retired along with the rest of the old guard; while his present day storyline would understandably see his accidental murder of two cops in a Mirakuru rage lead to the years of isolation on Lian Yu. In short: Haynes has done all the work that Arrow requires of him. And fans will forever be thankful.
Arrow's 8th and final season will begin airing this fall on the CW.
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