Arrow fans have been hit with some pretty bad news. The show that so many of us admire and love is ending after Season 8 which will consist of 10 episodes. That’s right, Stephen Amell will be hanging up the hood next year. Please excuse me while I cry… again.
I don’t want to dwell too much on what was actually said, you can read about all that here. Instead, I wanted to look at some of the stories from the people here at Fanfest, including myself. Our favourite moments, interactions with the stars, and what we love about Arrow. I really wanted to celebrate Arrow and highlight that it was more than just a show to some people.
I was 14 at the time, Arrow had just started and I sat down and watched it with my family. We were all instantly hooked. Each week we would sit down and watch it together and it’s been like that since episode 1- one of the hardest things about being in the UK was avoiding spoilers, it’s still incredibly difficult. So what was it that separated Arrow from other shows that I watched. Honestly, it was everything about Arrow. At the time I had not seen a show like Arrow before. The awesome fight choreography, a more grounded hero, the original dark tone, the music, and the villains all contributed towards making a show that was completely new to me. As well as that, it also opened the door to more DC heroes and villains.
When I was older, probably around 17 or 18, I struggled a bit with mental health, a mixture of anxiety and depression, and weirdly Arrow was an aspect of my life that actually helped me. The amazing thing about superheroes is that they are vessels of inspiration and as a result, they can help to inspire others. While I can’t shoot a bow and arrow accurately or get to the top of the salmon ladder, the characters in Arrow really inspired me to rise above my flaws and aim for something bigger. All of these characters dealt with pain and loss in their own way, but in the end they were able to overcome it. I think that’s why superheroes are so appealing to people, particularly younger audiences. Not only do they allow people to escape, but they can help individuals.
For me, it wasn’t just the show that I loved. It was the cast and crew. I followed a vast majority of the cast on Facebook and Instagram. Out of all the cast members it was Stephen Amell who shined the most. Not only have I had multiple interactions with him online but I’ve also been featured on FanartFriday twice. Stephen built a wonderful space for fans. Not only could fans share art and stories, but they could also interact with other fans. Of course, no fandom is safe from toxicity, but the Amell and Arrow fanbase were among the very few fandoms where I felt both safe and happy. My respect and overall appreciation for Amell and the cast skyrocketed after the launch of Stephen’s Cancer campaign. Collecting the t-shirts were a lot of fun, especially since the designs were so unique, and it felt really good to contribute towards a fantastic cause. Stephen’s approach to the Cancer campaign and his lovable attitude towards fans helped me a lot when my dad was diagnosed with Cancer. Instead of looking at it negatively, I was able to think more positive.
When I finally got to meet Stephen in 2017, it was honestly one of the best days of my life. Not only did I get to meet Stephen but I also met Katie Cassidy, Emily Bett Rickards, John Barrowman, Brandon Routh, Josh Segarra, and Mike Rowe. Here’s a fun fact, Heroes & Villains 2017 was my first ever convention. The following year, I met Stephen again, as well as David Ramsey, Caity Lotz, Danielle Panabaker, Hartley Sawyer, and Kirk Acevedo.
So that’s my story. In many ways, it’s not the happiest but words aren’t enough to explain Arrow‘s impact on me.
Here are some other stories and images from the Fanfest team.
When talking to David Burdette from FanFest. He said “I got to mee Stephen during Fan Fest 2018 in Nashville. It was a surreal experience. I’ve been a big fan of the show, and it even helped me connect with one of the kids in my youth group. I told Stephen about that and he and his wife took the time to talk with me about it all. He is one of the most genuine people you’ll ever meet!”
Michelle had a lovely interaction with the wonderful Katie Cassidy and her cat, Carlos. When speaking to Michelle about her experience, she said “Katie let me play with Carlos and it was just the best ever! She was such a sweetheart and I’ve admired her since she played Ruby on Supernatural. I admire her even more with how welcoming she was to me at her table. She’s such a class act and Carlos is the sweetest kitty!”
I would like to thank the team at Fanfest for sharing their stories with me. Hearing about Arrow ending was actually incredibly upsetting, but I do also feel happy about it. It’s been one hell of a journey and I’m glad I was there for it all. Thank you to the cast, crew, writers, and actors for an amazing and long experience.
I would love to hear your stories as well, so please share your favourite moments, interactions with the cast, and memories you have of Arrow in the comments below.
James Lister is a University student in the UK, currently undertaking his Masters degree in Media & Communication. He has a strong passion for everything Marvel, DC, Star Wars, and Anime related.