It feels like only just last week Arrow shockingly said goodbye to one of our favorite characters...oh yeah, that's right, it was just last week!
Colton Haynes suddenly exited the CW superhero drama in a twist that left us reeling, after his character Roy Harper had his death faked so he could escape from prison and head out of town to live a normal life after taking the fall for Oliver (Stephen Amell) as the Arrow.
Since we're still not over the fact that Arsenal is leaving us (*sob*), we caught up with Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim after screening tonight's episode, "The Fallen," early to get the scoop on why he left...and the showrunner actually revealed that this isn't the last we've seen of Haynes on the show. Phew.
"I don't have a huge hunger to keep it secret from you guys," Guggenheim told E! News along with a small group of reporters about Haynes' upcoming return to the show. "Suffice it to say, I think the big thing that we felt we owed the audience more than anything was some closure with Thea [Willa Holland], because obviously the circumstances under which Thea is in episode 3.20—she was too busy getting 'killed' by Ra's [Matt Nable] to say goodbye to Roy."
According to Guggenheim, because Thea was left stabbed and bleeding on the floor of her loft while Roy was leaving, that lack of a proper goodbye between the two star-crossed lovers is something that will bring Roy back. (Because spoiler alert: Thea isn't gone from the show either despite her gigantic sword wound to the stomach!)
"In the writers room, I always talk in terms of dangling plot lines are like bills we still have to pay," Guggenheim said. "Certainly we owed the audience some closure for this three season long love story between these two characters."
So when can fans expect Roy to return? Praise the CW, WB and DC gods, because it's sooner than you think: Haynes will be back in episode 22!
But why did Haynes exit the show in the first place? Turns out the decision was made at the very beginning of his time on Arrow.
"When Colton came on board the show as recurring in season one, he had just come off of Teen Wolf, and he wasn't sure he wanted to do another series," Guggenheim said. "It was like, 'Come over to Arrow and play with us for a little bit and if it's working out for you then we can talk about making you like a regular.' We've taken this approach actually with other actors in the past before if they're not quite sure if they want to commit to a series or not."
He continued, "Colton did come on board and did have a good time and we made a two year deal with him. It wasn't like Susanna [Thompson, who played Moira] last year or Colin [Donnell, who played Tommy] the year before. We always knew we would have Colton for years two and three, so we started the year off with this end game in mind. We knew in large portion at the beginning of the year how we were going to pull it off."
All the Arrow showrunners are excited to see where Haynes' career takes him next...although hopefully, at some point, it takes him right back to Arrow.
"Certainly, I don't want to say we tried to convince him [to stay] and he turned us down," Guggenheim said. "He's got a big movie coming out, he's got a huge career ahead of him. For us, it was more of a conversation of how do we continue to go forward. There's a reason why we didn't kill off Roy. We want Roy Harper and Arsenal to remain in this universe that we're creating and Colton was completely game for that."
That only means good things for all Arsenal fans.
"I can't make an announcement and promise in episodes 4, 5, and 6 of season four he'll be on Arrow, but the relationship is still there and his desire to continue to play the character is still there and those are the two things you need [for him to return in the future]," Guggenheim said.
That sounds pretty optimistic to us!
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW.