When Green Arrow and the Canaries artwork was first released by The CW, featuring a youthful-looking Dinah Drake (Juliana Harkavy) and Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) standing alongside 20-something Mia Smoak-Queen, fans immediately started to question how the story would fit into the timeline of the Arrowverse. A complication that the Arrow flash-forwards had, for example, was that they essentially revealed the fates of certain characters robbing the 2019 version of events of some consequences when a scene's primary question became "will this person who is alive in 2040 survive a 2019 death trap?" The makeup used to age the first generation of Arrowverse heroes was also a question mark, since it would mean that two of the show's three lead actresses would end up sitting in a makeup chair for hours every day if the show took place in the future.
At the same time, Mia couldn't very well stay in 2020 following the events of the Crisis -- could she? It would be strange to have her coexisting with the present-day Arrowverse and never reaching out to her mother or John Diggle, neither of whom are reported to be significant characters in the spinoff.
So -- how does it all work? The backdoor pilot that aired last night gave us an idea.
In the penultimate episode of Arrow's final season -- "Green Arrow and the Canaries" -- the story relocated to a post-"Crisis on Infinite Earths" 2040, where Oliver Queen's sacrifice and rewriting of the cosmic order had transformed the city he dedicated his life to saving into a virtually crime-free utopia where his daughter was no longer a cage fighter but instead a socialite. Laurel Lance, borrowing time-travel tech from her sister Sara, traveled to 2040 from 2020 to warn Mia of a coming danger.
While in 2040, the pair met up with club owner Dinah Drake, who also looked surprisingly young and who had apparently been transported to 2040 sometime after Oliver's funeral (which takes place in next week's episode). She did not know how she had been transported there or why, but by the end of the episode, both she and Laurel had more or less committed to remaining in the future and helping Mia get to the bottom of a rapidly-unraveling mystery while training up a new generation of Canaries to help keep the future safe.
Arrow will air its final episode, "Fadeout," on Tuesday night at 9 p.m., after an hour-long retrospective special that will take fans all the way back to the beginning. There is no official word yet on whether Green Arrow and the Canaries will be picked up to series.