Across the first seven seasons of Arrow, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) apprehended his fair share of criminals who failed Star City, and he also made quite a few friends along the way too.
Now that the show that kicks off a whole universe of superheroes is getting ready to bow out for good, it seems like almost everybody that has ever appeared on Arrow is set to return one last time in season 8.
Producer Marc Guggenheim wasn’t kidding when he described the last chapter of Arrow as a kind of “greatest hits”. Season 8 will feature a number of characters long thought dead or forgotten, as seen in the latest trailer, so we at Digital Spy have sorted through various reports to reveal exactly who’s coming back and who’s gone for good.
Unfortunately, we still do not know exactly how Arrow will be affected by Crisis On Infinite Earths, so we have no guarantee that Oliver will meet Lois and Clark of Smallville just yet. That means we’re sticking to confirmed Arrow characters for now, although some heroes from other shows are also expected to pop up at some point during the crossover.
Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell)
I mean, duh. Still, this gives us a pretty good excuse to post a photo of Stephen Amell, so this wasn’t a complete waste of time.
John Diggle (David Ramsey)
David Ramsey is even directing the final season’s sixth episode, but what we’re most excited to learn is whether Diggle will finally pull on some spandex of his own and become the Arrowverse’s official Green Lantern.
Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy Rodgers)
Expect to see the former villain fully embrace heroism in season 8 before she leaves to star in her own female-centric spin-off show starring her fellow Canaries.
Rene Ramirez (Rick Gonzalez)
Despite his usual heroism, there’s a chance Rene might embrace the dark side as season 8 develops, which would explain his behaviour in the future of Star City 2040.
Dinah Drake (Juliana Harkavy)
Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum)
However, he’s bound to make some kind of appearance still given how integral Mr Terrific has been to Team Arrow in previous seasons.
Thea Queen (Willa Holland)
In the new season 8 trailer, it looks like the youngest Queen will return to team up with Oliver and help him complete some kind of quest, so, bow down, bitches.
Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell)
Although he hasn’t been a series regular since the season 1 finale, fans are excited nonetheless to see Tommy Merlyn return once again. However, it’s still unclear whether this will happen because of time travel or some kind of reality bending multiverse trickery.
Mia Smoak (Katherine McNamara)
Not only has Mia been upgraded to the main cast for season 8, but she’ll also lead the Canaries spin-off as a brand new Green Arrow, replacing her father who we can only assume will have snuffed it by then.
William Clayton (Ben Lewis)
What the future means for him remains to be seen, but we wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up channelling his step-mother’s tech skills to support the Canaries in their own spin-off following season 8’s backdoor pilot.
Lyla Michaels (Audrey Marie Anderson)
Does this mean we’ll have one last take on the Arrowverse’s Suicide Squad before Arrow itself bows out for good? Quite possibly, although don’t expect to see Harley Quinn or the Joker pop in to make a joke or two.
John Diggle Jr (Charlie Barnett)
Remember that time he was transformed from a girl into a boy because of Flashpoint? Barry Allen has a lot to answer for.
Connor Hawke (Joseph David-Jones)
Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman)
What remains to be seen is how Barrowman will reprise the role. Will we meet an alternate version of Malcolm from another universe? Will he be revived via time travel and/or magic? Or are we talking your run-of-the mill flashbacks? Hell, why not all three?
Talia al Ghul (Lexa Doig)
Talia has worked both with and against Oliver in the past, so it’s difficult to say whose side she’ll be on in the show’s final run after she escaped Slabside prison last season.
Either way, don’t expect her to bring this adorable cat along for the ride. Star City just isn’t safe for the likes of Hicks.
Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra)
Given that he’s supposed to be dead, don’t expect Segarra’s character to play a huge role in season 8. It’s likely that he’ll just be one of many ghosts that Oliver revisits as the final episodes move ever closer to his own likely death.
The Monitor/The Anti-Monitor (LaMonica Garrett)
Fans expecting a Bad Boys buddy comedy are likely to be disappointed, but what you should expect is to see this cosmic being pop up again and again in Arrow and other Arrowverse shows too before Crisis On Infinite Earths arrives.
Katana (Rila Fukushima)
Look out for Rila Fukushima in season 8’s second episode, ‘Welcome to Hong Kong,’ where she’ll likely team up with Oliver once more to kick butt and take names in some suitably bad-ass fashion.
Yao Fei Gulong (Byron Mann)
We’re not quite sure how he’ll shrug off that bullet to the head and return, but expect the unexpected when it comes to Arrow.
Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson)
Treat yourself to some ice cream and a warehouse-sized box of tissues when Moira Queen returns somehow in Arrow‘s final season. It’s going to be a tearjerker.
Roy Harper? (Colton Haynes)
Haynes himself responded to upset fans on Twitter, revealing that he wasn’t actually asked to return. Ouch.
Felicity Smoak? (Emily Bett Rickards)
Since then, a number of conflicting reports have emerged, hinting that Felicity may or may not reunite with Oliver on screen one last time.
Speaking to TVLine, The CW president Mark Pedowitz explained: “If Beth [Schwartz, showrunner] can find a way to bring her back that makes sense, and Emily is available, we’d love to have her. Otherwise, I’m pleased by how they said goodbye to the character.”
For many, it’s hard to imagine Arrow ending without Felicity appearing once more in at least some capacity, whether it’s through flashbacks or even a simple voiceover.
Speaking to Collider, Rickards dashed our hopes by suggesting that her character’s journey has come to a definitive end: “I don’t know if anybody is going to like what I’m saying, but I feel like Felicity has done her time. We knew this was coming for a while – for over a year – so the whole thing is exactly what we wanted to happen. I trust the writers, and that’s in their hands.”
However, during a recent appearance at MCM Comic Con in London, fans were given a teeny glimpse of hope when Emily said: “[A return is] not completely up to me. Never say never.”
Arrow season 8 has an October 15 premiere date on The CW in the US. In the UK, it airs on Sky One and NOW TV.