Arrow has accumulated a pretty solid fanbase over the years, and a lot of those fans are vocal when it comes to social media. New Season 5 cast member Tyler Ritter, who plays Felicity's boyfriend Billy Malone, has discovered those vocal fans in a big way, as it turns out some Arrow viewers are not in love with the pairing. According to Ritter, fans of the Oliver/Felicity romance don't hold back when it comes to sharing their opinions about his character. He had this to say:
They're very passionate. I've been hearing from a lot of them. I've been making a lot of 'friends' online who send me death threats.
Fans of the Oliver/Felicity relationship have had a rough ride ever since the second half of Season 4, so it's not a huge surprise that Tyler Ritter has heard from some of them. Olicity was a stable, healthy relationship...for eight whole episodes, at which point Oliver decided to lie about having a secret kid in Central City. Oliver's handling of the baby mama drama ultimately resulted in the end of his relationship with Felicity, and Olicity fans have been mostly out of luck on their combind romance front ever since.
Tyler Ritter is clearly not being 100% serious about the death threats in his chat with Screener, and he actually took to Twitter to clarify that the death threats he's been seeing have been toward his character Billy rather than toward him. Olicity fans may never like his character for getting in the way of the Oliver/Felicity love story, so at least he has a sense of humor about being disliked by a sizable portion of the fandom.
To his credit, Tyler Ritter is doing his best to avoid alienating fans any further. He shared his thoughts about Oliver/Felicity and why Billy Malone is a good fit for Felicity at the moment, saying this:
As a fan of the show I also love the two of them together. I mean, it's really hot stuff. But Mayor Queen, the Green Arrow, he's all over the place. He's got a lot of work to do. He's a superhero! It's hard to be the coolest person in the world and also be the best boyfriend at the same time. That's a tall order.
Way to be diplomatic, Tyler Ritter! Any actor who came in to play a new love interest to Felicity or Oliver was likely to meet with some opposition from viewers. Olicity has been built as the big romance of the series, and the two nearly got married back in Season 4. Ritter is in kind of a no-win situation in some circles, so most of the dislike will hopefully continue to be directed at Billy rather than the actor. Oliver does seem to be looking to jump back into the dating pool, so if Arrow hooks up Oliver with Susan Williams in the next couple of episodes, Ritter may want to give Carly Pope a few pointers on what to expect to see from viewers who want Olicity back sooner rather than later.
Personally, my #1 for romance in Arrow Season 5 is actually that Oliver hooks up with anybody other than Susan Williams. The conflict of interest between the mayor and the journalist who reports on him is so massive that I have to think that even Oliver's downstairs brain would know better than to pursue her. All signs point toward Oliver and Susan, but I can cross my fingers.
Tune in to The CW on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET to see what's next for Billy Malone in Star City on Arrow. Tyler Ritter has a good point about Oliver possibly being too busy to be a good boyfriend; we'll have to wait and find out whether that will affect his romantic choices moving forward.