Warning: Spoilers ahead for this week's midseason finale of Arrow.
Following Wednesday night's harrowing midseason finale for Arrow, fans were left scratching their head over the show's future.
At the end of the episode, after having cheated death in a gas chamber and accepted Oliver Queen's very public proposal, Felicity Smoak was riding in a limo that was riddled with bullets, and when Oliver removed her from the car, she was bleeding and barely moving.
Was Felicity dead? Well, it seems unlikely, for a number of reasons both in-story and in the real world.
But another theory -- that Felicity would become Oracle -- has taken root, and that one's a little more interesting.
Oracle, for those unaware, was the identity taken on by Barbara Gordon -- daughter of Commissioner Jim Gordon and former Batgirl -- when she was shot and paralyzed from the waist down. She first appeared in Suicide Squad before becoming a fixture in the Batman and Justice League books for years. It wasn't until the New 52 reboot in 2011 that her ability to walk was restored and Barbara became Batgirl again.
A quick point of order: Something we didn't know at the time of our last writing on the question of Felicity's future: a number of fans have told us that showrunner Marc Guggenheim promised a code name for Felicity.
We couldn't find the exact interview, although our frinds at Green Arrow TV confirmed that much. Other rumors -- that the code name would come in episode eleven and that the name would start with an A -- are circulating among fans but I can't find a secondary media source.
For years, fans have speculated that Felicity might step into the Oracle role (one filled, albeit without using the name "Oracle," by Green Arrow's eventual love interest Chloe Sullivan in Smallville) -- and so it wasn't surprising that someone asked producers at the roundtable whether Felicity would play a role in the Season Two episode titled "Birds of Prey."
"She plays a role, but not in the way you're hoping," said Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim at the time. "Hopefully we'll get there--that occurred to us as well but we didn't have an opportunity to do that in [Episode] 17."
That "hopefully we'll get there" seemed to be looming when, in Season Three, there was an episode titled "Oracle." That episode, which was to revolve around Felicity's backstory, was eventually retitled "The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak," without official explanation. The prevailing rumor at the time was that Oracle was off the table due to the introduction of James Gordon as the lead character on Gotham. In the time since, rumors have cropped up that Barbara Gordon may appear as Oracle in the big-screen DC productions spinning out of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad next year.
As a bullet-riddled Felicity undergoes surgery to save her in the midseason premiere, though, many fans are wondering whether Arrow's resident computer genius might find herself -- at least temporarily -- in a wheelchair.
If that were to line up with the episodes where she takes a code name, it would certainly get people talking...although the whole "starts with an A" part of the rumor doesn't feel very Oracle-y to us.
UPDATE: Thanks to a commenter below, we now see that Guggenheim DID confirm an Episode 11 codename and the letter A being in the name, but not necessarily that it would be the first letter. So...OrAcle is still game.
Oracle, of course, squared off against The Calculator on more than one occasion...and that's important, since the character is showing up in Episodes 12 and 13...and is rumored to be Felicity's estranged father. Setting up Oracle's arch-nemesis as Felicity's dad seems like it could be mined for some great story, especially if she's already taken on the "Oracle" identity.
Arrow returns on January 20 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW. Whether we see Felicity officially take the name or not, she remains Oracle in the minds of many fans just on account of what she does and how she does it.