Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Wednesday’s episode of Arrow. Read at your own risk!
Even if you knew it was coming, the death that came at the end of Wednesday’s episode of Arrow was no less impactful.
After fans waited months to discover who was in the grave, Arrow ultimately revealed that Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) met a grim fate at the hands of Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), who had previously vowed harm on the Black Canary should Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) fail to stay in line. (More on how it went down here.)
“It made sense to me creatively,” Cassidy says. “Laurel’s story has come to an end in the Arrow-verse.” Therefore, the actress, an original cast member on the CW super show, is no longer a series regular — though it’s certainly not the last we’ve seen of her. Ahead of the shocking reveal, executive producer Marc Guggenheim teased that Cassidy will appear on both The Flash and Vixen. But she’ll also return to Arrow as early as the next new episode via flashbacks.
For her part, Cassidy discovered that her character was on the chopping block while filming the courtroom scenes, where Laurel is attempting to take down Damien Darhk the legal way. “I remember I was like, ‘Okay, I need to put this on the back burner for now because I had a huge day of all legal jargon,’ ” Cassidy says, admitting the emotional moment with Team Arrow in the hospital required very little acting. “Honestly that scene was so real shooting it because it was me saying goodbye to the team and all of us. Definitely wasn’t difficult for me to get to that emotional point. For sure, it was hard, but it was very real. I felt like that was good. It was genuine and it was real.”
Though that wasn’t the site of Cassidy’s swan song. “The last scene I think I shot was we had to do a reshoot actually of when I actually die, when Darhk stabs the Black Canary,” Cassidy says, revealing she kept a Black Canary jacket and mask as keepsakes. “That was a week after. That was the very last scene that we shot. It was so weird because I remember we had broken for lunch, we came back and I was running to set and I was putting on my jacket and gloves and they were just calling me to set to show-wrap me. I didn’t know that I was done. It was a bit of a shock. But it was good. I feel like there was no other way that I would want it to go.”
“I love everyone on set,” Cassidy continues. “I love our crew. Being there for four and a half years, they’ve become family. It’s hard to not go into work every day and get to work with such amazing people. That part is certainly sad. Again, I was okay with it. We all came to an understanding that this was what was going to happen. I think the shock value is good. It’s such a jolt and such a turn in the story that it gives the [writers] so much more to do and places to go with it. Otherwise I feel like shows can get stale.”
It was that lack of stagnation that kept Cassidy excited about the character over the years. “At the end of season 2 going into 3 when I put the jacket on for the first time, that moment was something,” Cassidy says. “I still get a little choked up talking about it because I was so excited. I remember trying on the jacket; I had been waiting for that moment. I think that for me was the turning point. Obviously season 2, my character had a really hard time. As an actor, the writers were writing so brilliantly, it was great to be able to take on that challenge and go there and then hit rock bottom and come back on top. Also, being in training and fight-training and getting to be a strong female character who’s also out there kicking some ass too was definitely something that was cool and I had a blast doing it.”
With that in mind, Cassidy hopes we’ll see more of Laurel — in one incarnation or another — in the future. “As they know, I love working with them,” she says. “I’m always happy to come play with them if they time-travel or what not. To me, Laurel was always such a good person and had such a good heart and was a fighter. For her to be remembered, I think her being remembered that way is definitely important to me.”
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. Read our postmortem with the Arrow bosses here.