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Arrow’s flashbacks were never the most cheerful scenes of the series as they chronicled Oliver’s “years of hell,” and the flash-forwards have been even grimmer as they reveal a seemingly hopeless future for Star City. The city is a shell of what it was, and several major characters are either dead or absent so far. Given that this is the Arrow-verse we’re talking about and three of the four shows have changed time on more than one occasion, there’s the question of whether this is a future that can be avoided.

Well, Katherine McNamara, who plays Blackstar in the flash-forwards, said this when asked how the characters can prevent the bleak future:

You can’t. It’s very different than the [Season 1] episode of Legends you saw, where you saw the future of Arrow.

Katherine McNamara went on to clarify to TVLine that the flash-forward future of Arrow Season 7 “is what it is,” and therefore it won’t be averted like the desolate future of Legends of Tomorrow was. There was one thing that the Legends of Tomorrow’s future did have in common with Arrow’s future, and that is Joseph David-Jones as Connor Hawke. John Diggle’s son becomes a hero in both futures, so at least there’s that!

That said, Katherine McNamara’s comments might come as a huge bummer to any fans who have held out hope that the claim of this future being unchangeable would be debunked. Personally, I’ve always wanted the time travel to stay on the more fantastical shows of the Arrow-verse, but this future timeline is bleak enough that I might even be on board with some interference from Barry Allen. The future seems hopeless, so is there reason to be optimistic about scenes set in the present?

Maybe so. Rene at least does well for himself between the present and the future, rising to the position of mayor of The Glades. His daughter isn’t thrilled with him, he’s not close with Dinah anymore, and he’s hardened to the point that he doesn’t care about Star City so long as The Glades are safe, but he does at least want to protect innocent people. Surely he could come around to help the vigilantes in the future, right?

I’m still not convinced that Felicity is actually dead, and there must be more to the story of what happened in the years leading up to the flash-forward timeline. And what’s going on with Oliver? The present is already showing the rift building between William and his parents, as he hasn’t handled being shipped off to boarding school for his own safety very well, if the expulsion is any indication.

As hopeless as things may seem, and as much as it appears that Arrow’s grim future won’t be changed, we can cross our fingers that the better natures of the characters in the future prevail. With the exception of Blackstar, they’ve all shown heroic tendencies in the past. Perhaps they can rediscover those and find a way to work together As for Blackstar… well, if fan theories are correct and she’s the daughter of one (or more) of the main characters, then she may be hiding some heroism as well.

Find out more about Arrow’s depressing future when new episodes air on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. The show was renewed for Season 8, so even if the “Crisis On Infinite Earths” crossover does result in the end of Oliver Queen, the show will presumably go on. Could it hit 200 episodes after recently bringing a bunch of characters back for the 150th? Only time will tell.

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