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Arrow Boss Discusses Season 6 Finale Death

Contains spoilers for the season 6 finale of Arrow

The last episode of Arrow season 6 was anything but sunshine and roses, villains getting their just desserts, and vigilantes restoring peace to the city they watch over. Instead, the hero wound up in the slammer while the baddie ran free — effectively squashing the "goodness can trump evil" heart of the series. And then, taking things from awful to heartbreaking, Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) died after stepping in front of Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and taking the shot Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) fired at her. 

While Oliver (Stephen Amell) swooped in to thwart Diaz's efforts to rid Star City of FBI agents and gain the upper hand in the showdown, Laurel complicated things by sounding out her canary cry, accidentally granting Diaz a window to escape. Later, Oliver revealed that he got the FBI to help him by offering to publicly admit that he's the Green Arrow and turn himself over to the police. As everyone cried out against his decision, Oliver learned that Lance had died. 

Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim spoke with Entertainment Weekly following the tragic season 6 finale to discuss where the series will go without Blackthorne's Lance on board. 

He first explained the decision to kill off the character, saying that it was "a really hard decision," but he first pitched the idea to Arrow writer and producer Greg Berlanti, who opened his eyes to something special about the show. "[Berlanti] made the point that the show has always had sort of a Game of Thrones-like element to it in the sense that no one is safe. That's always been part and parcel of the show. We haven't killed off a character in a season finale since season 1," said Guggenheim.

The EP then admitted that there were two core reasons why Lance was murdered: the first is that the character's arc had ended, and the second was that the implications of his death will help propel the series forward. 

"Fundamentally, the reason we did it was sort of two-fold. We really felt that we had come to the end of Lance's story, but primarily, whenever we kill off a character, it's always out of, well what does this get us? What story consequences does this lead to that excite us? The idea that Diaz is responsible for Lance's death has huge ramifications for Laurel's character and her story line. That really intrigued us as we started talking about where Laurel was headed in season 7," Guggenheim explained. "As has been the case with every other death on the show, once we start getting excited about those consequences and start getting excited about the stories that the death leads to, it kind of takes on its own momentum. It was hard. Paul has been with us since the beginning, he's an absolute joy to work with. He's just a class act. I really, really enjoyed working with Paul so much over the last six years. It was the right time, and the right way, and the right story to tell at this moment."

So much is up in the air looking ahead, but Guggenheim mentioned that fans shouldn't assume Oliver is stepping away from the Green Arrow mantle forever, and explained that there's a good reason why the series would want to feature Oliver revealing his superhero identity. 

"We're the first of the Arrowverse shows, so we feel like we've got to do stuff on Arrow that the other shows haven't done yet," he stated. "The identity reveal is a good example of that. None of the other shows have revealed their protagonist's secret identity to the rest of the world, so we wanted to do it first."

He added, "I think it's safe to say that all of season 7 will probably not take place with Oliver in prison, so I don't think it's spoiling anything to say that he will get out at some point. It never occurred to me, quite frankly, that once he comes out that he necessarily has to stop being the Green Arrow. I think it probably all depends on the circumstances under which he eventually gets out."

Gugghenheim concluded that Arrow season 7 will feature the same time jump as always, "five to six months depending on when our season premiere is."

Arrow is anticipated to debut its seventh season on the CW this fall.