We knew heading into “Crisis on Infinite Earths” that Oliver Queen was going to die. Last year’s crossover “Elseworlds” heavily hinted that the Green Arrow had made a deal with the Monitor to exchange his own life so that Flash and Supergirl could live. This was then confirmed in the Arrow season 7 finale and reiterated ever since. What we didn’t expect, though, was for it to happen in the opening episode of the event.
Sunday’s “Part 1” saw the Emerald Archer perish while protecting the people of Earth-38. He managed to ensure a further billion refugees survived the trip to Earth-1, though his battle with the Anti-Monitor’s Shadow Demons cost him his life. The Monitor was shocked by his death, saying that this was not the way he had foreseen it occurring. Fans felt much the same way, too, as we all thought Ollie would last until the end of the five-part crossover.
EP Marc Guggenheim has now explained why it had to happen like this, though. He told reporters at a press event last week that, having already hyped up the hero’s demise, the writers had to find a way to still surprise people come “Crisis.”
“The dilemma that we presented to our own selves was that we spoiled our own story. If Oliver dying isn’t the surprise, what is the surprise? The timing of him dying.”
Guggenheim also said he hopes that killing Oliver so early achieves two key goals, explaining:
“We kind of figured the audience was expecting Oliver to die in the climax, in the fifth hour. If we went in the exact opposite direction, and killed him off at the end of hour one, we accomplished two things: Hopefully, we do surprise the audience, that’s absolutely the intention, but we also really establish the stakes.”
Of course, Monday’s “Part 2” revealed that Guggenheim was holding something back in this interview. Led by Mia Smoak and the Flash, the heroes dunked Oliver’s body in a Lazarus Pit on another Earth to resurrect him. The last we saw of the hero, the process had worked but his soul was yet to be retrieved. Photos for “Part 3” reveal that he’ll be up and running in that episode though, so was his death in “Part 1” the actual death that was foretold or just a big fakeout? We’ll have to keep watching “Crisis on Infinite Earths” to find out.