Warning! Spoilers ahead for the Arrow series finale, “Fadeout,” so be sure to watch before reading on.
Arrow’s series finale tied up some loose plot strings and brought back a lot of people that were important to Oliver Queen’s life and journey as the Green Arrow. One of the most important returns, of course, was that of Emily Bett Rickards’ Felicity Smoak, who was last seen in the Season 7 finale. Felicity’s comeback was a sight for longing eyes across parts of the fandom, and Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim revealed that the original finale plan actually had a lot more Felicity involved.
“Fadeout,” which provided its fair share of wish fulfillment, took place a month after the events of mega-crossover “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” which saw Oliver sacrifice himself and help rebirth a new multiverse. Back in Star City, Felicity returned to say her "final" goodbyes and help rescue young William. However, Marc Guggenheim says the original plan was for Felicity to appear in the flashback scenes as well, alongside Oliver and Diggle. Here’s his reasoning for why there was less of Felicity than originally intended:
No, we actually got less. We got less. We write everything without regard to scheduling, and without regard to budget — our ADs and our line producer can speak to that! — because we always want the story to come first. And then we make scheduling tomorrow’s problem. So we basically wrote as much Felicity as we wanted to, with one exception. The original plan for the flashback story was that it would take place sometime around the aftermath of [Episode] 114, which is after Felicity learns of Oliver’s secret and basically joins Oliver and Diggle in the Arrow bunker, but we were only able to get Emily for two days. Something had to fall out, and that became the flashback story, unfortunately. But in terms of the present-day story, we were able to schedule everything. It wasn’t easy to schedule — we had to do what’s called a ‘company move’ in the middle of one of the days to make it all happen — but we did it, and that’s what matters.
That pesky scheduling! I’m sure fans would not have opposed seeing more of Felicity, but it’s understandable that Emily Bett Rickards' availability and logistics got in the way of that. I was just happy that she was able to come back at all because it would have been strange for Arrow to end without one of its core characters there to say goodbye.
While Felicity was largely around in the present day, “Fadeout” does end with the continuation of her meeting The Monitor from the Season 7 finale, when he takes her to see Oliver in the afterlife. It may have taken 20 years for the two lovers to be reunited, but it was a happy ending of sorts for the couple nonetheless.
Speaking to TVLine, Marc Guggenheim says he conceived Oliver and Felicity’s reunion scene while meditating, and that the Arrow series finale delivered on the final scene “almost word for word.” It’s nice to know that the reunion didn’t have to be reworked due to scheduling and what not, and was filmed as planned.
Though Arrow is over, there are plenty of superhero shows left to watch in The CW’s Arrow-verse — The Flash, Supergirl, Batwoman, and Black Lightning — and they’ll all be exploring a post-“Crisis” life for the remainder of their respective seasons. And we're already going to be seeing David Ramsey's Diggle again very soon when he appears on The Flash. (But will he have that emerald ring?)