Stephen Amell Responds to Emily Bett Rickards's 'Arrow' Departure

Arrow star Stephen Amell has released a single image in response to the announcement that series regular Emily Bett Rickards, who plays Oliver Queen's wife Felicity Smoak, will leave the series ahead of next fall's final season. The actress announced the move via Instagram feed, and fans are already starting to wonder what it means for her character and for the future of the series. For Amell, at least so far, he seems to be opting for a silent acknowledgment of the long history he has had with Rickards and Felicity Smoak, rather than making a statement that might steal some of Rickards's spotlight on the day of her announcement.

It now appears as though the season seven finale of Arrow may now serve as a kind of de facto series finale, with the episode being the likely final appearance of Oliver, Felicity, and John Diggle (David Ramsey) on screen together. Rickards did not specifically say whether she might return for the series finale next season, but if she is leaving at the end of this season, her doing so is not a guarantee. That might explain, at least in part, why Amell indicated in a recent tweet that his first read-through of the season seven finale gave him goosebumps.

Needless to say, this move largely puts to rest any questions about Felicity's role in the Arrowverse going forward, although there will likely be those so disappointed to see her go that they see this move as a potential indicator that she could make the move to Batwoman or something. Rickards joined the series only a few episodes in, and while she was never meant to be a long-term love interest for Oliver, the actress's undeniable chemistry with Stephen Amell took producers by surprise and led to an increased role for Felicity. The pair were married during last year's "Crisis on Earth-X" crossover, and much of this year's "Elseworlds" crossover centered on the trust issues that they were experiencing after Oliver made a deal with federal prosecutors and got himself thrown in jail without warning her.

Now, it seems as though Felicity will not be a part of "Crisis on Infinite Earths," Arrow's final Arrowverse crossover and one in which Amell's character is generally expected to sacrifice himself to save Barry Allen and/or the multiverse. That Oliver may have made that deal without consulting Felicity -- although this time more out of immediacy than any kind of actual decision-making process -- could be an interesting thing for them to explore in her final episodes, but doing so would effectivel blow the ending of a crossover event that is almost a year away.

Imagining Arrow without Felicity Smoak is a tough thought; more than just Oliver's love interest, she has also served as de facto operations leader for Team Arrow almost from the very beginning (although now that they are deputized, that role can be delegated out to law enforcement, ARGUS, or Dinah Drake). In recent episodes, flash-forwards have seen Oliver and Felicity's daughter Mia growing up without a father, leading to even more speculation that Oliver will die soon. It may now be that, for one reason or another, Felicity ends up separated from Oliver prematurely. Either way, fans will know the truth soon; the Arrow season seven finale will air on May 13. Arrow airs on Monday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT, following episodes of DC's Legends of Tomorrow on The CW.

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