Earlier this month, Arrow series star Stephen Amell confused fans with a comment on social media that seemed to suggest that either Arrow's final season had been shortened by an episode, or that there would be an episode in which Oliver Queen was not appearing. Up to this point, there had been no official clarification, although it now appears likely that the answer is, Oliver will not appear in the "backdoor pilot" for an all-female Arrow spinoff that would feature Katherine McNamara, Juliana Harkavy, and Katie Cassidy. The spinoff, which seems likely to be set in the future where Oliver's daughter has taken up his vigilante ways, came to light today.
If the episode is set in the future, though, it seems unlikely that Amell will have a significant role in it. Oliver has never appeared in the flash-forwards, and as far as anybody can tell, he will not survive the "Crisis on Infinite Earths," which explains his absence 20 years from now.
The controversy arose when Amell, at the halfway point of Arrow's final season, tweeted that there were five episodes down and "four to go." Since the season was announced as a ten-episode storyline, fans immediately started scratching their heads. What did it mean? Was the order shortened? Was he not counting "Crisis on Infinite Earths?"
Season 7 started using flash-forwards in order to tell a two-pronged storyline, with half of an episode set in both present day Starling City and half in future Star City, after Oliver is gone. The move echoed the flashbacks to the island and other locales where Oliver trained to become Green Arrow during his "five years in Hell." At the time of Amell's tweet, our own Kofi Outlaw speculated that the "Arrow series finale could similarly examine how the characters of present day Team Arrow step up to carry on Oliver's legacy, while the future storyline wraps up how Oliver and Felicity's kids (William and Mia) build a new Team Arrow in the future. There have been rumors that Arrow could possibly be spun out into some kind of new series, and it woudl be in keeping with CW tradition to use the final episode of the series to launch something new."
Now that the long-speculated-about crossover seems to be a reality -- or at least the network wants to make it one -- the answer seems pretty clear: that's exactly what Amell was obliquely hinting at.
Arrow's final season will begin Tuesday, October 15th, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.