This January, Arrow came to an end after eight seasons, with the series finale unsurprisingly proving to be an emotional affair. Following the Emerald Archer’s death in “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” the episode revolved around Oliver Queen’s funeral, with many faces from the show’s past returning for the occasion. Even characters long since dead were able to come back, thanks to Oliver rebooting the timeline.
Just a few of the cameos included Susanna Thompson, Colin Donnell and Sea Shimooka as Moira Queen, Tommy Merlyn and Emiko Queen, three folks who were still alive in this new reality. Elsewhere, former allies like Joe Dinicol’s Ragman and the al Ghul sisters – Talia (Lex Doig) and Nyssa (Katrina Law) – dropped by Star City to pay their respects. And, best of all, Emily Bett Rickards came back after a season away to reunite with her husband in the afterlife.
In an illuminating chat on Fake Nerd Podcast, EP Marc Guggenheim talked about the difficulties of achieving all these casting coups. Unfortunately, not all of the guest stars they wanted worked out, but the writer/producer stresses that no one turned the offer down. If they weren’t able to appear, it was simply due to problems with scheduling conflicts and the like. In some cases, it was even down to the generosity of other productions that they were able to pull it off.
“There were a variety of different actors from the life of the show who we wanted to see return for the finale and we simply couldn’t manage it, because… it’s funny,” Guggenheim said. “No one turned us down. Every person who we approached who wasn’t in the finale was doing either another television show, ironically, or a movie. Even people doing television shows, it was tricky to get them. For example, Katrina Law is a series regular on Hawaii Five-o and that production moved heaven and Earth for her to be part of Oliver’s funeral, which the scheduling was so tight on that, we actually shot the first half of the funeral without Katrina. Katrina was headed from the airport to hair and makeup while we were shooting half that scene.”
Of course, Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen, Melissa Benoist’s Kara Danvers and Caity Lotz’s Sara Lance also dropped by for the funeral. You’d expect it to be easy to get the leads of The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow on board, but Guggenheim went on to add that it was actually extremely difficult to get the timetables of the various Arrowverse shows to line up.
“Even Melissa and Grant’s involvement was really, really challenging from a scheduling perspective, because they both have their own shows as well,” Guggenheim explained. “We pulled off as many miracles as we could. I would say we ended up pulling off more miracles than I expected, and I really have to give props to Beth Schwartz. By the time ‘Crisis’ was done, I was so burnt out and I was particularly burnt out on the subject of dealing with actor schedules and dealing with agents and managers. Every single one of the cameos and guest stars in ‘Crisis’ involved at least several phone calls on my part alone, and I was so tired. So Beth really stepped up to the plate and did all that diplomacy. There’s a lot of diplomatic work that goes into these sorts of things. She carried the water when I was way too tired to do so.”
The team’s hard work paid off, as episode 8×10 “Fadeout” turned out to be a truly fitting ending for Arrow and honored Stephen Amell’s founding father of the Arrowverse in the way he deserved. Hopefully his legacy will continue in the touted Green Arrow and the Canaries spinoff show, but if it doesn’t, then at least it all came together well in its cameo-filled conclusion.