We've Got Hollywood Covered

‘Arrow’ 100th Episode: How They Pulled Off that Last Big Group Scene

How Colton Haynes and Colin Donnell were included despite scheduling conflicts

The “Arrow” part of The CW’s four-show crossover focused heavily on its own 100th episode milestone.

When Oliver (Stephen Amell), Sara (Caity Lotz), Ray (Brandon Routh), Thea (Willa Holland) and Diggle (David Ramsey) were beamed up by the Dominators at the end of “The Flash,” it allowed them to enter a sort of shared hallucination while they were unconscious in the real world – an alternate reality where they came face-to-face with a scenario that seemed too good to be true.

What if Oliver never got on the Queen’s Gambit with his father and his girlfriend’s sister? Well, he would be engaged to Laurel (Katie Cassidy), both his parents (Jamey Sheridan and Susanna Thompson) would be alive, he would have a close relationship with his sister, and someone else would have the safety of Starling City on their shoulders.

It’s an intoxicating, hard-to-resist reality that proves hard to leave, but of course, our heroes do what must be done, and leave the unreal behind to continue the fight in the real world.

“When you show the protagonist the path not taken, and you put them in a situation to stay on that path or go back to their life, with all of its ugly aspects and challenges, and they choose the selfless choice of returning to that ugly past, it makes your characters stronger,” showrunner Marc Guggenheim told reporters following a screening of the crossover episodes. “It forced to Oliver to double down on his mission, and commit to this life with all of its losses and failures.”

The key to this episode was getting as many of the present and former cast members of “Arrow” back together as possible, though they were unable to secure the actors who played Thea’s boyfriend and fellow vigilante Roy (Colton Haynes) and Oliver’s dead best friend Tommy (Colin Donnell).

However, right before he goes back to the real world, Oliver is greeted by a group of people he’s loved and lost, including his mother, Roy, Tommy, Laurel and Felicity. The hologram is the only glimpse fans got of the fan-favorite characters played by Haynes and Donnell.

“That beat was not in the original break of the episode,” Guggenheim revealed. “Honestly I couldn’t even tell you where that idea came from. I was writing that scene where Oliver goes back, and it just popped in my head… At the time we didn’t know who we would be able to get. I’m like, this is a way we can get them. Props to our visual effects house – Zoick handled those shots – they did an amazing, amazing job, particularly with Colin and with Colton. We couldn’t reshoot them, we had to take them from old episode them and roto them out and put them into this and it was hard, obviously. They had to work with pre-existing footage. Yes, they had 99 episodes to choose from, but it was a lot harder than that makes it sound. They did an incredible job.”

The crossover concludes with “Legends of Tomorrow,” which airs Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.