Arrow star Emily Bett Rickards announces exit ahead of the final season
UPDATE: EW has confirmed that Emily Bett Rickards will not be returning for Arrow‘s eighth and final season.
Here’s a statement from executive producers Greg Berlanti and Beth Schwartz:
“We’ve had the pleasure of working with Emily since season one and in those past seven years she has brought one of TV’s most beloved characters to life. And although we’re heartbroken to see both Emily and Felicity leave the show, we’re completely supportive of Emily and her future endeavors. She will always have a family at Arrow.”
On Saturday, Emily Bett Rickards, who plays tech-genius Felicity Smoak, appeared to announce that she is leaving the CW’s long-running superhero drama after the show’s seventh and current season (a.k.a. before the final season) on Instagram.
“Felicity and I are a very tight two/But after one through seven/we will be saying goodbye to you,” wrote Rickards in the caption of her photo. “I thank you all for the time we’ve shared/The elevators we have climbed/The monsters we have faced and scared/And The burgers we have dined/ I will keep her in my heart for always/And I hope that you can too/ Because she would not be alive if it weren’t for all of you.”
The CW and WBTV didn’t immediately respond EW’s request for confirmation.
Star Stephen Amell, who plays the Green Arrow, tweeted out a season 1 photo of Rickards as Felicity shortly after she made her announcement.
Although Felicity Smoak is technically the name of a character from the comics (typically associated with Firestorm), Arrow put its own unique and defining spin on the character. In season 1, Felicity was introduced as a quirky IT specialist at Queen Consolidated to whom Oliver (Stephen Amell) turned for help because of her astounding computer skills. She eventually joined Team Arrow, and Rickards was bumped up to series regular status for season 2 because of the overwhelmingly positive response to her character. Over the next few years, she and Oliver ended up falling in love and finally tied the knot in season 6. Furthermore, season 7’s future storyline just revealed that they have a child together named Mia (Kat McNamara).
At the moment, it’s unclear what Rickards’ departure means for both Oliver and Felicity’s marriage and Felicity’s fate. A recent future-set episode confirmed that Felicity is indeed alive in the year 2040.
As previously reported, the CW drama will return for a shortened final season in the fall. The decision to end the show was made during season 6 when Amell expressed interest in moving on after season 7.
“Toward the end of season 6, I approached Greg Berlanti, who I will be thanking in a second, and said that I thought both personally and professionally that, at the end of my commitment this coming season, it would be the best for me to move on,” said Amell in a Facebook Live earlier this month, explaining that he made the decision because of his family. However, he also offered hope that season 8 wouldn’t be the last time he suited up. “Something tells me even when I’m done, I won’t be gone. If you’ve watched the Arrowverse, you should understand that,” he said.
Arrow returns Monday, April 15 in its new 9 p.m. timeslot on The CW.