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One of TV’s longest-running live-action superhero shows, Arrow is heading to its eighth season on The CW. It spawned the Arrowverse, giving DC a small-screen foothold that Marvel had yet to find. Now its finale is tackling one of the greatest comic book events of all time: Crisis on Infinite Earths. Marv Wolfman’s and George Pérez’s continuity-straightening series was unprecedented at the time, and Wolfman’s return to the storyline for Arrow’s crossover episode should be just as epic. However, all the focus on the crossover doesn’t mean it’s the sole reason for the final Arrow season’s existence.
Arrow seemed to have been at a natural end once Season 7 wrapped, with only the event keeping it in place, at least in some fans’ minds. But according to TVLine, Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim explained that the five-part event came after the idea for Season 8. “We didn’t know that we were going to be doing Crisis in Season 8,” Guggenheim said. “And one thing I would love to clear up is this misconception I’ve read online that Crisis artificially extended Arrow’s life span, that the only reason we did a Season 8 of Arrow was to set up Crisis. That’s just patently untrue.”
EP Beth Schwartz explained at the TCAs that "the entirety of Season 8 leads up to Crisis," but this wasn’t always the plan—simply because ideas for Season 8 were bandied about before Season 7 even started, and long before Crisis was envisioned as the epic crossover finale. “Trust me—networks do not do additional episodes of anything just for one event,” Guggenheim said. “But let me put it even more succinctly: Even if we weren’t doing Crisis on Infinite Earths in Season 8, we’d still be doing a Season 8.”
That includes a plan for the absence of Felicity Smoak actress Emily Bett Rickards, who had signed a contract running through Season 7. Guggenheim confirmed that they “absolutely” had “a number of scenarios to account for Emily’s absence” before the Monitor began orchestrating his grand plan to save the multiverse.
That said, whatever scenarios and storylines that were planned now seem to be getting molded to lead up to Crisis—which will affect Arrow, Supergirl, The Flash, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, and Batwoman. Arrow begins heading towards the end times on Oct. 15.