Warning: Pretty much this entire article is a spoiler if you are not caught up with Arrow. You have been warned!
Arrow is back for it's third season, and it's wasting no time getting to the good stuff! By the end of the third episode, we have met Wildcat, been re-introduced to Nyssa Al-Ghul, got some serious hints as to the less-than-above-board ARGUS agenda and seen Laurel Lance's first fight on her path to becoming (presumably) the new Black Canary. Questions are flying, characters are developing and we are already knee-deep in intrigue and Easter Eggs.
One of my favorite such hints from the most recent episode "Corto Maltese" is just one tiny exchange, but it could have huge ramifications for the series. As Oliver arrives on the island to look for his sister, he has a very short exchange with a local man who appears to be a gardener where she lives. For those who do not speak Spanish, this involves him saying that he is looking for his sister, at which point the gardener switches to English, and says that he must be talking about "Mia". Oliver clearly notices this subtle name change, but chooses not to comment on it, only to look slightly more tense as he asks where he can find "Mia".
It's a tiny moment, and the casual viewer could be forgiven for dismissing it, or perhaps for assuming that she simply chose a name with a more Latin sound for her new island life. However, this was a phenomenal moment for comic book fans, who have been debating from the start whether her nickname of "Speedy" was ever going to become truly relevant. The end of last season sparked endless debate over which comic book character she may become, and this tiny change reveals it at last.
It's now very clear that not only is Thea/Mia most definitely joining the ranks of the costumed crusaders, but the writers have chosen to make her a variation of the original Mia Dearden/Speedy. I say variation, because the backstory is quite impressively different in the comics; Mia is not Oliver Queen's sister, but an ex-prostitute and street kid who becomes his apprentice, and takes up the mantle of "Speedy" after the original Speedy (Roy Harper) becomes Arsenal.
Knowing that, and hearing Thea referred to as Mia, doesn't it all start to make a little more sense? Many fans were frustrated at seeing Roy jump pretty much straight from nobody to Arsenal, claiming that he should have been Speedy first. Now it is clear that the writers are having a little fun with the timeline (and isn't that a writer's privilege?), skipping Roy ahead so that Mia as Speedy can also join in on all the fun.
On top of that, Mia's relationship with Oliver has always had an element of brotherly love to it, so this aspect of their relationship makes more sense. Being siblings lends a solid backstory to her eventual title as "Speedy", and it allows viewers to understand the depth of their connection right off the bat.
Including a twist to their relationship (as a daughter of Merlyn as well as the brother of Arrow) allows room for a little more interest in the story, as well. The original Mia/Speedy was a straight-up sidekick, and this show already has that in the form of Roy. Making Thea something of a double-agent adds drama to the situation, and creates far more tension, both for her character and that of Oliver.
The question now, is how will this play out for Thea Queen? I highly doubt that Oliver would agree to take her on as a sidekick, or that she would want that role. She would have an incredibly hard time explaining how she became a ninja waiting tables in South America, for one thing! We also see Oliver refusing to train Laurel in this episode, and have previously seen him refusing to allow Diggle into the field now that he is a father (although he has obviously changed his stance on that one). It would make no sense for him to welcome his baby sister into the fold and train her after all that. I also doubt that she would have any interest in working side by side with Roy, especially given their history of lies surrounding his role in team Arrow.
I think that it is far more likely that we will see a Speedy that is another fighter and hero for Starling, but who is not affiliated with the Arrow. It seems that at this point, Thea thoroughly trusts the manipulative Malcolm, so she could work within the city on his behalf, or with her own agenda. Alter egos aside, I believe that we may see her return to Verdant, and start it up again. Although the Queen family is broke, the Merlyn side most definitely is not, and she could use that money to come back to the business where she was happy, and return to being "Thea Queen" as a cover for her other, more violent, activities.
Personally, I would love to see her and Oliver work together on Verdant, and I feel that it's a strong possibility. As it stands, he is still living under the club, and even in the Glades, a property like that wouldn't remain empty for too long. Having Thea and Oliver work together on the club would provide the perfect cover (again) for his lair underneath. The legal matter of the club ownership isn't clear, but as Thea was apparently the owner in season two, and her assets would presumably have stayed separate from those lost with Queen Consolidated, she is presumably still the owner now. It would be a simple matter to claim a bank loan and saving while away to explain her financial ability to re-open the club. This possibility would also fit perfectly with her alleged reasons for returning - to be with her brother.
The most exciting part of the Verdant possibility for me, however, is in how it could shift the dynamic between the two siblings. For one thing, they would either be partners, or Oliver would be working for Thea - I would love to see a fight for power in the club mirrored in physical fights between their super-selves! I would also like to see Thea figure out the Arrow connection by the end of this season (after all, at this point it really is starting to feel like everyone knows), and working at the club could both arouse her suspicions and give her access to discover what is under the ground there.
Perhaps the road to becoming Speedy is her journey for season three? We could see her struggle to reconcile her old self (including her friends and her club), her new training, her relationship with her brother and her divided loyalties to the families Merlyn and Queen. She may decide to change her name entirely, to avoid association with either one and strike out on her own, which could make her entirely Mia Dearden. We could also see her fighting Oliver as Arrow, and the truth of both of them eventually coming out to allow her to become Oliver's sidekick in the end.
Of course, we could see none of this, but isn't half the fun of watching about guessing games? Where do you think the character of Thea Queen will go, now that she is back in Starling city?