As the year draws to a close, it's customary to look back on what we've experienced and take stock.
We're doing that with a series of articles that celebrate the best of 2015, published over the course of a couple of days so that some of the ComicBook.com staff can celebrate the New Year with our families.
It's fallen to me to try and look ahead to next year and figure out what the five biggest predictions are for 2016.
So, strap in, listen up...and prepare to yell long and loud at me. Because that's what comments sections are for.
SAY GOOD-BYE TO GLENN
With Negan coming to The Walking Dead, it's likely time to say good-bye to Steven Yeun's Glenn Rhee.
Glenn has always been a fan-favorite, not only in the comics but the TV series as well, and it's been helped along by Yeun's terrific performance -- but even he has repeatedly said that his character's death at the hands of Negan in the comics is such an important moment to the series that he would hate to see it changed.
Will it come up in Season Six, or the start of Season Seven? We're not totally sure, but between now and next January, it's more or less assured.prevnext
S.H.I.E.L.D. WILL REFORM
While there's certainly been some good stories to come out of Director Coulson taking his cell of S.H.I.E.L.D. on the run, recent stories seem to be pointing toward an environment where the organization could come back -- and maybe our heroes could even be officially sanctioned again.
There's a sense of inevitability to S.H.I.E.L.D. coming back together sooner or later, so the real question is who will control it and to what end when it does.prevnext
FELICITY SMOAK WILL NOT DIE
It literally doesn't bear much more thought than "no" to answer the question of whether Arrow will kill Felicity Smoak. It's pretty clear to me that Felicity Smoak isn't actually dead, not least of all because I don't believe the showrunners have the will or desire to do it.
To bring you up to speed, the midseason finale of Arrow ended with Felicity Smoak and Oliver Queen being shot up by numerous gunmen in an apparent assassination attempt. Oliver shielded Felicity for as long as he could before deciding to take their chances and getting into the driver's seat to make an escape. Once clear of the gunmen, he removed her from the vehicle and she appeared lifeless.
The trailer for the 2016 premiere of Arrow debuted at the end of the episode and it strongly implies that the person in the grave at the end of the Season Four premiere was Felicity Smoak:
First of all, the way they're pounding home linking the grave site seen at the start of the season with Felicity rings hollow, for a few reasons.
First of all, that scene took place six months in the future. Arrow tends to unfold roughly in real time, meaning that the death would be more like March, April or May than December. That's something that could be fudged if they weren't playing with real time, but we do know that last year during the attack on Starling City, somebody (Lance?) made a crack about how this "happens every May." Context clues told us that Oliver and Felicity had been out of town pretty much exactly as long in-story as the series was off the air in real life, which places the season premiere at roughly the same point in Arrow time as in real time.
Fast-forward to the present. Oliver Queen -- a mayoral candidate and the presumptive winner, since he's running unopposed -- had a ceremonial tree lighting at his holiday party, which is not something that typically happens on Christmas. Given that the menorah had either three or four candles in place when Felicity brought it to the cave, it's likely this episode was meant to take place today -- the fourth night of Hannukah. It would explain the tree lighting, and why the "holiday" party took place early enough to include Hannukah, since Christmas is still a couple of weeks away.
So, in all likelihood, we haven't come close to six months yet.
Even if that weren't the case, when Barry Allen shows up, he apologizes for missing the funeral, and attributes it to a fight with Zoom -- something that we know doesn't happen before Christmas.
How do we know that? Well, because The Flash actually happened ON Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, based on dialogue. And leaving aside the fact that Barry didn't take on Zoom last night, there's the fact that if his ex-girlfriend had been killed sometime in the last week or so, it likely would have come up on The Flash.
Even in dialogue from the mid-season finale, Felicity mentioned it had been three months since they returned to Star City.
Anyway, you can easily enough dismiss all of that with "Well, maybe she doesn't die right away and her funeral isn't for months."
That's when something comes down to TV conventions.
A character as important as Felicity isn't going to die on the operating table a month and a half after she's shot. The fact that she's still alive in the hospital next episode is a pretty good assurance she's not dying.
Hell, she was moving in that last shot...
...See how her head turns without Oliver turning it? Yeah, he moves her a bit, but after he stops, her head continues to roll up and toward him -- that's not a natural direction for gravity to take things. So clearly she's moving her head.
But...yeah. TV tropes-wise, killing her on the operating table in a month would feel...off...for a character so integral to the series. And honestly, having it happen at the hands of faceless thugs would be unlikely, too -- but that we could ignore if not for everything else, because those thugs were, after all, acting on orders from Darhk.
There's another thing, of course: In the funeral scene, we see that Oliver is alone when Barry comes to see him. There's really no reason he should be alone at a fresh plot, if Felicity was the one being buried and her mother is in town. In fact, the "family" dynamic they're trying to build up with Team Arrow really only makes Oliver standing alone at the gravesite logical if the grave belongs to his William, or his mother Samantha.
...Oh, yeah. There's that, too. Remember when Olicity shippers were panicked because of comments by the producer that there would be "consequences" because of Oliver's decision not to tell Felicity about his son.
"I can't tell you exactly how that's going to happen. But...obviously for the arc of Oliver and Felicity's relationship this season, the fact that he's keeping this from her—true to what we've done on the show, if there's a secret somewhere, it's going to come out and it's going to have some serious consequences," said executive producer Wendy Mericle.
It would be extremely difficult to have those consequences play out if Felicity died.
(See, Olicity shippers? Suddenly, your least favorite interview of the year became your favorite!)
And why focus on the funeral scene so much? Because The CW did. That whole trailer is full of imagery meant to suggest that Oliver is at Felicity's gravesite...and the fact that it can't possibly be her funeral means that the whole trailer is suspect. If they're intentionally misdirecting us about that important point, what else could they be misdirecting us about?
We'll find out on January 20, when Arrow returns with new episodes at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.prevnext
You know what's great about DC's Legends of Tomorrow? It's that there's an opportunity to get to all kinds of crazy places.
I bet we'll see something like World War I, World War II or even the Old West as we get into the episodes. Can you imagine how cool it would be to see Captain Cold and Heat Wave bounce off Sgt. Rock or Jonah Hex shooting a laser...
...Wait, forget that last one.prevnext
With Kara still hoping to convince Cat Grant she was wrong about the whole Kara-being-Supergirl thing, and Hank Henshaw recently revealed to be the shape-shifting, mind-reading Martian Manhunter, it seems like almost a guarantee that we'll see J'Onn J'Onzz take on the shape of Supergir while both Kara and Cat are around, at least temporarily changing Grant's tune.
Whether she stops trying to prove it altogether, of course, will be an entirely different thing.
What's really funny, if this prediction comes true, is that the post-Crisis Supergirl, "Matrix," could shapeshift, and used this ability to explain why Clark Kent came back from the dead following Superman's return.prev