SPOILER ALERT: Do not read any further if you have yet to watch the season finale of Arrow. There are major spoilers ahead, so if you can complain in the comments, you have failed the Internet and will be added to Oliver's list. The rest of you can carry on...
It's always brutal saying goodbye to a beloved TV character, especially one that you didn't get to spend a lot of time with. Was it us? Did they find a younger, prettier TV viewer? Is it really over?!
The CW's breakout hit Arrow closed out its freshman season by killing off Oliver's (Stephen Amell) best friend Tommy (Colin Donnell) in particularly heartbreaking fashion: He died protecting Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and holding Oliver's hand. Sniff!
We chatted with Donnell about Tommy's heroic death, the impact it will have on Oliver and whether or not fans will be seeing him again in flashbacks. Plus, find out what Donnell wants written on Tommy's tombstone!
When did you find out that Tommy would be the one dying in the finale?
I found out towards the end of February. Marc [Guggenheim] and Andrew [Kreisberg] came up to Vancouver to visit the set and they asked me to come in for a meeting while they were there. I was like, ‘It'll be good to see those guys. We'll probably talk about what's coming up for the rest of the season and season two.' And I walked in the room and I was like, ‘Oh, something's different.' [Laughs.] They were really, really cool about it. I don't think it was an easy decision for them to come to by any means, but they were like, ‘There's no easy way to say this.' I was like, ‘You're killing me off, aren't you?' But they were really sweet about the whole thing.
Were you at all suspicious that Tommy's time on the show would be short-lived after he learned Oliver's secret?
Yeah, I tried not to think about something like that over the course of the season because I was just taking it one script at a time.
Was Tommy's death the last scene you filmed?
It was really cool, they saved that scene for last and gave it really all the time that we needed to make it as right as it could possibly be. And it was a really neat morning on set, with Stephen and I and the whole crew who I can't say enough about; how they've been through all of this and to see them being so supportive for something that was really a difficult thing for everybody to be shooting, it was a really powerful day on set...The way in which Tommy goes it's a really cool way. They gave him a really awesome way to go. He's doing what he knows is right and he's saving people that he ultimately cares about it and who have really cared about him his entire life and have stuck by him.
Are you a little bummed you never got to don the Dark Archer suit or a hood of some kind?
There was all that stuff that would lead people to believe maybe he's going to put on the dark hood eventually. Who wouldn't want to put on a dark good and be an evil character? But I like the way that it all ended up panning out because it really speaks to and stays true to the character Tommy has become over the course of the season.
The show easily could have taken that turn with Tommy when he saw Oliver and Laurel together at the end of the last episode.
It would have been something that everybody would have been like, ‘Oh obviously, we saw that coming.' They made the hard decision and said, ‘We're going to throw everybody for a loop and this is the way it's going to be.'
What will you miss most about being on the show?
It's become such a family up there, the cast and the crew, especially. I loved being in Vancouver and I loved being part of a show that really struck a neat chord across a lot of genres and demographics. I couldn't be more proud to be a part of the very beginning of something that I think has a long future and just a ton of longevity. It has a very bright future in my eyes and to feel like I was an essential part in getting that up and running is basically everything that I always want when I step into a job.
Have they talked to you about possibly returning for flashbacks sometime down the line?
There are a lot of flashbacks in this show! [Laughs.] They left the door open in that regard, and time permitting and schedules permitting, I would never say no to these guys. They gave me an amazing opportunity to really somebody who is unknown on this coast. I'm forever grateful for that and I'm excited to see maybe somebody see an earlier version of Tommy, but who knows?
What do you think the impact of Tommy's death on Oliver will be in season two?
There's been all these things throughout the course of the season that have struck a chord with him in how his life as the vigilante has really affected those around him, but nobody has died from it yet that he's super close to…You can't have your best friend-slash-brother basically die in your arms and not have it be an incredibly powerful, life-changing moment.
Finally: What would you like Tommy's tombstone to say?
[Laughs.] Do I get to be funny? Hmmm…"He drank, he loved, he lived. And then died." [Laughs.] No, it would have to be something true to Tommy's character. He'd have to leave the world with some sort of parting shot, right? He's the kind of guy who would put the timestamp on it and be like, "This is the moment."
Were you surprised to see Tommy die? What do you want to see in season two? Sound off in the comments!