Season 4 of The CW’s Arrow had its fair share of ups and downs, so it’s a relief to know that a Season 5 is on the way to tie up some loose ends. Unfortunately for fans of Katie Cassidy as the Black Canary, however, Arrow will be returning in the fall without Laurel Lance. Laurel was murdered by supervillain Damien Darhk in the second half of the season, and her demise contributed to the fracturing of Team Arrow. According to Thea Queen actress Willa Holland, Laurel’s demise was as hard on the actors as it was on the characters.
For the whole Katie Cassidy situation, that was one of the most difficult things that any of us have ever had to film. Not that any of the deaths have ever been easy. We lost Tommy after Season 1; we lost Moira after Season 2. This was four years in. So we were all so close at this point. To the point that more than ever this time it felt like losing a limb.
Willa Holland shared the death that hurt the most at the MCM Comic Con in London, and her answer certainly makes sense for her character’s journey in Season 4. Thea spent the season living with Laurel, and they evidently spent the summer months strengthening their bond while Oliver was off discovering the joys of domesticity. Holland had more scenes with Katie Cassidy than ever before, so it’s only natural that the departure of Cassidy from the show would feel like a serious loss.
Katie Cassidy’s departure must have been even harder on Willa Holland and the other actors considering how Laurel’s final scene in the present was filmed. Laurel was never the most popular character of Arrow, but her end was a definite tear-jerker. The reactions of the rest of Team Arrow to the reality of one of their own being sent off to that great vigilante bunker in the sky were positively heartbreaking. Based on Holland’s comments about the difficulty of Cassidy’s final scene, it’s a safe bet that some of the actors’ real feelings affected their performances.
Of course, fans knew from the Season 4 premiere that somebody big would be dying within six months. Laurel’s death didn’t come as too much of a surprise. Black Canary may be a major character of DC comic canon, but Arrow has never strictly adhered to comic origin stories, and the Arrow Black Canary was a supporting character whose death could be sad but certainly wouldn’t mean the end of the series. The show must go on, and it should be interesting to see if Season 5 continues to pay tribute to Laurel or if the mourning was mostly completed in Season 4.
Stephen Amell recently revealed to CinemaBlend that the death of Tommy was the one that most affected Oliver’s journey in Arrow; perhaps Laurel’s will be one to significantly alter the course of Thea’s arc over the coming seasons of Arrow. Willa Holland at least shouldn’t have to struggle too much to channel any sadness at the loss of Laurel from the show.
Arrow has only just completed Season 4, so it’ll be a while before the show returns to the airwaves. For a peek ahead, check out our breakdown of what we know so far about Season 5, and don’t forget to take a look at our summer TV premiere schedule to see what you can watch in the meantime.