Arrow star Stephen Amell has expressed his sorrow at seeing actress Willa Holland leave the series, while expressing his support for her decision to do so. For the better part of six years, the two played brother and sister on the popular CW superhero series.
The decision to give Oliver Queen a sister was one of the most drastic changes when the Green Arrow comics were adapted for television. Originally, Oliver Queen was an orphan and an only child. It was thought that giving Oliver one family member he could trust, given the series' being based around Oliver's attempts to redeem the sins of his parents, would help encourage Oliver's inner conflict and give him someone else with whom he could share the shock as they discovered just what their parents were involved with. Amusingly, the Green Arrow comics of DC Comics' New 52 initiative would see Oliver Queen discover a long-lost sister, though her origins were quite different from those of Thea Queen.
Amell's reaction came in an interview with TV Line. The actor affirmed reports that Holland had apparently been wanting to leave Arrow since Season Four, but was quick to complement her professionalism in continuing to work on the show, as the show's producers arranged a worthy ending for her character rather than simply killing her off.
"Quite frankly, the most important thing when you’re doing a show like this and you’re doing 23 episodes [per season] and you’re working long, hard hours, you need to make sure that everyone that’s here wants to be here...Willa was nothing short of professional and excellent, and always delivered tremendous performances. But I know that she wanted to move on with her career. And I totally respect that. And I’m glad that she’s going to get that opportunity."
Reportedly, Willa Holland had been seeking a means of exiting the series since Arrow's fourth season, which opened with a teasing sequence of Oliver Queen standing over a grave. Holland was eventually persuaded to stay with the show in exchange for a reduced workload so that she would be free to pursue other projects. This was why Thea Queen retired from vigilantism to act as Chief of Staff to a newly appointed Mayor Oliver Queen - a position that kept her off-camera for several episodes in Season Five, as she was busy running the city while her brother was being Green Arrow. Thea later spent the first half of Season Six in a coma, after being caught in an explosion.
The most recent episode of Arrow, "The Thanatos Guild," saw Thea Queen getting her happy ending, leaving Star City in the company of long-time boyfriend Roy Harper as the two joined forces with Nyssa Al Ghul to track down and destroy three of the dangerous life-prolonging Lazarus Pits. Fittingly, the episode ended as the first episode started, with Thea paraphrasing the same words that Oliver had said to her after their reunion following Oliver's "five years in Hell." Oliver tells her, "I'm going to miss you so much," to which Thea replies, "You'll be with me the whole time."
It is unknown what Holland will be doing now that she is off of Arrow. While she has not yet been confirmed for Kingdom Hearts III, it seems likely that Holland - who has been the official voice of Aqua for the English release of the Kingdom Hearts games since 2010 - will be returning to the role. Beyond that, it is anybody's guess where Holland will appear next but it is certain a devout group of Arrow-heads will be sure follow her.
Source: TV Line