What Does Emily Bett Rickards’ Departure From ‘Arrow’ Mean For Felicity?

It really feels like Arrow didn’t really begin until Felicity Smoak graced our screens in the show’s third episode. Before that, we had a dark shell of a man that was destined to grow into our central hero and it was hard to connect with him. The tone of the show was dark. Super dark. And sometimes the lack of levity felt like it was detrimental to the overall enjoyment of the show.
I remember watching Arrow when it first debuted in 2012, and I recall how after two episodes I originally gave up. It just wasn’t enough to get invested in. If only I’d known that just one episode later the show’s savior would walk into my — and our future hero’s — life.
Ultimately, the introduction of Felicity Smoak to Arrow was a series-defining moment. It brought some much-needed light into a show that was getting swallowed up by darkness. I’ve always been one that has enjoyed the dark tone that the show has embraced, but it’s been the level of darkness that I’ve questioned.
And it’s understandable why Arrow has been a show with a darker tone. Oliver Queen was in literal hell for five years, beaten down until he became the shell of a man that couldn’t trust and couldn’t love. It was always his journey to grow from the man that stands in darkness to one that embraces the light. And perhaps the most integral character in helping him embrace the light was one that wasn’t even supposed to exist on the show.
When Oliver Queen first walked into Felicity Smoak’s office, it felt like you were watching something special. You weren’t sure what, but you knew that this was going to be grow into something special. It was the first time we actually saw Oliver smile — in three episodes. There was something in Felicity — a light, a magic — that managed to bring the human side out of Oliver. He was smitten, as were we — and as were the execs at The CW. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Originally a one-off character, Felicity became a central part of Arrow as a member of Team Arrow, alongside Oliver and John Diggle. The trio became the beating heart of a show that was embracing the human elements of being a superhero. Arrow worked because of Team Arrow. And Felicity was — and is — a huge part of that.
On Saturday, Emily Bett Rickards, who has brought to life the magic that is Felicity Smoak, announced that season 7 would be her last. It was something that took fans by complete and total surprise and was definitely a punch to the gut.
Felicity Smoak is a character that has grown to be so much more important than just a comic book character come to life. She’s inspired so many women, including myself, to embrace your smarts as your superpower; to be brave in the face of danger; to speak out when the situation calls for it; to embrace your light and share it with others; and to be a complete badass in your own way. It’s hard to imagine that Felicity won’t be on our screens when Arrow returns for its final season. And, quite frankly, Arrow doesn’t work without Felicity.

But Emily’s premature exit is a little surprising considering that Arrow has already been confirmed to end after a shortened 10-episode run in season 8. From the sound of it, this is Emily Bett Rickards’ decision. So that leaves us wondering what her exit from the show means for Felicity?
While there’s still five episodes left in season 7, it’s pretty easy to gauge three options when it comes to addressing Felicity’s absence in season 8. Let’s take a look…

Felicity Goes Into Hiding

Odds: Highly Likely

Given the events we witnessed in “Star City 2040,” it’s not hard to imagine seeing a build-up to the opening scene where Felicity gives birth to baby Mia. Felicity and Oliver are making it a point to keep her pregnancy a secret — other than Diggle — for now, and it sounds like that for now could extend a little longer than originally thought.
The concern here is protecting Mia from the dangers that comes with her father being an outed superhero. The whole point of secret identities is to protect those people they love, and now that Oliver is known to be the Green Arrow, there’s a target on his back and the lives of those he loves.
With Emiko Queen’s desire to acquire Archer, the program that Felicity has been working on for Smoak Tech, the Ninth Circle becomes an even greater threat. The kind of threat that would be enough to send Felicity into hiding along with her unborn child.
It’s highly unlikely that Arrow doesn’t bring Felicity back for the series finale (think Nina Dobrev in The Vampire Diaries). So Arrow will find a way, find some big bad to obliterate — The Ninth Circle — in order to conveniently allow for Felicity’s return.

Felicity is Killed (For Pretend)

Odds: Likely

If there’s one universal truth when it comes to Felicity Smoak, it’s that Arrow would never kill her. At least, not for real. We saw that in season 4, when she was shot in the limo. And we’ve seen as much this season when William, Dinah, Roy, and co. believed that Felicity had been killed in the future. Naturally, fans weren’t fazed because this show has proven that they can never really kill Felicity. They don’t have it in them. And they couldn’t handle the wrath from the fans if they did.
But, much like with the first option, the Ninth Circle is a threat, and Felicity is a target. So the important thing here for Oliver is to protect her and their unborn child. While sending Felicity into hiding seems like the more likely choice, faking her death wouldn’t be far off. Because if Felicity is in hiding, she’s still “alive” and the Ninth Circle would track her down until they found her. If she’s “dead,” then the Ninth Circle wouldn’t have a reason to go looking for her.

Felicity is Killed (For Real)

Odds: Highly Unlikely

To repeat from above, if there’s one universal truth when it comes to Felicity Smoak, it’s that Arrow would never kill her. At least, not for real.
That’s it, that’s the reasoning.

What are your thoughts on Emily Bett Rickards leaving Arrow? What do you think it means for Felicity? Sound off in the comments!

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