With Emily Bett Rickards' impending departure, the season 7 finale will honor Felicity's relationships with Oliver and Mia, as well as "her being a hero in her own right," says showrunner Beth Schwartz.
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It’s May, which means one thing: Star City is danger and Green Arrow needs to save it — except, by all accounts, this year’s Arrow finale will be unlike the six that have come before.

“I think it’s a very different ending for Oliver versus a big bad than we’ve seen before,” Arrow showrunner Beth Schwartz tells EW.

In the finale, poignantly titled “You Have Saved This City,” Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) season-long conflict with his villainous half-sister Emiko (Sea Shimooka) climaxes as he tries to both foil her legacy-ruining plan and fight for her redemption. As if that weren’t enough, the ender also has to wrap the season-long, dystopic future storyline and give Felicity a proper send-off because Emily Bett Rickards is leaving the series ahead of the final season.

According to star David Ramsey, this triple whammy of family-focused material gives the finale a unique “emotional resonance.”

“There are emotional family dynamics that we haven’t really dealt with before,” says Ramsey in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands now. “This finale is all about family, right? What happens with Felicity, family. What happens with Emiko, family. And I think that hits in a way that the other finale didn’t hit. So yes, you still have the explosions, you still have a lot of big action scenes, that’s part of Arrow. But emotionally, there are things happening in this finale that you haven’t seen before.”

Because this is Arrow, we also know several surprises await us, too. In fact, Dinah actor Juliana Harkavy definitely didn’t see the season’s ending coming.

“I was very surprised. We knew that a lot of changes were happening, but we didn’t know all of them at the beginning of the season. So, there were things in there we could never have imagined were going to happen,” says Harkavy. “Ultimately, I’m really happy with how it ended. I think it’s beautiful. It’s starting to paint a picture of how the whole series will wrap next year, because we only have 10 episodes to tell the rest of the story.”

If that’s not enough to get you excited about the emotional finale, check our full interview with Schwartz below, which touches on Felicity’s farewell, the future of the flash-forwards, and more.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How does this season’s finale compare to previous ones?
BETH SCHWARTZ: It’s pretty humongous, because not only are we telling our finale story in the present day, but we’re also having a huge finale in our future storyline. So, it’s kind of a double finale in one.

The future storyline has been a bit of a slow burn this season. What do you hope people take away from the flash-forwards by the time the season ends?
In the finale, especially at the end of the episode, we’re gonna going to connect the present-day story and the future story. So, it’ll become clear.

Before the show returned, you said this season’s theme was about redemption. What do you hope this finale says about that theme?
It will definitely be prevalent in the finale in terms of Emiko and Oliver holding out thinking that she still is redeemable, and that will obviously be a struggle because she does a lot of bad stuff.

New photos revealed Black Siren and Bronze Tiger are in the mix, too. What role do they play in the finale?
That also tied with our redemption arc, in terms of those were two characters who, at the beginning, were villains. By the finale, because of Oliver and the team, they’re now fighting alongside the heroes, so we really loved that idea.

You Have Saved This City
Credit: Jack Rowand/The CW

I know this finale will mark the end of Emily’s run as Felicity. In sending Felicity off, what was the most important thing you wanted to hit in this finale?
A bunch of things. She’s obviously a crucial part of the show, and we’re all super sad to see both Emily and Felicity go, so we just wanted to make sure that we honor her character in terms of her relationship with Oliver, in terms of her being a hero in her own right, as well as her relationship with Mia [Katherine McNamara] in the future. We have a lot to tie up.

How drastically did Emily’s departure affect how you ended the season?
It definitely affected a lot because ending such an important character on a show is such a big responsibility, and so we wanted to give her the send-off she deserves. We spend a lot of time with her.

We’re also heading into the final season. Does this finale setup Oliver’s arc for season 8, or will this be a bit more closed off?
It definitely sets up next season. I can’t talk too much about season 8 yet, but it’ll definitely launch you into season 8.

What’s the significance of calling the episode “You Have Saved This City”?
It sort of talks about his entire journey of the series. He basically starts season 1 trying to save the city, and this will bookend it in a nice way.

You Have Saved This City
Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW

One of the interesting things about this season has been the tension between the present-day and future storylines. In 2019, Oliver and Felicity are endeavouring to create a safe world for their children, but the flash-forwards reveal that they failed. Can we expect some kind of resolution to that tension?
Not this season, no.

So, is this the end of the flash-forwards?

I’ve heard The Flash will include its own tease for the next crossover, “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” Can we expect Arrow to include something like that in its finale?
It’s definitely possible.

This season has been interesting because it took awhile for the audience to find out who the big bad would be. Was that by design? Did you start out the season knowing you didn’t want to tell a big bad-focused season-long story?
We definitely wanted to do something a little different because we’ve had seasons where we’ve had a big bad from the beginning to end. We wanted to live with our characters and have them struggle with other obstacles. So, it sort of was in design not to have necessarily one big bad from day one to finish.

Looking back on the entire season, what are you most proud of about season 7?
I think it’s a combination of Oliver’s prison arc, which was such a fun departure from the show, as well as our future storyline. Both of those things were very challenging in keeping with the show Arrow and not going too far off, but it also allowed us to do something different, which I think creatively was really rewarding.

Arrow airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on The CW.

For more scoop on the Arrowverse season finales, pick up the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands now. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

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