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Arrow has almost always told parallel stories within each season, with some action set in the present and other action set past or future. The flashback arcs generally ended at the conclusion of each season, aside from a cliffhanger ending, so it stood to reason that the same would hold true for the flash-forwards, and perhaps end those at the close of Season 7. Well, it now seems that the future action will continue into the eighth and final season. Here's what we know.
Nobody at Arrow or The CW has released an official statement about flash-forwards in Season 8, but TVLine reports "multiple sources" that an adult John Diggle Jr. will be a major recurring character in scenes set in 2040 next season. He's not slated to debut in Season 7, despite his adopted brother Connor Hawke mentioning him in the April 22 episode as part of the dangerous Deathstroke gang.
If JJ is a major recurring character in 2040 when Season 8 kicks off, then it's probably pretty safe to say that Season 8 will take viewers back to the future on a semi-regular basis. Not a ton is known about adult JJ at this time, but Connor did reveal that it's been at least a year since he hung out with his brother, and he thinks JJ joining the Deathstroke gang was JJ rebelling against their parents' high expectations.
News that the flash-forwards will apparently continue raises several questions about next season, which is already slated to be much shorter than the first seven. Considering Arrow also needs to contribute to (and possibly end with) the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover and figure out a new status quo without Felicity, the final season could be jam-packed. Let's take a look at some of these questions.
What About Felicity?
Felicity has been a key part of the flash-forwards from almost the very beginning, even before she made her 2040 debut on screen. She's been part of the action ever since, but that won't be the case moving forward due to the departure of actress Emily Bett Rickards.
Will Arrow send Felicity into hiding to raise Mia and then kill her off in the flash-forwards to explain away her absence? Or will Arrow finally introduce flash-forward Oliver (preferably without his Legends of Tomorrow future goatee and missing arm) and give future Felicity and Oliver as much of a happily-ever-after as possible? Or will Felicity simply find a mission that requires her elsewhere?
Is This All About A Spinoff?
The Arrow-verse will be Arrow-less in the not-too-distant future due to the impending end of the show that started it all, but Season 7 introduced a couple of arcs that left fans wondering if a spinoff is in the works. Emiko's villainous turn probably ruled her out as the star of a new show. Mia, William, and Connor got an episode that definitely felt like a backdoor pilot.
Continuing the flash-forwards into Season 8 and casting another major character could be signs that the folks behind the scenes are seriously considering launching a spinoff starring the next generation of Arrow heroes. Crossovers could still happen thanks to the other Arrow-verse shows dabbling (and more than dabbling) in time travel. Maybe Nora West-Allen could even join the series, assuming Team Flash wises up and sends her back to her own time to stop messing with the timeline!
How Do The Season 7 Flash-Forwards End?
Just because the flash-forwards will continue into Season 8 doesn't mean that the Season 7 flash-forward arc won't be done in the Season 7 finale. Arrow showrunner Beth Schwartz recently revealed that the flash-forward characters will "have their own finale, which will be pretty large" and "extremely unique" to set viewers up for Season 8.
Will the Season 7 flash-forwards end on a cliffhanger, much like how Arrow used to wrap up one chapter of the flashbacks in a finale then tease a bit of the next chapter via a cliffhanger? Or will somebody die or depart, like Felicity? What constitutes an ending if the flash-forwards are going to continue?
Only time will tell. There are still a few episodes of Season 7 left before the beginning of another hiatus (and the farewell to Emily Bett Rickards), so be sure to tune in to The CW on Mondays at 9 p.m. ET to find out what happens next. Star Stephen Amell promises a very emotional installment, so the finale won't be one to miss.