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Spoilers ahead for the "Star City Slayer" episode of Arrow Season 7.
Arrow has delivered its fair share of twists over the years, and arguably the biggest of Season 7 to date was the reveal that Felicity is pregnant and Blackstar in the flash-forwards is her daughter. Admittedly, there were plenty of fans who already guessed that the blonde badass in the future is Felicity and Oliver's daughter, but confirmation (and news that Felicity is already pregnant in the present) is still a big deal. As it turns out, the show went to some interesting lengths to keep the secret.
Actress Katherine McNamara had this to say when asked if she knew from the beginning that she would be playing Olicity's daughter:
I did not, actually. Of course when they’re casting these things they don’t want it out there that they’re looking for Olicity’s kid, so the sides were [fake] and the character description was for a 'rookie cop.' Once I was cast, I was gearing up to play this rookie cop when I get a call from [showrunner] Beth Schwartz and she says, 'So by the way, everything you know is a lie. You’re Oliver and Felicity’s kid. Congratulations and welcome to the show!' [Laughs] I’m like, 'Hold on, pause, rewind, back up — what?' I’ve seen how beloved Olicity is to these fans and I know what a big responsibility this is, so I’ve done everything in my power to live up to these very big shoes I have to fill.
Despite how huge a role Oliver and Felicity's daughter was bound to be, Arrow didn't fill the actress in on who she would be playing during the audition process. This is far from unprecedented, as actresses ranging from Lupita Nyong'o with Star Wars to Gal Gadot with Wonder Woman had their roles kept secret from them. Gadot thought she might be playing Selina Kyle! Based on Katherine McNamara's comments, she didn't think she would be playing any kind of iconic character or one with personal connections to the major characters.
At least she didn't start playing the part before Beth Schwartz revealed her character's true identity! Like Jessica Parker Kennedy, playing another superhero's daughter over on The Flash, she apparently learned early on who she would be playing. She only had to wait until she was cast!
Jessica Parker Kennedy had to keep her secret all the way from Nora's first appearance in the "Crisis On Earth-X" crossover to the Flash Season 4 finale. McNamara had limited appearances before Blackstar got to drop the bombshell that she's Felicity's daughter.
Going from believing that she'd be playing a rookie cop to learning that she'd play the Olicity daughter had to be a shock. Interestingly, Katherine McNamara may not have much occasion to work with the actors playing her parents. Unlike Nora on The Flash, Mia Smoak doesn't have superspeed to go back in time and meet young Oliver and Felicity, and neither Oliver nor Felicity has appeared via flash-forward just yet.
Despite the fact that Blackstar as Felicity's daughter has been a theory for a while, Katherine McNamara went on in her chat with TVLine to explain that her first meeting with William -- in which the two characters did not recognize each other -- was an attempt at misdirect. Here's how she put it:
One-hundred percent. I know that in talking to the writers and everything, they were trying to delay the inevitable figuring-it-out as much as possible, because they wanted to save the reveal for a bit later, in order to first establish the severity of the world and the twisted childhood that she had, which we’ll see more of as the season continues. There’s a reason why Mia is the way she is, and there’s a reason she has such a resentment for vigilantes and for her own parents. It’s been a challenge for me, because I get little bits of information as I get new scripts and as I’m entrusted with new secrets, but a lot of things have been question marks for me as much as they have been for the audience.
As somebody who hasn't exactly loved the flash-forwards in Season 7 aside from the big season premiere reveal, the explanation of who Mia is makes me more optimistic about what's to come. It's an interesting twist, and I'm not sure how Arrow will handle it. I'll always believe that the show mishandled the introduction of William, as it tarnished Oliver's character (and intelligence), but perhaps the Mia arc will be a winner.
Mia does seem to have some information that William and Co. have been lacking, and her appearance also brought Connor Hawke into the mix, finally giving Diggle a solid connection to the flash-forwards. As Katherine McNamara said, now that we know who she is, we can learn more about why she is. Given how she turned out, I think it's safe to say that her entire childhood wasn't perfect. And why didn't she and William recognize each other?
Season 7 has been a wild one for the Queen family, all things considered. Not only did Arrow spring a surprise Olicity daughter on us, but also a surprise sister for Oliver with Emiko. Honestly, it makes me wish that Thea could drop in for an episode other than the 150th, just to get her reaction to current events. Although Mia may not be in the mix in the present other than a bun in Felicity's oven, surely Thea would have something to say about Emiko!
Unfortunately, we won't find out what's in store next with regard to Felicity's pregnancy or Mia for a few more weeks. Arrow doesn't return with the next new episodes until Monday, March 4, and fans can't even speculate much based on Felicity's reaction. She had only a few moments to process the news that she was pregnant, which clearly came as a big surprise.
She likely wouldn't have even figured out that she might have a baby on board until a while later. I guess the Queen family has Stanley to thank for the early pregnancy reveal! If he hadn't attacked and drugged them, they never would have had their blood tested, and Felicity could have kept going, unaware (perhaps blissfully) that her life was going to permanently change. And Curtis won't even be around! (Okay, that might not matter so much in the grand scheme of things.)
For some viewing options between now and when Arrow returns next month, check out our midseason TV premiere schedule.