'Arrow' to End With Abbreviated Season 8 on The CW

It's the end of an era at The CW.

Arrow, the first of the network's current roster of DC Comics dramas, will end with its previously announced eighth season. The final season of the Stephen Amell-led drama from executive producer Greg Berlanti and Warner Bros. TV will consist of a reduced order of 10 episodes and air in the fall. The final season will air during the 2019-2020 broadcast calendar.

The decision to wrap the series arrives as CW president Mark Pedowitz was open about needing to make way for a possible second phase of DC Comics-inspired series on the network. "Things will age and we want to get the next generation of shows to keep The CW DC universe going for as long as possible," the executive told reporters in January at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour.

Arrow, which lost bragging rights as The CW's most-watched scripted original to The Flash, ushered the network into its current era as a home for DC Comics fare. The success of the comic book drama led to offshoots including The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl. (Black Lightning, while still a DC Comics drama, exists outside the so-called Arrow-verse.)

"This was a difficult decision to come to, but like every hard decision we’ve made for the past seven years, it was with the best interests of Arrow in mind," showrunner Beth Schwartz and executive producers Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim said Wednesday in a joint statement. "We’re heartened by the fact that Arrow has birthed an entire universe of shows that will continue on for many years to come. We’re excited about crafting a conclusion that honors the show, its characters and its legacy and are grateful to all the writers, producers, actors, and — more importantly — the incredible crew that has sustained us and the show for over seven years." 
 
Speculation that Arrow's days may be numbered first surfaced in December when "Crisis on Infinite Earths" was unveiled as the Arrow-verse's next crossover. The 12-issue series — published by DC in 1985-86 — features (spoiler alert!) the deaths of two major comic characters (who exist on The CW). In this season's crossover, "Elseworlds," Amell's Green Arrow made a deal to save the lives of two other characters that effectively puts his future under the microscope.

In a larger sense, the success of Arrow — which launched in 2012 — helped usher in a new era of comic book adaptations on the small screen across broadcast, cable and streaming platforms. While The CW is connected to DC Comics, ABC continues to find success for Marvel's Agents of SHIELD (already renewed for next season) as the comic book powerhouse will expand with its feature film characters in TV shows of their own on the streaming platform Disney+. FX next has the highly anticipated Y: The Last Man, HBO is bringing Watchmen to life and Hulu recently inked a pact with Marvel for four animated comedies. The latter deal arrived after Marvel's Netflix universe imploded thanks to a power struggle between the streamer and the comic giant's parent company, Disney.

Meanwhile, The CW is already moving full steam ahead on the "next generation" of DC fare. Berlanti, who executive produces all the DC series, is teaming with showrunner Caroline Dries for a Ruby Rose-led Batwoman. The pilot is currently in production, and the project is fully expected to be picked up to series. The final season of Arrow can only increase Batwoman's chances to make it to air. Batwoman is considered the first comic book show to feature an openly gay leading character.  

The CW's decision to wrap Arrow — from exec producers Guggenheim, Schwartz and Berlanti Productions topper Sarah Schechter — arrives as the network is saying farewell to three series this season: critical darlings Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, as well as iZombie. The CW has already renewed the bulk of its lineup for 2019-2020, with Arrow joining Black Lightning, Dynasty, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Riverdale, Supergirl, Supernatural, Charmed and Legacies set to return. Series still awaiting word on their future are The 100, Roswell, All American and In the Dark.

Arrow helped launch Berlanti into the prolific producer he is today, with a record 15 scripted series currently on the air across multiple broadcast networks and streaming platforms. They are: The CW's Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Riverdale, Black Lightning and All American; NBC's Blindspot; CBS' God Friended Me and The Red Line; Netflix's You and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina; and DC Universe's Stargirl, Doom Patrol and Titans. On the pilot side, he hopes to add to that tally with Fox's Prodigal Son (starring Michael Sheen), The CW's Batwoman and the Riverdale spinoff Katy Keene. All of those projects hail from Warner Bros. TV, where Berlanti last year inked a new multiyear overall deal worth an estimated $400 million.