Will 'Arrow' Ever Be the Same? Boss on the 'Emotional' Season Finale

by Philiana Ng 7:00 AM PDT, May 13, 2015
Photo: CW

Will Arrow ever be the same?

Tonight’s season finale, titled "My Name Is Oliver Queen," picks up after Oliver (Stephen Amell) abandoned his allies to perish in a Nanda Parbat cell, seemingly betraying his friends. In reality, Oliver was playing the long con against Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable), going along with the Demon’s wishes to destroy any trace of Starling City while secretly plotting with Malcolm (John Barrowman) to bring the deadly plan to an end.

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The repercussions of Oliver siding with Malcolm over Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) won't be something easily resolved by the end of the season – in fact, far from it. But as Oliver and Ra's get ready to square off once again in the ultimate rematch (this time, Oliver's in it to win it), things on Arrow are about to change forever.

Ahead of tonight's action-packed finale (including a visit from The Flash, a send-off for Ray Palmer and yikes, another death!), we jumped on the phone with executive producer Marc Guggenheim to get the scoop on what lies ahead.

Identity has been the undercurrent of the season and it seems Oliver is coming to grips with his “Oliver Queen” side. Where does his Arrow half stand as we wrap up season three and head into season four?

That’s really the interesting question. It’s something that gets very definitively answered in this episode. It kind of tees us up to where we’re planning on heading into season four, but what makes the question particularly complex is the fact that there kind of is no more Arrow. Ra’s [al Ghul] pretty much stuck a fork in that identity. What Oliver ends up doing in light of that probably shouldn’t be too surprising to people but we’ll see.

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Stephen Amell recently characterized the finale as one that's in the vein of a "series finale."

I definitely agree with Stephen. It feels like a series finale. There’s actually a segment that we picked up after we wrapped production that I think really doubles down on that notion.

Photo: CW

What it was designed to be was a capstone, not just to the season but as a capstone to the first three seasons. I think it functions very well on that part. That’s what makes it feel like a potential series finale even though it’s obviously not – me along with all the writers are deep into season four. But everyone’s going to finish the finale and go “Well, how do they still have a show after this?” We have an answer to that question but hopefully it’s not an answer that people can predict terribly easily.

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Oliver returns to Starling City a married man after wedding Nyssa at Ra’s’ request. How does this change in Oliver's relationship status affect his future with Felicity?

We always say Oliver and Felicity is an up-and-down, back-and-forth situation that’s constantly in flux. With that in mind, this episode gives a pretty definitive answer – at least for the time being. And we’re not ignoring the wedding. It gets brought up a couple times over the course of the finale so you’ll continue to enjoy married Oliver. But you’ll see what we’re talking about.

But Oliver was forced to marry, so could his situation be considered different?

It is definitely a shotgun wedding, which my wife [Agent Carter co-showrunner Tara Butters] does remind me is still as binding as every other kind of wedding.

Another relationship that seems nearly irreparable is Oliver’s friendship with Diggle. How much work does Oliver have to do to salvage their friendship and does their conflict lead into season four?

What’s happened between Oliver and Diggle is so profound that one thing that we did want to do was really resist the temptation to try to wrap it up in the season finale with a nice, convenient “I’m sorry, I love you buddy” scene. The goal here is to actually play the emotional reality of what has transpired and what everyone’s reactions should be as best as possible. This is something that will continue to be a factor in season four.

Lastly, what does the season finale hold?

What I really like about this finale is it’s a lot more emotional than the previous finales. In previous finales, we always did a really great job with the production value and blowing stuff up – and we definitely have some really great production value sequences in this episode – but we’ve managed to do it in service of the story that allows us to spend a bit more time with our characters and really get a chance to pay off some of these emotional beats that we’ve been setting up for the entire season.

Don't forget to come back here after tonight's episode to get the breakdown on the finale's biggest moments!

Arrow airs its season three finale Wednesday at 8 p.m. on The CW.