An era ended on Arrow in Season 7 with the departure of Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak, but a new era also began with the introduction of Kat McNamara as Mia Smoak. The daughter of Felicity and Oliver, Mia proved herself just as badass as both of her parents via the flash-forwards to 2040, and Season 7 ended with the door wide open for Mia's story to continue in Season 8.
Arrow was McNamara's first big job after Shadowhunters wrapped, and she shared her feelings about making the transition, writing this:
Being the new kid on the block is never easy; going into the show halfway into their seventh season, I was a bit trepidatious and feeling a bit like it was the first day of school. Coming off of a show where I was a part of building the world from day one, where I knew every member of the cast and crew so well, this was unfamiliar territory and something I had not done in years. However, I was instantly put at ease by none other than the Green Arrow himself. He was in the middle of shooting one of the most difficult episodes of the season, and as soon as we crossed paths when I arrived on set for initial fittings, he jumped out of his chair, gave me a huge hug and actually took a moment to greet me and make me feel welcome.
Kat McNamara had a bit of an uphill battle in Arrow Season 7 as the mysterious centerpiece of a series of flash-forwards. Arrow had never done flash-forwards prior to the seventh season, and there was no saying how fans would react to a big chunk of the season going down without the Green Arrow or most of the present-day regulars.
The good news is that fans responded well enough that people are already pitching a Star City 2040 spinoff starring Kat McNamara, so her "new kid on the block" status went well! Joining a show as it went through its seventh -- and, as we now know, penultimate -- season was obviously a big departure from Shadowhunters, where she had a part to play from the beginning.
Kudos to Stephen Amell for going out of his way to welcome her to the Arrow family, especially since he wouldn't be sharing scenes with her due to Oliver's absence from the flash-forwards. (Thanks so much for that, Monitor!) Oliver Queen was the superhero who started the Arrow-verse, so a welcome from him had to feel good.
Kat McNamara went on in the essay she penned for TVGuide to acknowledge Arrow's importance to superhero TV and what it has meant for her as an actress:
Arrow is such a hallmark of superhero television — a classic in its own right — and I have loved jumping in with the folks who have been on the show from the beginning and seeing them get excited and inspired by this new chapter and exploring what creative possibilities that could entail. Also, having the opportunity to continue my physical training — expanding my fighting skills as well as adding a certain iconic weapon to my proverbial tool belt (thwick) — has been incredible as it was one of the elements I was so sad to lose with Shadowhunters coming to a close.
Playing the daughter of Oliver Queen who spent her childhood being trained by Nyssa al Ghul under the supervision of Felicity Smoak meant that Kat McNamara would probably need to do some stunt work, and she fortunately already had a background in fighting for TV thanks to Shadowhunters.
As Kat McNamara said in her essay, she also got to add an "iconic weapon," which came as a relief to many fans. Would it really have been right if the daughter of the Green Arrow hadn't known her way around a bow? Fans are also undoubtedly pleased to see McNamara give Arrow its due as a "hallmark of superhero television."
Arrow is the show that started it all on The CW. We wouldn't have The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, or the upcoming Batwoman without Arrow, and I'd wager that CBS never would have greenlit Supergirl's first season if not for The CW's proof that there's an audience for superhero TV.
Kat McNamara also credits showrunner Beth Schwartz and the rest of the team at Arrow with creating a great character, and all signs point toward Mia as a fitting follow-up to Shadowhunters' Clary. Here's what McNamara had to say about the character and the journey she's already been on:
Beth and the writers at Arrow HQ have gone above and beyond in crafting Mia's story. They have created a woman who is complex, dark, troubled, and badass, yet who still manages to have a sense of humor and a heart of gold, albeit one a bit tarnished by the events of her life. This has made it an absolute dream to explore and create this woman, and I'm beyond excited to see where her journey may lead.
We already knew that Arrow isn't giving up on the flash-forwards for Season 8, and I wouldn't be shocked to see at least as much flash-forward action as present action. After all, "no one" wants to make Season 8 without Emily Bett Rickards, according to David Ramsey, who has been part of Team Arrow with Rickards and Stephen Amell from the very first season.
If Season 8 does launch a somewhat grim Star City 2040-esque spinoff, it would make sense for the next generation of superheroes to get more focus. Hey, maybe Nora could come back and join the spinoff! Legends of Tomorrow proved that Arrow-verse shows can work by combining characters already written out of other shows, and Nora is at least from around 2040. She's out of the picture at the moment, but this is the Arrow-verse we're talking about.
We'll have to wait and see. Arrow won't be back for its eighth and final season until the fall, but there's a lot to look forward to and speculate about. Between Arrow winding down, Batwoman premiering, and the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover of unprecedented scale coming, the Arrow-verse should be pretty intense in the 2019-2020 TV season.