Emily Bett Rickards, who played master hacker Felicity Smoak through seven seasons of Arrow, has announced that the current season will be her last. The popular actress has been a member of the main cast since season 2, after being a recurring character through Arrow‘s first season. She went on to become a major figure in the Arrowverse, making guest appearances on both The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow.
Felicity Smoak was first introduced in “Lone Gunmen,” episode 3 of Arrowseason 1. Originally intended to be a one-off character (a random IT technician whom Oliver Queen recruited to retrieve information from a bullet-riddled laptop), the chemistry between lead actor Stephen Amell and Rickards proved to be so powerful that the character was brought back to help Oliver with more technical problems, as he offered up increasingly unlikely excuses for why he needed her help. Felicity ultimately learned the truth about Oliver’s double-life as a vigilante in the season 1 episode “The Odyssey” and joined his crusade to save their city from the evils that plagued it. In time, she would take up the superhero codename Overwatch and win the heart of the Emerald Archer, finally marrying him in season 6.
Rickards announced her departure from Arrow in a poetic post to her Instagram account, which can be viewed below. Adopting the rhyme scheme of Lewis Carroll’s “The Walrus and The Carpenter,” Rickards said that “Felicity and I, are a very tight two, But after one through seven, we will be saying goodbye to you.” This would seem to indicate that Rickards will not be returning this fall for the 10-episode season 8 of Arrow that will conclude the series.
While Rickards’ announcement was sudden, it can’t be said to be entirely unexpected. The events of Arrow season 7 have been spread across two timelines – one set in the present day Star City and the other set in the future of 2040. It has been established that Felicity is pregnant with Oliver’s child in the present day and will eventually go into hiding, with only a select few people ever knowing that Felicity was pregnant. Felicity has also been shown to be alive in 2040, taking up her father’s old identity as the Calculator, to fight the oppressive local government that takes over Star City in the future.
Given that, there is very little direction for Rickard’s character to be developed in season 8 and no real way for her to take an active role in the events of the upcoming Crisis on Infinite Earths – the 2019 Arrowverse crossover event which has been predicted will see Oliver Queen sacrificing himself to save all of reality. While this may not be the happily ever after which fans of Oliver and Felicity’s romance on Arrow had hoped for, it seems safe to say that Olicity will never die.