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How Emily Bett Rickards Made Felicity an Arrowverse Icon

Emily Bett Rickards Felicity Smoak Arrow

Of all the DC Comics characters to be introduced into the Arrowverse, none have been reimagined as drastically or as effectively as Felicity Smoak. Originally a Firestorm supporting character from the 1980s, DC's TV version of the character, portrayed by Emily Bett Rickards, has gone on to become an acclaimed key member of Arrow's main cast and a fixture in the shared television universe.

With Rickards departing Arrow upon the upcoming conclusion of the series' seventh season, here's a look back on how the actress and her character developed from a small role into one of the most beloved figures in the Arrowverse and how the character differs from her comic book counterpart.

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FELICITY IN THE COMIC BOOK DC UNIVERSE

First created in 1984's The Fury of Firestorm #23 by Gerry Conway and Rafael Kayanan, the original comic book incarnation of Felicity Smoak was a recurring thorn in the side of the element-manipulating superhero. After Firestorm accidentally causes the destruction of software programs in development by Felicity's company, the businesswoman files a class-action lawsuit, gathering fellow plaintiffs suffering from collateral damage by Firestorm's activities. After marrying Ronnie Raymond's father, Felicity discovers Firestorm's true identity and forgives him for damages he had inadvertently incurred but reminds him to be more responsible with his powers.

RELATED: Arrow Bids Goodbye to Major Character (And No, It's Not Felicity)

Following the Arrowverse introduction of the character, Felicity Smoak made her updated debut during the New 52 in 2014's Green Arrow #35 by then-Arrow showrunner Andrew Kreisberg and Daniel Sampere. Now resembling her television counterpart both visually and in terms of professional background, the new comic book Felicity is a self-described hacker-for-hire that assists Green Arrow with his crime-fighting crusade in Seattle. Eventually Steve Trevor invites Felicity to work with him for A.R.G.U.S. but she declines favoring her working relationship with Oliver Queen.

HOW FELICITY BECAME OVERWATCH

Originally contracted for a single guest role early in Season 1 as a tech savvy character loosely based off of the Firestorm supporting character, Emily Bett Rickards was cast in the role. After developing a positive dynamic with star Stephen Amell and producer Peter Roth, the character was expanded to be a recurring role throughout the first season. After Rickards' performance received continued critical acclaim, the actress was promoted to be a full cast member on the series moving forward.

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First seen as a tech savvy character hired by Oliver Queen to help him with off-the-books work for his ongoing crime-fighting crusade, Felicity Smoak eventually discovers Oliver's vigilante double-identity after finding him gravely wounded. Deciding to continue to assist him in his mission, Felicity assists Oliver and John Diggle with bringing down Slade Wilson in Season 2.

During Season 3, Felicity helps her boyfriend and colleague Ray Palmer develop his superhero Atom suit while Season 4 took a darker turn for the character as she was temporarily paralyzed after being shot and took on the alter ego Overwatch, assisting Team Arrow from the group's base, a role she continues even after regaining her mobility.

ARROW'S FELICITY & OLIVER QUEEN

Arrow and Felicity

As a key figure in the Arrowverse's superhero community, Felicity has been linked romantically to several characters before eventually marrying Oliver. Given their mutual scientific aptitude and love of geeky subject matter, Felicity and Barry Allen briefly flirted before the Central City forensic scientist became the Flash. Throughout much of Season 3, Felicity dated Ray Palmer only for the two to break up when they both realized Felicity was actually in love with Oliver.

However, given their immediately apparent chemistry, Felicity and Oliver's romantic relationship was something of an inevitability. After trying and failing to date at the beginning of Season 3 due to Oliver's commitments as the Green Arrow, the couple finally succeed in entering a serious relationship by the season finale.

After discovering Oliver had been lying about the existence of his son from a previous relationship, William Clayton, Felicity breaks off her engagement with him. This estrangement is further exacerbated by Oliver being tricked by Prometheus into killing her police officer boyfriend Billy Malone but, by the start of Season 6, the two have fully reconciled and resumed their romantic relationship.

RELATED: Arrow Season 7 Wraps Production

After witnessing Barry Allen and Iris West's impromptu wedding in the middle of Season 6, Felicity convinces Oliver to similarly marry her on the spot. Their marriage is quickly tested when Oliver is imprisoned for his vigilante activities as the Green Arrow. Some time after his release, Felicity discovers she is pregnant with Oliver's child and gives birth to a daughter named Mia Smoak and arranges for her to be raised in secrecy outside of Star City.

From a one-off guest star to a crucial part of Team Arrow, Felicity Smoak is an example of the Arrowverse taking an obscure DC character and improving upon them by updating and changing them. Much of this is a testament to Rickards' truly laudable performance, bringing bright, self-aware energy to a series that currently stands as the darkest in the Arrowverse. With the character and actress poised to leave the series after the conclusion of its seventh season, her presence will be sorely missed as Arrow moves into its final season.

Airing Mondays at 8 pm ET/PT on The CW, Arrow stars Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, David Ramsey as John Diggle, Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak, Rick Gonzalez as Wild Dog, Juliana Harkavy as Black Canary, Colton Haynes as Arsenal, Kirk Acevedo as Diaz and Katie Cassidy as Black Siren.

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