'Arrow' Series Finale: Why Oliver and Felicity's Emotional Reunion Was the Perfect Final Scene

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Executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Beth Schwartz break down Tuesday's swan song, which featured Emily Bett Rickards' return.

Warning: Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you have not watched the series finale of Arrow.

Oliver Queen's journey has come to an end (again).

After eight seasons and 170 episodes, Arrow signed off once and for all on Tuesday's emotional series finale, closing the door on the Stephen Amell superhero drama that birthed the expanded Arrow-verse on The CW. Titled "Fadeout," the series' swan song welcomed back a slew of familiar faces and wrapped up several key storylines with a nice bow, but in true Arrow fashion, left a few questions unanswered just in case the spinoff continues on the legacy or characters live on in other DC shows. But it was the anticipated return of former star Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak that trumped them all.

The last time viewers saw Felicity on Arrow was in the season seven finale last May, when in 2040, The Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) transported her to a mysterious destination after she expressed her desire to return to Oliver. "I have waited a long time to see him. I'm ready," Felicity said with a hint of a smile as she played with her wedding ring. A portal then opened up and the duo walked through, bringing her to an unknown place. In the Arrow series finale, the destination was finally revealed -- and it'll make you want to reach for a box of tissues.

In the final scene of the series, Felicity -- sporting her trademark high ponytail and carrying that handy dandy red pen -- landed back in a familiar location post-Monitor transport: Moira's old office at Queen Consolidated. As Felicity began exploring the empty office, a framed photo of playboy Oliver and his father, Robert Queen, caught her eye -- enough to distract her from the figure who loomed in the doorway for the show's long-awaited reunion. "Glad you could finally make it," Oliver deadpanned (See, the boy's got jokes!) before husband and wife kissed. 

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But why did Oliver designate Moira's office as their meeting place in the afterlife? (Oh yes, they're in the afterlife.) Easy. It was the place he first saw her, as established in a season three flashback before Oliver and Felicity officially met face-to-face at her desk in IT in season one. So, after nearly a season without Oliver and Felicity sharing any screen time together, Arrow's central couple got the happy ending they deserved -- spending forever together without a care in the world as they looked out onto Star City.

Executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Beth Schwartz revealed that Oliver and Felicity's final scene, which closed out the series, was always their intended ending for Arrow, and they had landed on it back in June, well before they knew that Rickards would be back. "We always left it open at the end of season seven to have that final scene, but Marc called me or texted me in June and was like, 'I have the final scene!'" Schwartz explained, revealing that the scene came to him after a morning meditation.

"This one morning I came out of the meditation with the entire scene in my head, like literally word for word, exactly as you watched it," Guggenheim said. "It felt so right. I very excitedly texted Beth. I'm like, 'I wrote the final scene. I gotta send it to you.' And then I sent it to you. Of course, the big question was, is Emily coming back to be in it? I was like, 'Now she really has to because I really love the scene.'" 

"We didn't even think of another ending," Schwartz confessed. "We didn't have a backup plan at all. We were just like, 'Emily needs to do this.' And luckily she did." 

Rickards was ultimately available for only two days of filming, prompting Guggenheim and Schwartz to scrap plans for flashbacks to season one involving Original Team Arrow (OTA), which was Oliver, Diggle and Felicity. ("If we had a third day with her, we would've been able to tell that story," Guggenheim said.) The flashbacks ended up focusing squarely on Oliver and Diggle's working relationship in its infancy stages.

"It was really challenging," Guggenheim said of incorporating Felicity's whole story into a handful of scenes in the series finale, including the star-studded funeral at Oliver's grave. "In the case of Emily and Felicity, what worked out well was we realized we are able to schedule all the present-day story elements that we have written for her in these two days. The only thing that had to change and fall out was the flashback story had to change, which was obviously really disappointing to us. We're presented with lemons and we make lemonade, and I'm really happy with the story that David [Ramsey] and Stephen [did]. They really brought it."

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Guggenheim and Schwartz confirmed that the final scene of the series was the last one shot on Arrow, and they, along with Ramsey, reflected on the nostalgic mood on set of that final day. "It was past midnight. We were all there, including several cast members who didn't even work that day," Guggenheim said, noting that Colin Donnell, who returned as Tommy Merlyn; Rick Gonzalez; Juliana Harkavy; and several writers were present as the series wrapped. "There were a lot of speeches and tears," Schwartz chimed in.

"There were scenes we finished and we just stayed around for that scene and everyone celebrated. It was a celebration but it was also surreal. It just didn't feel... obviously this was ending, people were sad, there were a lot of tears. Just to have the opportunity to go out the way we wanted to go out, I think that was doing something to us too. We felt like we had some control over what we said and how we said it," Ramsey added. "There were a lot of emotions that day."

In addition to the core characters, Arrow welcomed back several key faces: Tommy Merlyn (Donnell), Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne), Thea Queen (Willa Holland), Roy Harper (Colton Haynes), Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson), Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist), Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), Emiko Queen (Sea Shimooka), Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law) and Talia al Ghul (Lexa Doig).

To hear more from Amell on the legacy of Arrow, watch ET's exclusive interview below.

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