(Disclaimer: Major spoilers for Arrow Season 5 below — continue at your own risk!)
Arrow is back to its former glory, and the breathtaking mid-season finale proved that Season 5 is only going to get better. Prometheus has proven to be a formidable villain for the Green Arrow, and his vendetta has spilled out into other sections of Oliver Queen's life. One of the most important people in Oliver's life that has been directly affected by Prometheus's rampage is undoubtedly everyone's favorite nerd, Felicity Smoak.
Felicity was utterly devastated by the death of her boyfriend Billy, and his tragic death has fundamentally changed Felicity forever. The real question now is: how exactly will Felicity cope with the death of Billy, and what does that mean for her future on Arrow? In light of recent rumors hinting at the arrival of a Black Canary who is not Laurel Lance, fans began to speculate that Felicity might take up the mantle. This might sound like a crazy notion, but let's take a look at where Felicity's future lies, and if she could become the new Black Canary.
Want to read more about Arrow? Check out:
- Why Vigilante Is The Key To Taking Down Prometheus On 'Arrow' Season 5
- 'Arrow': Why John Diggle Will Be Ready To Fight Again When Season 5 Returns
- 'Arrow': Why Is Earth 2's Laurel Lance In Star City — And What's Coming Next?
Felicity's Darker Path
During a recent interview with Collider, ‘Arrow’ Executive Producer Marc Guggenheim spoke at length of the "darker path" that Felicity is headed down, following the death of her boyfriend Billy Malone. Regarding Felicity seeking 'outside help', Guggenheim said:
As with all things Arrow, it’s not initially what you think it is and it will ultimately relate to the overall season theme of legacy, but in this case something very specific to Felicity.
The theme of legacy has been profoundly prevalent this season, given that it seems to be the reason Prometheus has set his sights on Oliver. Guggenheim went on to broach the topic of Felicity's new path:
This is something I was talking to the writers about in the writers’ room — Felicity is a wonderful character because she brings some light into the show. So it’s a darker — it’s an edgier story for Felicity, but at the same time, it’s still Felicity. You want to keep the character.
Felicity Smoak has been the beacon of light in an otherwise dim Arrow Cave; but she has faced her demons before, and has never lost her spark. Guggenheim addresses this fact, and gives an explanation as to why she has finally at her wits' end:
It’s the sum of a bunch of stuff, and Billy was sort of the final straw. It’s also the sum of the fact that Felicity’s been living in this darker world for the last four-plus years now and one of the things we’re exploring is how much what Oliver and Diggle and Roy and Laurel have been doing as vigilantes affected her and affected her way of thinking about things.
It's safe to say that all of the events leading up to Billy's death have compounded exponentially, pushing Felicity into a course of action that could fundamentally change the character as we know her — but to what end?
Could Felicity Become The New Black Canary?
We can surmise from Marc Guggenheim's remarks that Felicity is going to look to do something outside the realm of Team Arrow in the wake of Billy's death. She could seek revenge, but this wouldn't make much sense, seeing as she personally knows some of the most powerful beings on the planet, who would help her in an instant. Alternatively, Felicity could look to make sure that she never feels powerless again.
Now, how exactly would would someone go about gaining a sense of security and skills that would help them combat future threats? Oh yeah, they become a vigilante — and on #Arrow, wronged parties can become vigilantes in the span of a few episodes.
If we go under the assumption that Felicity travels down the same road as Diggle, Roy, Thea, and Laurel went down, we could see her transformation into a hero very quickly. Felicity also fits the same archetype as Laurel when she became Black Canary, in that she feels powerless, and wants to be able to protect the ones she loves. Felicity also has the network and resources to take on the mantle of Black Canary.
The theme of legacy has been the focal point of Arrow this season, and that could tie in to passing the mantle of Black Canary on to Felicity. As a character arc, it would make sense, given the tragedy she has faced, and she has both the means and drive. The next question that needs to be asked is: should Felicity become the new Black Canary?
Should Felicity Become The New Black Canary?
Felicity has always been a polarizing figure on Arrow. Her romance with Oliver (or "Olicity" for shippers) was the driving force of Seasons 3 and 4 (which I like to refer to as the "dark times"). She is also not part of the Green Arrow legacy, and her aforementioned romance has supplanted the one that was meant for Dinah "Laurel" Lance. For these reasons, it's easy to jump to the conclusion that she shouldn't be the new Black Canary.
It could also be argued that because Felicity has taken role that was meant for Laurel, it would only make sense that she would take the next step and become Black Canary. It's true that Felicity doesn't need to become a vigilante — she has many useful skills, and doesn't need to fight crime physically — but it would be a cathartic arc for both fans of the Green Arrow comic, and for fans of the character.
If you step back and look at Felicity as a character, she has been stuck in a corner developmentally. Recently, she's been relegated to random side plots, which have become very repetitive. She has also been defined by her relationship with Oliver for the better part of the show. So, her taking on the mantle of Black Canary would give her the ability to be more active member of Team Arrow, and will also fill a Black Canary-shaped hole that has been left in Laurel's absence.
When it comes down to it, it's hard to decide either way if Felicity really should become the Black Canary. However, the darker path Felicity is headed down has to lead somewhere, and her taking on the mantle of Black Canary would tie in with Arrow's prevailing theme of legacy.
Regardless of whether you'd love or hate to see Felicity as Black Canary, Arrow Season 5 has showed us that they are doing what is best for the characters and for the overall narrative. Whatever the plan for Felicity is, we can rest easy knowing that she is in good hands. Sadly, Arrow is on hiatus, but you can catch the mid-season premiere on January 25th, 8PM/ET on The CW.
Do you think Felicity should become the new Black Canary? Let your voice be heard in the comments section below!