For those of us living with a gaping hole in our soul for the past six years since Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) died in Arrow's Season 1 finale, the upcoming eighth and final season is especially exciting. Earlier this month, it was revealed Donnell, who played Oliver's (Stephen Amell) best friend in the show's first season, will be returning for Season 8.

"It's been a gift to be able to come back over the years and over the seasons and be a continued part of the family as it's grown into what it is now," Donnell recently told TV Guide at the Television Association Critics Association summer press tour. "It's cool to see what our show was and to see how it's expanded into the whole Arrowverse that exists now. I'm really proud of it and happy to be back for this last season in a very different way. You know, to sort of cap off a whole eight years of our lives. It was cool."

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Tommy has appeared in both flashbacks and as hallucinations since he was crushed under the weight of a collapsing building, but fans have never had any real hope that he'd get the kind of resurrection other deceased characters have enjoyed. Executive producer Marc Guggenheim told Entertainment Weekly that Donnell is "not coming back as the Tommy we know," which confirms our suspicions that something strange is definitely in store for him.

Donnell is staying completely mum about how Tommy returns, but he did reaffirm Stephen Amell's take on the matter. "I think Stephen said it best at Comic-Con," Donnell said, "I think fans are going to see Tommy in a way that they've maybe wanted for a while."

Not for nothing, but we've always wanted to see him alive and well and enjoying family dinner with Thea (Willa Holland), Oliver, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), and their darling little daughter. So... fingers crossed?

Arrow returns Oct. 15 at 9/8c on The CW.

(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation.)

Colin Donnell, <em>Arrow</em>Colin Donnell, Arrow