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Arrow: Season 8 will be the last

Adios, Ollie.

Mere months after receiving a renewal for an eighth season from the CW, the venerable DC comics-based series Arrow has gotten the axe. That season will be the final one, bringing the series that gave a name to its network's interconnected Arrowverse to a close. (via Variety)

Arrow proved to be a foundational series for the CW's slate during this decade. Debuting in 2012, the show quickly developed a strong fan base among DC fans who hadn't seen any of their heroes represented on the small screen in non-animated form — the soap opera-esque Smallville notwithstanding — for many years. Star Stephen Amell brought a steely presence to the role of Oliver Queen, a former billionaire playboy who returns from a half-decade long stranding on a desert island to his home, Starling City, taking on the identity of the costumed hero initially known as "The Hood." The show's first two seasons drew in enough viewers for the CW to take the plunge on another DC property, and in 2014, the network debuted The Flash, starring Grant Gustin — who popped up in three episodes of Arrow's second season — as the titular speedster. That show's slightly more irreverent tone and superpowered theatrics struck a major chord with viewers, and the Arrowverse began to develop in earnest.

Crossovers between the two series soon ensued, with the Flash vs. Arrow event leading the way. The two-episode event (an episode of Arrow's third season, and an episode of The Flash's first) was a hit, and despite its title, the two heroes ended up as allies, joining forces against Captain Boomerang during its conclusion. The pair teamed up once again during the following seasons of their respective series with the appropriately titled Heroes Join Forces event, and with the shared universe of the two series continuing to develop promisingly, more heroes were soon brought into the fray.

Early 2016 saw the debut of Legends of Tomorrow, which put the spotlight on such iconic DC heroes as Firestorm, Atom, and John Constantine; Supergirl debuted later that same year, featuring Melissa Benoist in the title role. The CW wasted no time in getting its newest series into the Arrowverse sandbox, with at least one massive crossover taking place in each of the next four seasons: World's Finest in 2016, Invasion! later that year, Crisis on Earth-X in 2017, and Elseworlds last year.

The conclusion of that event spelled potential trouble for Oliver, as it was strongly implied that the hero had made some sort of (offscreen) bargain with the all-powerful Monitor in order to save the lives of Flash and Supergirl. We'll doubtless find out the nature of this bargain at some point during Arrow's final season, but it's a safe bet — given Oliver's nature — that a heroic sacrifice of one type or another was likely involved. The remaining series will cross over yet again with the Crisis on Infinite Earths event, which will air this fall.

In a statement, producers Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Beth Schwartz struck a tone of consolation toward the show's fans, while promising great things still on the horizon for the surviving series in their shared universe (which may now be in need of a different name). "This was a difficult decision to come to, but like every hard decision we've made for the past seven years, it was with the best interests of Arrow in mind," the trio said. "We're heartened by the fact that Arrow has birthed an entire universe of shows that will continue on for many years to come. We're excited about crafting a conclusion that honors the show, its characters and its legacy and are grateful to all the writers, producers, actors, and — more importantly — the incredible crew that has sustained us and the show for over seven years."

Given that Faustian deal Oliver apparently made to save his friends, it was apparent that the CW may have been building toward a conclusive arc for Oliver, so even though this news doesn't come as a complete shock, it's still a bummer. However, there's still reason to take Berlanti, Guggenheim and Schwartz at their collective word. Not only are The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow showing no signs of slowing down, but there will soon be a new kid on the block: Batwoman, the Ruby Rose-led offering which the CW ordered to pilot last year after the character's debut in Elseworlds. While it has not been officially given the series greenlight yet, Rose's portrayal was warmly received, and the CW surely recognizes that opening up the Arrowverse (Flashverse? We're not sure what to call it now) to a bit more diversity makes good business sense. (Kate Kane, the masked vigilante's alter-ego, is openly gay.) There has also been talk of developing a series around the Man of Steel himself; Tyler Hoechlin made his debut as Superman in the first episode of Supergirl's second season, and the character figured prominently in the Elseworlds storyline. 

So, while the show will go on for the intricate and entertaining universe the CW has built, it is unfortunately the final curtain for Arrow. Season 8 will consist of a scant ten episodes, which are scheduled to begin airing this fall. Let's raise a glass in memory of Oliver Queen, a standup guy; a guy who rarely missed, who was never afraid to stick his neck out for his friends, and who came home from that island with one goal: to save his city.