Last week’s episode of Arrow said goodbye to a character that’s been around from the very first season: Thea Queen, aka Speedy (Willa Holland). Thing is, there was apparently nothing speedy (ahem) about her departure, since the actress has been wanting out of the Arrowverse since the end of Season 4.
Titled “The Thanatos Guild,” last week’s installment sent Thea off into the sunset with Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) and Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law), with the trio leaving Star City on a quest to destroy three long-lost Lazarus Pits. Which is a nifty way to leave the door open for any of them to return in the future.
Showrunner Marc Guggenheim recently opened up to TVLine about Holland’s desire to leave the show in the rearview mirror, revealing plans have been slowly put into motion by the end of the fourth season for Malcolm Merlyn's daughter.
“By the end of Season 4, Willa had expressed a desire to reduce her episodic commitment to the show and that was sort of done in sort of conjunction with an indication that it was likely that she wouldn’t want to renew her contract past Season 6,” Guggenheim said. “So, we’ve kind of known for a while that this was in the offing. We revisited it with Willa at the beginning of Season 6, and she indicated that she hadn’t changed her mind, that she was still interested in moving on.”
Guggenheim elaborated a bit more about writing Holland out, saying: “We talked about some requests she had for us in terms of how her episodes would be utilized and grouped, and at what point in the season she would be written out, and we accommodated her on all those fronts because, look, at the end of the day we love Willa and we love working with her. She’s done right by us and so we wanted to do right by her.”
Holland’s co-star Stephen Amell — who plays Thea's big brother Oliver Queen, aka the Green Arrow, on The CW superhero series — also weighed in on her departure in a separate interview with TVLine. “Quite frankly, the most important thing when you’re doing a show like this and you’re doing 23 episodes [per season] and you’re working long, hard hours, you need to make sure that everyone that’s here wants to be here,” Amell said.
The actor also attested to the fact that despite her desire to leave for such a long time, “Willa was nothing short of professional and excellent, and always delivered tremendous performances. But I know that she wanted to move on with her career. And I totally respect that. And I’m glad that she’s going to get that opportunity.”
Will Willa Holland’s departure from Arrow leave a Speedy-shaped hole in your heart? Did you ultimately like the send-off the that was given to Thea Queen?