Last night’s emotional episode of Arrow killed off a beloved major character, marking the first time a main character died during a season finale since Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) bit the proverbial dust back in Season 1. But did you know it could have had a different outcome?
WARNING: Spoilers from last night’s episode “Life Sentence” follow. Proceed at your own peril.
While we knew Paul Blackthorne wouldn’t be returning as Quentin Lance for the show’s seventh season, the character’s death at the hands of Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) while taking a bullet for Earth-2 Laurel (Katie Cassidy) felt like massive gut punch. One that hit fans right in the feels.
Departing showrunner Marc Guggenheim recently spoke to TVLine about the decision to kill off the moral compass of the show (a little something The Walking Dead is all too familiar with) and revealed they also discussed a different fate for Mayor Lance. For example, they could have chosen to maim the character and send him off to live happily ever after with his ex-girlfriend Donna (Charlotte Ross) or something similar.
“Look, it’s always hard. Paul’s a wonderful actor and a wonderful human being,” Guggenheim told TVLine. “[Regarding] the decision to kill versus maim, this show has always been a show that has real consequences — even when we had the Lazarus Pit and and even with time travel and parallel Earths. Maiming always feels like a cop-out to me, especially on a show like this one. [Arrowverse executive producer] Greg Berlanti always says the show has a Game of Thrones element to it in that no one is ever really safe. And while I think while we could have maimed Lance and sent him off to live with Donna, like you said — and that was discussed — I don’t think it would have been true to the spirit of the show, which has never really done that as a general rule. But it was hard.”
Guggenheim, who has now handed over the reins of Arrow showrunner to Beth Schwartz as of last night’s Season 6 finale, also talked about how they broke the news to the former Dresden Files star that his character wouldn’t come out of Team Arrow's not-so-final confrontation with Diaz alive. (The Season 6 Big Bad sadly gets to live another day and will no doubt bring with him the Longbow Hunters in Season 7.)
“He’s terrific; by the way, a total class act. When [exiting co-showrunner] Wendy [Mericle] and I sat down with him to give him the news, he couldn’t have been more gracious about it,” Guggenheim added. “I think his performance in the finale is among the best he’s ever given on the show. It is a very beautiful, poignant exit for this character. He has a scene with Stephen [Amell] that is just next-level stuff. If you’re going to kill off a character, I do feel like this was the way to do it.”
What do you think about the decision to kill off Quentin Lance on Arrow? Are you disappointed that’s the route they decided to take or do you believe it was the right choice to make?