The end of an era came to Arrow in the end of Season 7 due to the departure of Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak. Rickards' decision to leave the series saw Felicity written out in both the present and future timelines, so fans can't even hold out hope that she'll appear throughout the season in the flash-forwards as they continue. A big question has been how and if Arrow can get back to business as usual in the eighth and final season, ahead of "Crisis on Infinite Earths" and without Felicity.
Star Stephen Amell addressed the direction of Season 8 during the Arrow panel at the 2019 Summer TCA Press Tour, saying this:
I think that the show, as people have understood it and its structure I think it ended in our Season 7 finale. This year is fundamentally different. The episodes are events. And, to me, the show, as we constructed it, ended when Emily left.
Well, Stephen Amell did originally want Arrow to end with Season 7! Considering how much of Oliver's life came to revolve around Felicity and the family they built together, it makes a lot of sense that Arrow will be fundamentally different without her around. It sounds like fans shouldn't just expect Oliver and Co. to get into the mix with random villains of the week for each of the non-"Crisis" episodes of the final season.
There is a lot that will have to happen, even if that won't include Oliver wallowing in misery the whole time despite his losses. If the Season 8 finale really is the end of Oliver Queen in the Arrow-verse, there are loose ends that need to be tied up, and there's always the possibility that the rumored spinoff will happen.
And, of course, the massive "Crisis on Infinite Earths" event that will mark the first and only time the show that started the entire Arrow-verse will cross over with The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and Batwoman.
A "gracious" guest star is returning in Season 8, along with the actors who played two characters whose original incarnations are very, very dead by this point in the series. Throw in the possibility of timeline shenanigans on top of that head-scratcher of a season premiere title, and there are more questions than answers about Season 8 at this point.
That said, Arrow Season 8 won't just carry on as if Felicity never existed or had a central role in the series. Speaking with CinemaBlend's Nick Venable at TCA, Arrow showrunner Beth Schwartz said this about Felicity moving forward:
I mean, I definitely miss writing for her. She's such a fun character to write for, and she was part of the show from the very beginning. So it definitely, at first, felt a little strange, but we tried to invoke her as much as possible, even if we can't see her. She's there in spirit.
Felicity being there in spirit is better than nothing, right? It's not out of the question for Arrow to include the occasional communication via email or text from Felicity, as she is alive and well, and that wouldn't require Emily Bett Rickards to reprise her role. She's already seemingly shot down the possibility, but we'll have to wait and see if Oliver doesn't get to see his wife on-screen at least one more time before the end.