The cliffhanger ending of Arrow Season 5 couldn’t help calling to mind last year’s Walking Dead shell game of a fall premiere. Now, Arrow bosses even invoke the AMC drama’s batty cliffhanger to caution against presuming Season 6 regulars are safe.

You’re warned of spoilers through Season 7 of The Walking Dead from here on out, but the series’ most controversial cliffhanger had Season 6 end with an unknown character’s demise by Negan’s bat; revealed months later as two victims. Arrow slightly one-upped the danger with its own Season 6 tease, having Oliver observe “Lian Yu” explosions that might claim the entire cast, from Felicity to Quentin, or even Manu Bennett’s Deathstroke.

Then again, this is a CW series, and in no way up to the task of concealing cast searches for outside work, or prying eyes from those busy Vancouver sets, right? Season 6 has already confirmed Katie Cassidy, Rick Gonzalez and Juliana Harkavy will return as series regulars, but as producer Marc Guggenheim now tells Entertainment Weekly, they’ve deliberately borrowed from the Walking Dead playbook to keep “series regular” an unsafe position:

I know everyone is trying to determine who survives, who dies, what is the result of the cliffhanger based upon people’s contractual status, and I would say that’s not necessarily a good idea. The example I like to point to is that was true in Walking Dead. They had a season finale similar where you had a group of characters, all of whom were series regulars, in a dire situation at the end of their season. Just because they were series regulars did not mean that everyone came out of that cliffhanger alive.

There are likely still a few exceptions here, as “franchise regularJohn Barrowman already claimed he wouldn’t return, and it would seem especially odd of Arrow to spend Season 5 introducing (or re-introducing) Gonzalez, Harkavy, and Cassidy’s Earth-2 Laurel, promote them for Season 6, and immediately kill them off in the premiere. That leaves David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards, Willa Holland, Echo Kellum and Paul Blackthorne, some of whom have already been notably scarce in recent months, though Guggenheim has also stated his aversion to killing off Holland’s Thea.

As we said, Arrow doesn’t quite have The Walking Dead’s luxury of private sets, and likely isn’t the type to promote Season 6 without spoiler-filled trailers, so how long will the secret hold? Which series regulars might we say goodbye to?

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