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Arrow is ending after Season 8, and as we learned over the weekend, one of its main stars will be shipping out before its end. Emily Bett Rickards will not be returning for the abbreviated final season, and it's not just viewers who are feeling the pain of that knowledge. Arrow showrunner Beth Schwartz and executive producer Greg Berlanti put out a joint statement in reaction to the news, and said they were "heartbroken" by her decision.
We’ve had the pleasure of working with Emily since Season 1 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.
Obviously neither Greg Berlanti nor Beth Schwartz was going to be ecstatic that Emily Bett Rickards is leaving Arrow ahead of the final season. But they had nothing but kind words for the departing actress. It's the classy move to make, of course, considering how much she's given to the show over the years. The response appears like genuine gratitude from both, especially Schwartz, who also shared a photo of her and Rickards on Twitter following the announcement.
Executive producer Marc Guggenheim also got in on the warm and sentimental posts, and shared with viewers a brief story about his history with Emily Bett Rickards. It's not a necessarily long story, but it does give those who don't already know the details behind how the actress got involved in the show to begin with. He also posted it as a rhyming poem, to match Rickards' goodbye post from March 30.
Whether any of the three or the rest of the Arrow cast were expecting this exit is unknown. No one is sharing those details at the moment, and Emily Bett Rickards poem-y announcement left little information as to why she had chosen to exit The CW series before its end. One would think that, if this were an exit that the show had planned, Rickards would've been encouraged to keep it under wraps until after the reveal.
Right now the only thing that seems for sure to be known is that Arrow will have to figure out a way to close out its story without Felicity. The character is currently pregnant with Oliver's child, Mia Smoak, who has been seen in flash-forwards alongside Oliver's son William. Arrow will likely keep Felicity on the show as to not confound viewers, but keep her off screen and unseen rather than recasting her in the final season.
Arrow has a lot of things to address before its final season, so stick with CinemaBlend as we report on the show's latest updates and all things related to upcoming television. For more on Arrow, read up on our thoughts on the flash forwards and the the idea the showrunners may have to keep the show's legacy alive whether its stars are involved or not.