Last night actress Emily Bett Rickards announced that she will be leaving Arrow at the end of season 7. After seven long years Felicity will be exiting our screens only momentarily before Arrow itself leaves the airwaves.
But what could this mean for the final 10-episode season? What does this mean for the character given her current status in the present and future timelines?
There are very few out there who would argue that Felicity hasn’t been a divisive character even recent years.
The character was first introduced back in the pilot of Arrow where she existed as little more than a techie ally for Oliver as he tried to find his way as a vigilante.
Though it was easy to spot the romantic connection between the two early on many fans wrote off the romance given Oliver’s endgame romance with Dinah (Laurel) Lance in the comics.
Of course we’ve all come to make peace with the fact Oliver and Laurel are never going to get together on the show. Aside from the fact that our Earth’s Laurel is dead the show as utterly ignored the romance for a number of years now.
Instead the writers chose to focus on Oliver and Felicity. Over the years we’ve seen her grow to lead the show almost as much as Oliver. In those years she’s headed up the company once known as Queen Industries, she’s also flirted with a darker side on a number of occasions.
Many fans have struggled with the less comic book influenced side of the show. A side which has become increasingly soapy over the years, with many blaming the “Olicity” romance for the drop in the series overall quality.
If the character is chosen to be killed off by the end of the season could that lead the Green Arrow back down a darker path for his final season?
But Felicity Is Still Alive In The Future… Right?
Well technically yes, despite rumours of her demise it seems the illustrious Miss Smoak/Mrs Queen is still alive in the future timeline which is currently playing out in the shows flash forwards.
But if we have learnt anything through Legends of Tomorrow and The Flash the future is entirely malleable.
Given the bleak outlook of those future flashbacks its entirely plausible that the actions of our heroes in the present day may seek to avert that dark future timeline.
Working against them is the fact we don’t have any time travellers on the show so they don’t technically know what future they are trying to avoid.
Where we last left the future timeline in “Star City 2040” Felicity announced to Mia that it was she who created Archer. We could see the character killed off in the future whilst in the present day the younger Felicity goes in to hiding with daughter Mia to keep her safe.
She Could Come Back Through Right?
Of course she could. If the character dies in the future and only goes into hiding in the present day then there’s plenty of opportunity for the character to appear for the series last ever episode.
The announcement by Rickards that she is exiting the show could simply be to write the character out for the time being. It does seem interestingly timed that Rickards would choose to leave the series now will only the final 10-episodes left to produce.
Many fans believe the only way for Arrow to come to a genuine end would be to kill off Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen. Given the deal he made with The Monitor during the “Elseworlds” crossover this year the show does seem to be heading towards that point.
But once again, those time travel meddling Legends or Barry Allen and his pesky speed force could still interrupt the current flow of events.
A Dark(er) Archer?
It’s fair to say that if Felicity dies we’re likely to see a much darker Oliver in the series final season. At this stage there’s no arguing that she is anything other than Oliver’s one great love.
If the timeline is changed and she is somehow killed off in the present day we can definitely expect to see a much darker Oliver in season 8. This could easily push him towards the kind of reckless action which could see him killed off at the series’ end.
It’s not hard to imagine a weary Oliver giving up his life to avert the upcoming “Crisis On Infinite Earths” and to reunite him with his wife.
Even if she is just out of the way to keep Mia safe its still plausible for Oliver to give his life to keep his wife and daughter, not forgetting William, safe.
The Future Of The Arrow(less)verse
It’s also worth remembering that Felicity has a strong connection with Barry Allen and the rest of Team Flash.
Though Barry is happily married to Iris his past with Felicity can’t be undone. Likewise her help has proven invaluable to Team Flash on a number of occasions in the past.
With both her and Oliver soon to exit this could cast a huge shadow over the immediate future of the Arrowverse.
The Flash will undoubtedly react to the loss of these two. It would insensitive not to react to such a loss. Likewise Legends of Tomorrow could gain a new cast member or two (Katie Cassidy anyone?) in the wake of Arrow’s demise.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the back half of next season, following the “Crisis On Infinite Earths” crossover, has a huge Stephen Amell shaped shadow hanging over it.
Whatever the outcome the Arrowverse will never be the same again…
Arrow stars Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, David Ramsey as John Diggle and Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak, Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance/Black Siren. Season 7 will see the return of Colton Haynes as Roy Harper/Arsenal.
Arrow airs on The CW Mondays at 8/7c. In the UK the show airs on Sky One on Thursdays at 9pm.