We still haven't recovered from the news that Arrow's final season will have to soldier on without fan-favorite character Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards), but we only have a handful of episodes left before she leaves us for good.

Rickards hasn't said how big a role she'll play in Arrow's final season, though we can only imagine it's incredibly reduced if she's not able to be a series regular in a 10-episode season. Thus, the Season 7 finale will have to write off this beloved heroine in some way, which means it's time to start speculating!

The first and most likely option is the one Arrow has all but revealed already. In Episode 16, "Star City 2040," we got a few flashbacks to Mia Smoak's (Katherine McNamara) childhood, including a heartwarming scene where Felicity gave birth in a small cabin that was clearly not in Star City. We also know Mia was raised in that small cabin in secret, away from everyone Oliver (Stephen Amell) knows and loves, because of the danger that presented itself when the city turned against vigilantes. If you follow those breadcrumbs properly, you'll start to realize that at some point before Mia is born (likely in the Season 7 finale), Felicity will have to cut ties with the team and escape to her cabin safe house, where she'll live off the grid for the next 20 years. Felicity's sendoff might simply be saying goodbye to her, knowing that during Season 8, she'll exist in a peaceful little off-screen town, raising her and Oliver's daughter.

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That potentially solves one mystery. But there's another more foreboding question to answer: What will happen to the older version of her we're currently seeing in the flash-forwards?

When the flash-forwards were first introduced, current showrunner Beth Schwartz confirmed Arrow plans to continue using the story-telling device in future seasons, meaning we'll likely continue to play around in the world of 2040 next year. That's a world in which Felicity is very much alive (thankfully) and fighting crime with her two kids. Unfortunately, the show will have to write her out of that world as well, which might be harder to do. Felicity has already faked her death and gone into hiding once, so that's not likely to work again, and it's hard to imagine Felicity would bail on her kids and let them take down evil overlords all on their own, especially after proving this season that she's not exactly capable of giving up the vigilante lifestyle cold turkey.

It's a terrifying option, but right now all signs point to towards Felicity's death in the flash-forwards to explain her absence in that time period during Season 8. It sucks, but considering there's a good chance Oliver is dead by that time too, at least we can speculate that they're together, eating soufflé and ying-yang kissing in the afterlife?

Arrow airs Mondays at 9/8c on The CW.

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Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards, Arrow

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