Monday night’s all-new hour of Arrow is not only the season seven finale, it’s also Emily Bett Rickards’ last episode as Felicity Smoak on The CW’s superhero drama.
The 27-year-old actress revealed the news of her departure with a sweet collage and poem on on her Instagram at the end of March. "Felicity and I/ are a very tight two/ But after one through seven/ we will be saying goodbye to you," she wrote to the dismay of longtime fans.
Rickards' exit means that Arrow's eighth and final season will not feature Felicity, a character who has been a fan favorite since her endearing “babbling” with Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) in the I.T. department at Queen Consolidated in the series’ third episode.
Her vast technological knowledge proved invaluable as one of the three original members of Team Arrow, and Felicity’s journey defied comic book canon expectations when she later became Oliver Queen’s wife, and then the mother of his child, Mia (Katherine McNamara).
After seven seasons of near-death twists and heart-pounding turns, Felicity’s time is coming to an end, so ET called up Arrow showrunner Beth Schwartz to get the inside scoop on Olicity’s final scene, and if the girl with the red pen could ever come back to our screens.
ET: All of Arrow’s season finales are monumental events, but this one is especially important to fans because it’s Emily Bett Rickards’ last episode. What was your goal when you set off to create this last hour of season seven?
Ben Schwartz: Well, definitely it was to honor the whole season and make sure that we end the redemption story that we began with, as well as giving Felicity a major sendoff, which was really important to me.
You and Emily have such a great working relationship and an off-screen friendship as well. When she came to you and said she wanted to end Felicity’s journey on Arrow, what was your initial reaction?
As a friend, I fully support Emily and her new chapter and what she wants to do -- but creatively, I was definitely very sad because she's one of my favorite characters to write. So yeah, this finale was definitely bittersweet in that sense that I feel really happy with what we came up with, but very sad that it’s the end.
I love that you bring up the dichotomy of wanting to supportive to her as a friend, but that this decision throws a wrench in your plans as a showrunner. Was there ever a conversation where you asked, “Can you just hold out for one last half season?”
[Laughs] No, I don’t want to pressure her. She has to do what’s right for her and, obviously, I’d be more than happy if she came back at some point next season, so we’ll just have to see.
And that leads us to the the number one questions that fans have been asking: Is there a possibility that Felicity could come back for the series finale of Arrow?
I don’t know. I hope there is a way that can happen. She’s welcome to come back whenever she wants.
When you were approaching this episode -- knowing it was going to be the last one for Felicity -- did Emily have any last wishes or Easter eggs that she wanted to make sure were included?
I don't think so. I think that we were on the same page as for her exit from the show. I know that Stephen had some. It was really important to him, and we had a lot of conversations about her ending as well. So between the three of us, I think we were all very happy with the outcome.
Felicity Smoak's fans are so passionate -- not just about her, but about her friendships as a member of OTA and her romantic relationship with Oliver. How will this last episode honor this character that fans know and love?
I think this whole season, in a sense, honored her character. She was so prevalent in our future storyline and [through] her relationship with Mia, you got to see what she went through in the future and also some of her successes as well. And then in the present day, we get to see the origins of Smoak Tech and that that was super important to her besides just being part of Team Arrow. And then with her relationship with Oliver, [we saw her] getting pregnant and then sort of trying to figure out how to be parents when you’re superheroes and danger has always been around the corner.
Fans love Original Team Arrow so much. Are we going to be getting a special OTA moment in this final episode?
Yeah we definitely honor the OTA in the finale. There’s a lot of really nice homages to where the series started between the three of them and as well as between Oliver and Felciity.
Olicity has become the most powerful shipdom we’ve ever seen. What can fans expect from Felicity and Oliver’s last scene together?
I feel like we honor the relationship from where they started to what they've gone through over the entire series, not just this season where they started separate when Oliver was in prison and Felicity being able to take care of herself. I think the fans will be very satisfied with the ending. That’s all I can say.
What are the chances that we’ll get the see Oliver and Felicity share a scene together in the future storyline?
Oh, in the finale? Low.
Seeing Felicity as a mother has been such an amazing addition to this season and her dynamic with Mia has been so great. How would you describe Felicity and Mia’s interactions in this final episode?
You see in [episode] 16 where they had such a great relationship, but then Mia felt betrayed. They’ve had a little bit of a bumpy ride, but by the end, that will all have been resolved.
As we look toward the end of Arrow, fans are already clamoring about the crossover. What can you tease right now as you’re trying to piece together another massive CW Arrowverse crossover?
We’ve already started talking about it, which is crazy. Last year we said it was the earliest we’d started talking about it, but this year we started taking weeks ago. It’s pretty massive and basically it’s going to affect every show, which is really cool. So yeah, there’s a to to look forward to.
What last message to you want to say to the Arrow fans before they embark on this final episode for Felicity Smoak?
It’s definitely an emotional ending and it is a lot to process. I just think they’ve been such a great and passionate fandom, and I just hope it will honor this character that everyone loves that everyone has been watching for the past seven years.
Arrow’s season seven finale airs Monday, May 13 at 9 p.m. EST/PST on The CW.