Arrow made big news back in March with the reveal that its eighth season will also be its last. The final season will air in the same TV season as the gigantic "Crisis on Infinite Earths" that will air over episodes of Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, and Batwoman, with a little bit of Black Lightning thrown into the Arrow-verse for the first time. "Crisis" is by far the biggest and most ambitious endeavor of the Arrow-verse so far, which led many fans to speculate that Arrow was only renewed for Season 8 to set up the crossover.
The rumor that Arrow Season 8 is all about "Crisis on Infinite Earths" was at least partly fueled by the fact that Arrow is ending after only ten episodes, which means it won't last very long after the crossover airs. The departure of leading lady Emily Bett Rickards added fuel to the first of speculation that the show got a late renewal for "Crisis" and no other reason. Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim addressed the idea that Season 8 exists because of "Crisis," saying this:
We didn’t know that we were going to be doing ‘Crisis’ in Season 8. And one thing I would love to clear up is this misconception I’ve read online that ‘Crisis’ artificially extended Arrow’s life span, that the only reason we did a Season 8 of Arrow was to set up ‘Crisis.’ That’s just patently untrue... Trust me — networks do not do additional episodes of anything just for one event. But let me put it even more succinctly: Even if we weren’t doing ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ in Season 8, we’d still be doing a Season 8.
According to Marc Guggenheim in his comments to TVLine, even the scale of "Crisis on Infinite Earths" wouldn't be enough for a network to justify a whole extra season for a show. It would be a bit of a stretch to give the go-ahead for another whole season of a show for the sake of a crossover that would only need one of its episodes, no matter that the eighth season will only run for ten episodes.
The rumor that Arrow Season 8 was happening because of "Crisis" did feel at least somewhat feasible, especially considering reveals that may point to a lot of Oliver's story going down in service of the crossover.
That said, the "Elseworlds" crossover made Oliver Queen necessary for "Crisis on Infinite Earths," and "Elseworlds" filmed back in Fall 2018. If Arrow had ended in the spring with the Season 7 finale, then either the ending would have to leave Oliver available to turn up for "Crisis" or somehow yank Oliver out of "Crisis" despite his deal with The Monitor in "Elseworlds."
Oliver is already built as the hero of "Crisis," considering he's presumably making a big sacrifice for the sakes of Barry, Kara, and others. Isn't it only fitting if the biggest crossover in the history of the Arrow-verse showcases the hero of the show that started it all?
A big question at this point is whether fan speculation about a spinoff will prove correct, even if the speculation of Season 8 being about "Crisis" was off. The next generation of heroes seems primed to anchor a show, and David Ramsey told CinemaBlend some interesting things about potential spinoffs.
Find out what's in store when Arrow returns for its eighth and final season on The CW in the fall, along with a whole bunch of other premieres in the not-too-different future.