Warning! Spoilers ahead!
Since the mid-season finale of Arrow, which ended with a newly-engaged Felicity gunned down in front of Oliver, fans have been speculating about her eventual fate.
Some theorized that Felicity could die, drawing on scenes of Oliver in front of a mystery headstone. But most fans believed that the show wouldn't kill off such a major character (and fan favorite) so abruptly. Others wondered if she would lapse into a coma, or possibly wake up with amnesia (that old soap opera fallback when a romance gets dull).
Felicity As Oracle
The most popular theory, however, was that Felicity would survive the attack, but end up paralyzed. This would lead to her adopting the name Oracle, a tech-savvy character who uses her skills to provide support and information to costumed members of the DC universe. Felicity already has a very Oracle-esque role in the show, and her backstory episode was originally titled Oracle, making a wheelchair-bound Felicity a shoo-in for the title.
In the comics, Oracle is better known as Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl, Commissioner Gordon's daughter. Barbara was paralysed after a run in with the Joker, after which she reinvented herself as Oracle. This connection to Batman made some Arrow fans furious about the possibility of Felicity picking up the mantle. Some feel that the show has already borrowed too much from the Dark Knight (Ra's Al Ghul being a prime example), and that turning Felicity into Oracle would be a step too far.
Others were happy about the possibility, looking forward to seeing Felicity get a codename that connects her with the DC comics. Comic-book Oracle also formed the Birds of Prey, an all-female team headed up by Black Canary. The possibility of seeing this team on the show (and the potential for a spin off) also had some fans excited at the possibility of Oracle joining Team Arrow.
The Executive Producer Speaks
While we don't get to see what happens until next week, executive producer Wendy Mericle spoke to TV Line about the rumors, and it turns out that Felicity most definitely won't become Oracle.
That’s something we definitely talked about [doing] with Felicity in the beginning…. But yeah, it will not be Oracle, sadly. People have to tune in to see what happens.
It's interesting to hear that they did toss around the idea at the beginning, and it explains the episode originally titled Oracle. However, Mericle is very clear that the idea was canned, describing it as "off the table".
What WILL Happen?
With the news that Felicity will not become Oracle, fans are left wondering what her fate on the show will be. We know that she will be returning in the second half of the season, and set photos that came to light last week revealed that she will be in a wheelchair, at least temporarily.
It may be that Felicity continues to simply be Felicity, no superhero code names required (which would be refreshing, seeing as almost every other character in the Flarrowverse has ended up being someone from the comics). If she is paralyzed, it's sure to add an interesting dynamic to her relationship with Oliver; they may struggle to come to terms with the change, she may decide that she can no longer marry him, or he may worry that she will blame him for the accident. There are so many possible ways that the characters could react to something like this, and it's sure to make for compelling viewing.
No matter what, Oliver will undoubtedly be hell-bent on revenge since the accident, and this could be something that spurs him on to finally confront Damien Darkh in the season finale. Knowing that Felicity lives also means that the question of the mystery grave is still unanswered- and that someone else is going to die by the end of the season.
When Arrow Returns
Given that so many believed that Felicity would definitely become Oracle, this new information will be a shock to fans - although a lot of them may be relieved.
However, it leaves us with more questions than it answers. If Felicity isn't Oracle, will she ever get a codename? Is she permanently paralyzed, or were those shots in a wheelchair just temporary? How is this going to affect Oliver, and their relationship? Who is in that grave?
Luckily, we don't have to wait long to find out, as Arrow returns to the CW next week, on Jan 20th. As Mericle says, we'll have to tune in to find out what happens!