Fans have been speculating wildly about Felicity’s official fate on Arrow, and now we might just have our answer!
The midseason fall finale of Arrow ended with a twist, leaving fans hanging from a steep, treacherous cliff. Moments after Oliver proposed to Felicity, Damien Darhk exacted a devious attack directly on her, leaving her in critical condition. With the next episode still a week away, fans have been feverishly speculating as to whether she would live or die. The worry that she may be dead is compounded considering the season’s opening on Oliver brooding over a mysterious grave. Even long before Damien’s attack in the latest episode, fans wondered if it could be Felicity in the grave.
That’s not to say there isn’t plenty of reason to suspect that isn’t the end of Felicity in fact…
Set Photos Tell a Tale
Recently, leaked photos from the Arrow set were released online. In the photos, Felicity actress Emily Bett Rickards is seen (very much alive) sitting in a wheel chair in a crowded room. This is obviously big news for a couple of reasons. Firstly, this seems to mean that Felicity is indeed alive! (Cue celebration music!) But not only that, the photos also seem to fit perfectly with the thriving theory that Felicity would soon become a new version of the DC Comics hero, Oracle.
Oracle is the name the original Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, took after the Joker shot her (Felicity parallel!) leaving her permanently (pre New 52) paralyzed and wheelchair bound. Barbara used her talents as a computer genius (sound familiar?) to continue being a hero in Gotham (and eventually globally). Even though Barbara’s paralysis was criticized when the comic debuted, her reinvention as Oracle was eventually seen as a positive evolution of the character.
The parallels between Oracle’s origin story and Felicity’s current situation are fairly apparent. Felicity, like Barbara, was targeted and shot by the main villain to hurt the central hero and left permanently wheelchair bound (making that assumption here about Felicity based on the photos and the recent trailer). Incidentally, that is the part a lot of readers had a problem with, the fact that Barbara’s attack was first to harm her father, Commissioner Gordon, and second to harm Batman. Whatever may be happening in Arrow feels like it parallels Oracle’s story almost too closely. Right now, Felicity is in critical condition to fuel Oliver’s rage, so the series almost has to now make her a hero at least similar to Oracle in order to make the tragedy narratively worthwhile.
The Bad News
Now that I’ve hyped you all up for Oracle, I’m going to take it all away. Shortly after the aforementioned set photos were released, Arrow showrunner Marc Guggenheim tweeted his response.
I don’t normally comment on spoilers, but an upcoming episode features a Felicity HALLUCINATION. Make of that what you will. @EmilyBett
— Marc Guggenheim (@mguggenheim) January 9, 2016
Guggenheim claims that there will be a “Felicity hallucination” in an upcoming episode. While this is the showrunner and obviously the top authority on the series, this response feels somehow… hollow. It might just be a personal opinion, but the way Guggenheim framed his hallucination comment seemed to be intentionally misleading, as though he’s suggesting Felicity’s really dead when lots of people think she’ll live. He did say he avoids commenting on spoilers usually, so why do so now? The only thing he had to gain from mentioning the hallucination was to prolong the mystery of the series.
Sadly, an Executive Producer did rule out our prevailing theory. Producer Wendy Mericle told TVLine, “That’s something we definitely talked about [doing] with Felicity in the beginning…. But yeah, it will not be Oracle, sadly.” So it seems once and for all out theory is dead on arrival. Felicity is not Oracle.
Eh… I’m Not So Convinced
Okay. I concede. Felicity is not going to be called Oracle. But that doesn’t mean she won’t be Oracle in every other way. Felicity is already the go-to computer geek and information broker of the Arrowverse. Now we have seen her in a wheelchair, which, even if that moment is the hallucination Guggenheim referred to, doesn’t make it any less significant as a reference to Oracle. If the wheelchair is nothing but an empty piece of a hallucination that would feel almost cruel on the part of the show runners. While I won’t claim cruelty is out of the question, I would say hopeful that these elements will offer more than just a “what could have been” glimpse.
While the North American trailer for the next episode of Arrow remained steadfastly ambiguous, a video surfaced of the Australian trailer, which had less to hide.
In the trailer, Felicity’s mother (looking dramatically just off camera) says outright, “The damage to her spinal cord is permanent…she’s never going to walk again”. So… Oracle? The show is absolutely building off of Oracle’s origin for Felicity, and not even subtly. If they are not going to develop Felicity as Oracle they are doing a terrible job.
Oracle by Proxy
There is another wheelchair-bound, information broker who eventually works by Oracle’s side in the DC Universe: Proxy. She originally worked as a caretaker at Titans Tower (home of the Teen Titans) before an injury left her paralyzed from the waist down. Eventually she used her computer prowess to help heroes in the same manner as Barbara Gordon did as Oracle, earning her the Proxy moniker.
Essentially, Proxy would be a way for the Arrow writers to have Felicity become the new Oracle without actually calling her Oracle. That’s not to say that Proxy doesn’t have her own distinguishing characteristics. In fact, Proxy is the daughter of infamous Gotham villain (and arguably Oracle’s greatest nemesis) Calculator, which links this theory to another surrounding Felicity.
So while Felicity may not be Oracle, I feel pretty confident that she’s Proxy.