WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for "Starling City," the Arrow Season 8 premiere.
Arrow's final season opens with a bang as the long-prophesied "Crisis on Infinite Earths" begins with the destruction of Earth-2 by an antimatter wave in the episode's final moments. Oliver Queen, working for The Monitor ever since the Season 7 finale, barely escaped with his life, taking that world's Laurel Lance with him.
At a recent press screening of the premiere episode, Arrow showrunner Beth Schwartz said this cataclysmic opening confirms the Crisis is unfolding more quickly than anticipated by the Arrowverse's characters. However, the destruction of an alternate Earth meant the writing team had to secure permission from another DCTV series.
"We knew pretty fast when we started breaking the season as a whole that we wanted to start -- you know, we don't have that many episodes -- big, and we wanted to introduce the upcoming crisis immediately because that is what this season is about and what Oliver is struggling with the entire time,"Schwartz explained, acknowledging the show had approached the writers of The Flash for permission to destroy Earth-2. "They were very gracious about it."
At this time, it's unknown if recurring Flash characters Harry Wells and Jesse Quick managed, both denizens of Earth-2, escaped their world's destruction. However, according to Arrow star Stephen Amell, Oliver witnessing the destruction of an alternate Earth will continue to impact him for the rest of the season.
"He believes the Monitor when the Monitor says 'You have to come with me,' because he's seen what the Monitor can do," Amell said. "But for him to see the destruction of an entire Earth, that certainly cements the reality of what's about to happen. To me, the most important part was that at the very last moment, he grabbed Laurel and brought her with him. That's really important to the rest of our year."
Airing Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, Arrow stars Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, David Ramsey as John Diggle, Rick Gonzalez as Wild Dog, Juliana Harkavy as Black Canary, Katie Cassidy as Black Siren, Katherine McNamara as Mia Smoak, Joseph David-Jones as Connor Hawke and Ben Lewis as William Clayton-Queen.