Audiences’ obsession with knowing things ahead of time is sadly something that the entertainment industry frequently has to deal with, and Arrow EP Marc Guggenheim has revealed that he was so keen for (spoilers for a TV episode that aired seven years ago) Tommy’s death in the season 1 finale to be a surprise, that fake scripts were created with a different ending.
Cast your mind back to 2013, where the televisual juggernaut of the Arrowverse was only just beginning and the finale of its progenitor series saw the realization of the Undertaking, a scheme by a group of millionaires to use an earthquake generator to destroy the deprived Glades district of Starling City after each of them lost someone as a result of the crime riddling the area. The final moments saw Tommy die when he became trapped under some rubble after saving Laurel from a collapsing building, and Oliver lying to him when he asks if Ollie killed his father (if you recall, Malcolm apparently dies after Oliver fatally wounds him in a rooftop showdown), giving him some peace in his final moments.
The fake script takes things in a different direction, seeing Oliver unable to deceive his best friend about what he had been forced to do, and the revelation instilling Tommy with the anger to survive, hauling himself off the rebar on which he was impaled and the season instead ending with him very much alive and swearing to kill Oliver in revenge for his loss.
When we (spoiler alert) killed off Tommy Merlyn at the end of Season 1, we published fake script pages to keep the secret under wraps. Here are those pages. pic.twitter.com/8qlFtTNxhb
— Marc Guggenheim (@mguggenheim) March 28, 2020
It’s certainly a plausible fake, as characters starting out as friends and allies only for circumstance to transform them into enemies is a popular comic book trope, and could certainly have taken things in an interesting and different direction when Tommy presumably took up his father’s mantle of the Dark Archer.
Of course, Tommy’s death was instead used as a catalyst for Oliver to abandon his previously murderous ways and battle the corruption of Starling City without killing his enemies, gradually transforming Arrow into a show driven by more recognizably heroic standards. But do you think it would have been better had it gone in a different direction? Let us know below.