Back when "Arrow" debuted in 2012, the brains behind the show made a very clear promise about what the series finale would entail. Before knowing that "Arrow" would become a hit series and launch an entire universe of TV shows, the showrunners had their fingers crossed that the show would make it to five seasons. If it made it that far, the brains behind "Arrow" said that the final moments of the series would conclude Oliver Queen's five-year flashback odyssey the same way the pilot episode began. Scenes of Oliver's rescue from Lian Yu would be spliced together with new footage.
“It was really just a hope at that point [in 2012] that the show would run five years, and we always thought that we would intercut the final moment of the series with the first moment of the series, that it would form one big Moebius strip," showrunner Marc Guggenheim told TV Line. “There’s still a part of me that wishes we could do that. But I wouldn’t want to artificially extend the flashbacks [beyond five seasons], and I also wouldn’t want to artificially cut the show short. It would’ve been a beautifully elegant thing, and Five Years Ago Me would’ve loved it. But things change, and I do think it’ll make the Season 5 finale pretty awesome.”
Now that "Arrow" has reached season five and has no plans of slowing down, the plan has changed slightly. As Guggenheim said, "Spoiler alert. That’s going to end up being the Season 5 finale.” Season five's flashback storyarc will still end by replaying the first moments of the series, but there's now much more show to come after that moment in season six and beyond.
But just because fans saw how season five will end five years ago doesn't mean there aren't surprises still ahead at the end of this season. Guggenheim added that the creators have "some incredibly clear plans for what we want to do in the Season 5 finale," but that they always leave wiggle room for surprises and cliffhangers. "Usually the craziest ideas on this show tend to be the ones that the ideas sort of linger, and we never really quite set on them. Like, ‘Oh, maybe we’ll kill off Tommy?’ We don’t fully commit until we’re pretty much breaking the episode.”
Starring Stephen Amell as the Emerald Archer, "Arrow" airs Wednesdays at 8 pm ET/PT on The CW. The series also stars Emily Bett Rickards, David Ramsey, John Barrowman, Willa Holland and more.