Why Arrow's Big Character Exit Happened, According To The Star

mr terrific's last arrow episode echo kellum

(Image credit: the cw press)

Major spoilers below for the most recent installment of Arrow, so be sure you're caught up before reading.

Since the earliest days, the team dynamic at the heart of Arrow has never been a stagnant and unchanging one, and that holds true with Season 7. The most recent episode, "Star City Slayer," saw Echo Kellum's Curtis Holt making the announcement that he's hanging up his Mr. Terrific vigilante persona in order to take a job with the Kohler Humanitarian Institute in Washington D.C. As it happens, the character exit was due to Kellum's personal request, as opposed to any story-related factors. In his words:

I had a conversation with [then-showrunner] Marc Guggenheim in Season 6. It was my idea. I have kids — I have a 12-year-old — and it was just starting to feel like I should be back home more. First of all, I love working on this show. I love the cast, the producers. It’s the best cast I’ve ever worked with, the best studio. . . . But I think for me, it just boiled down to family, and also I just wanted to try a couple of creative ventures in my life. I’m working on music, directing, and writing now. I still love acting, but it’s something I’m not looking at as the top thing of my career anymore. I’m looking at my career in a different light.

Echo Kellum was approaching this situation as if he needed to be the superhero in his own child's life, as opposed to merely playing one on television. That's a move that a lot of parents out there would completely understand, even if not everyone can understand what it means to leave behind a broadcast superhero comic book show.

It's probably true that Curtis didn't get to bring quite as much to the overarching narratives as the day-one characters did on a week-to-week basis. Not that he got shafted and left to the wayside, but it was clear that Mr. Terrific wasn't being heavily developed for a potential spinoff or anything. As such, Echo Kellum thought that this felt like the right time to pull the reins back

Echo Kellum explained to EW that he and Marc Guggenheim talked about fatherhood and family, and that the former showrunner understood why the actor wanted to bow out. After all, Arrow films in Vancouver, which is a tad more than a hop, skip and jump from Los Angeles, where the actor's family lives.

Curtis is going to work for an organization that allows him many more citizens than he was able to assist as Mr. Terrific. But fans shouldn't just assume that he'll be gone forever. According to Echo Kellum:

What I will say, this isn’t the end of Curtis. I’ll definitely come back as much as they want me back, and visit and guest-star and whatnot. So, it’s not the end of him. I guess it’s really a family decision overall, just to be a little closer to my kids. I’ve been around my kids more during the school parts of the year the most that I have been in the last four years, even in the past month. It was definitely not an easy decision.

As it has often gone with Arrow-verse shows, actors come and actors go, with the possibility almost always remaining for a return in some capacity. Luckily for Echo Kellum, Curtis was written out on a positive note that doesn't involve Lazarus Pits or Earth-2 breaches in order to get the actor back for an episode or two in the future. Who knows when someone else might need help healing their slit-open throat like Dinah did.

Diggle offered Curtis a position at A.R.G.U.S., where Mr. Terrific's technical know-how could also be put to good use. It's probably an open-ended invitation, meaning it's entirely possible that Kellum could return to Arrow on a more permanent basis again in a future season, just as a part of the hero-minded organization rather than Team Arrow proper. He almost definitely has to come back for the big "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover, right?

For what it's worth, current showrunner Beth Schwartz also put out a statement that...echoes...Echo Kellum's thoughts on Mr. Terrific still being alive and well in this universe.

I love working with Echo, who is an absolute delight and joy. Echo has always brought humor and heart to Arrow. Curtis is such a fun character to write for and he’ll be greatly missed. We haven’t seen the last of Mr. Terrific.

Of course, Arrow's latest episode had other things for people to pay attention to beyond Curtis' exit, such as that potential Felicity pregnancy bombshell that could mean lots of things for the flash-forward's future. But it seems that will all get figured out without Mr. Terrific around.

Arrow Season 7 will continue playing out on The CW every Monday night at 8:00 p.m. ET. For all the other explosive shows in primetime right now (and in the near future), head to our midseason premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.