Fans of Arrow were greatly disheartened when it was announced that Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) would be leaving the series at the end of the current season. Though Arrow will return for an abbreviated final season next year, the tech genius (and constant focus of 'shipping), will be making her exit a little earlier than that. The exit might not be as final as some may think, however.
In a new interview with TV Guide, showrunner Beth Schwartz discussed Felicity's exit, and teased that it won't necessarily end with the character being killed off, or something equally as final... as "final" as things get in the Arrowverse, at least.
Noting that she couldn't give away too much about Felicity's final appearances, Schwartz does say that she wanted to honor the character. "She's been a really important character to the show, besides just having a huge fan base, to me personally," she says. "She's been one of my favorite characters, and I've been with her from the beginning. I wanted to make sure that we honored her both in her relationship with Oliver as well as her goals personally and the origin of Smoak Tech — her wanting to do something in addition to being on Team Arrow. That was her own, so that was really important to me."
How will Felicity's end come about, however? The simplest answer would be a grim death, but even that hasn't prevented former main characters from returning — Laurel Lance is only one example. When multiple Earths are a part of your universe, the possibilities tend to open up. Of course, fans also have to take into account the flash-forwards this season, which follow an older Felicity alive and well decades from now, still fighting the good fight. Though, that's assuming this timeline isn't changed by next season's Crisis on Infinite Earths, of course.
For what it's worth, Schwartz doesn't say how a potential return could happen, but she does say that it's on the table.
"She is always welcome to come back, so I would be obviously more than happy to have her back next season," Schwartz said. "We definitely have that in mind, honoring the series and getting all our favorites back."
As Arrow (and the journey of Oliver "You Have Failed This City" Queen) began the entire Arrowverse, the show's final season is a big deal. It would make sense for Felicity to be a part of that sendoff, and who knows? Based on what Schwartz says, we could see some other departed characters show up, too. We still don't know what kind of deal Oliver made during this year's epic crossover event...if it includes the death of Oliver himself, it would be strange for the moment to pass without involving Felicity there in some capacity.
Schwartz does add that many questions will be answered in the Season 7 finale, but that "there will be just a couple hanging over" for Season 8 to deal with.
For more on Arrow, check out our recap of the latest episode, which, oddly enough, brought a former main castmember back for an appearance. Arrow airs Monday nights on The CW.