Emily Bett Rickards will return as Felicity Smoak in the series finale of Arrow, according to series star Stephen Amell. Rickards joined the series early in its first season, originally in a small role. Her talent and obvious screen chemistry with series lead Stephen Amell got her promoted to series regular, and she became one of the most important elements of Arrow. Rickards departed the show at the end of the seventh season, declining to stay on for the eighth and final year. Her character's absence has been felt, and Felicity has been referenced numerous times in the opening episodes regardless.
Mia Smoak (Katherine McNamara), the daughter of Oliver Queen (Amell) and Felicity Smoak, will topline Green Arrow and the Canaries, a planned spinoff series which will have a "backdoor pilot" in the penultimate episode of Arrow. That character's story, which has been playing out in the flash-forward timeline, collided with Oliver's story in an unexpected way at the end of last week's episode.
There’ll be a lot of news coming out about our final episode over the next few months. I prefer when you hear it from us. Welcome back Emily. pic.twitter.com/YlVpgoPWLi— Stephen Amell (@StephenAmell) November 1, 2019
Fans have been hoping since she announced her departure that Rickards would return for the final season, with particular emphasis on the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover and the series finale. "Crisis" has wrapped principal production with no sign of Rickards, but it seems she will be back for the show's final sendoff. Since Oliver and Felicity are married now, and Oliver is expected to die in "Crisis on Infinite Earths," the two most likely scenarios are that Felicity either appears for her husband's funeral in the present-day story, or that she shows up in the 2040 storyline for some kind of reunion.
The latter was hinted at during last season's finale, when the Felicity of 2040 left her grown children behind and basically implied that she was going to go see Oliver again. When The Monitor appeared and opened a breach, he warned her that where she was going, there was no going back. She walked through anyway.
During an appearance at MCM London earlier this year, Rickards told fans that, while network president Mark Pedowitz has previously said that the door would be open for her to return if she wanted to, the decision wasn't completely hers.
"(A return is) not completely up to me," Rickards said. "Never say never."
She added at the time that she did not know if it was strictly necessary for a return, since the story had set up her destiny (and that of her kids) pretty clearly.
"We sent her off in a beautiful way and she lives on in these people," she added. "I see her everywhere I go, so it's not totally goodbye."