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Spoilers for the final episode of Arrow (ever) are discussed below!
Arrow has said its goodbyes via the series finale, and while fans mourn the ending of an era, they probably have some questions. For instance, how on earth did Arrow pull off that opening scene between Slade Wilson and Moira Queen in the final episode? That would be the one in which Oliver changes his mother’s former fate at Slade's hands.
In the opening minutes of Arrow’s final episode, the show shifted gears back to a pivotal moment that changed the series forever. Back in Season 2, Episode 20, Slade murdered Moira in front of a bound Oliver by impaling her with his sword. In Arrow’s finale, Oliver was able to save Moira’s life by getting to Slade before he could commit the heinous crime. Thus, restoring his mother’s life, and arguably giving fans some “wish fulfillment” in the process.
The moment was brought to you in part by a rebooted timeline, some creative thinking behind-the-scenes, and a dash of never-before-seen footage. Arrow-verse executive producer, Marc Guggenheim, explained the logistics of bringing the scene to the screen, telling TVLine:
When we started working on the finale in earnest, I asked the postproduction team for a reel of every deleted scene, including the deleted scenes that didn’t get released on home video, and that scene was the original opening of [Episode] 223. It was Oliver basically daydreaming about how he could’ve saved his mother and how things could’ve gone differently. The moment I saw that [deleted scene on the reel] I was like, ‘Thank you.’ What a find.
Indeed! Marc Guggenheim revealed the deleted scene in question was originally supposed to unfold three episodes after Moira’s death occurred in Season 2, Episode 20. In it, Oliver dreamed he made it to Slade in time to save Moira. The scene ended up not making the cut, paving the way for it to be used, after all, in Arrow's final episode.
In the series finale, Arrow’s daydream became a reality. The Arrow-verse’s executive producer went on to say that the re-purposed deleted scene provided a "seamless" rendering of the rebooted sequence. Since it was shot back in Season 2, Arrow’s cast remained frozen in time. What a way for things to work out!
Oliver Queen may be dead, but his mother is back among the living. The game-changing save has many repercussions, as it means Moira is alive, and presumably accessible to the Arrow-verse from here out! One place she could theoretically pop up in the future is in that potential spinoff. Before saying goodbye, Arrow set-up a backdoor pilot for a spinoff involving Moira’s granddaughter, Mia Queen.
All in all, this behind-the-scenes story is yet another sign of how creative Arrow’s team got when it came time to conjure up the series finale. The last episode was initially set to feature more of Moira’s daughter-in-law, Felicity. However, things worked out differently due to scheduling. There were no schedules to worry about with this inventive solution for the Moira/Slade scene, though!
Arrow dug back through its eight-season history and found the unused sequence that pulled everything together. Someone was clearly thinking way outside of the box. As a result, Oliver was able to save his mom in a smoothly injected scene, and the timeline that sprung forth was a much more splendid one.
Now Arrow fans will have to stay tuned to see if John Diggle returns as Green Lantern and if that backdoor pilot gets greenlit as a series. As for Arrow, it is over now. However, the Arrow-verse lives on through The CW franchise, which will continue airing new episodes throughout the winter and spring.