During an interview with ComicBook.com earlier today, Arrow executive producer Wendy Mericle referred to the upcoming season finale as a cliffhanger, and indicated that fans might not know who lives and who dies until season six.
Asked about earlier comments that they "might lose someone," and whether that meant traumatized audience members or a death in the cast, Mericle was coy.
"We're going to have a big bang of an ending, and we're not going to know really the outcome until the end of season 6," Mericle told ComicBook.com. "We don't often do cliffhangers in the way that we're doing this season, and we're excited about this ending."
From that quote alone, it certainly sounds like something big and sudden happens, and it's not clear who -- good guys or bad -- survives the event. On Lian Yu, where at least one of the final episodes appears to take place, that could be anything from landmines to natural disasters, to ARGUS finally deciding that the whole experiment has gone too far and it's time to nuke the place from orbit (although it's difficult to imagine that happening with Lyla Michaels, Diggle's wife, currently in charge of the organization).
The giant cliffhanger left open at the end of The Walking Dead's season 6 finale alienated some fans, but drove massive tune-in for the season 7 premiere. It turned out to be kind of a bad investment for The Walking Dead, whose reviews and ratings were down this season (compared, to be fair, to its TRULY MASSIVE previous seasons), but if audiences liked the payoff of such a cliffhanger, presumably building up that huge premiere audience could pay dividends throughout Arrow's sixth season, which will serve as something of a reboot for Oliver and company.
"I feel like we are going to stick the landing with Oliver and ending that chapter," Mericle said of the flashbacks that have served as a kind of backup story in the show's first five seasons. "I hope the fans agree. We've had a really fantastic time writing this season; it's been a blast. Moving forward into season 6, we're not calling it a reboot, because really the show is called Arrow and it's still about Oliver and his team, and that's not changing, but we don't have the flashbacks. What that's going to allow us to do is keep that device when we want it, but we don't have to keep pushing the five year storyline down the road. It gives us a lot more real estate to play around with, a lot more space to hopefully bring in some cool villains and to tell new character stories, and we have a lot of new characters on the show whose backstories we haven't really had the chance to experience."
Arrow airs Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW. The series returns from a mini-hiatus this week to burn through the final episodes of the season, which ends in late May.
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