By Dani Nick

Philadelphia (CW Philly) — After six seasons of portraying Thea Queen in Arrow, Willa Holland is leaving the series.

The decision shouldn’t come as a shock to Holland, as it was actually her idea to write Thea off of the show. Entertainment Weekly talked with the show’s executive producer, Marc Guggenheim, about Thea’s departure and how the decision was ultimately made.

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“Actors start to reach the end of their contracts, they start to look towards greener pastures or new opportunities. I think this is true across all the shows. We never wanna stand in the way of someone wanting to express themselves creatively in a different way, on a different show, or through a different medium,” Guggenheim said. “So we took Willa’s request and took it seriously, and decided ‘Okay, well, if this is the hand we’re dealt, how do we play it as best we can and write off Thea in the most emotional and interesting way possible?'”

Photo Credit: The CW

Last week’s episode ended with Thea on a mission to right her father’s wrongs, with the help of Nyssa and Roy. For Guggenheim, it was important for Thea’s exit to be atypical.

“As a showrunner, I got enamored with the notion of writing out a series regular in a way that didn’t suggest the end of a story, but rather the beginning of a new one. That’s not something that you typically see,” Guggenheim said.

Additionally, he discussed the idea of killing Thea off the show and why they chose not to take that route.

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“Killing her off was never on the table. I’ve always been very sincere and consistent in my view that Oliver just can’t lose his last remaining family member. So that was never even on the table,” Guggenheim said.

Photo Credit: The CW

Even though Holland has left the show, Guggenheim does not know if it will be the last time viewers see her on-screen. 

“Really, honestly, it’s totally up to Willa. One of the things that I love about Arrow — and I think this is true for the other superhero shows as well, but I think Arrow‘s really shown a capacity for it — is no one is ever gone…So I don’t know what the future holds, but there are potentials out there,” he said. 

Who hopes to see Speedy make an appearance in Season 7? Sound off in the comments!

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Arrow airs Thursday nights at 9 p.m. on The CW Philly.