Arrow, The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak

When we first saw the photos of Arrow's Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) with jet black hair, heavy eyeliner and the darkest, grungiest clothes we've ever seen, we actually did a spit take.

Gone were the bright and tight mini-dresses and covetable high heels that we've lusted after for over two seasons, and all we could muster up was a great, big, "Huh?!"

We knew that this goth Felicity was from flashbacks to the hacker's past in college, but still this was such a departure from the goofy-yet-sweet Team Arrow member we all know and love, and according to Emily Bett Rickards, that's exactly the point.

Arrow, The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak

"Back in college, she just hadn't found herself yet," Rickards told E! News. "She was testing the waters and trying out different people and appearances and where we see her in present day is who she decided was where her heart was. We see her as this goth back then because that is the person who she thought she was before she found herself. When we see her in this chapter of her life we'll see her almost playing a role because that's the person she thought she was."

But tonight's Felicity-centric episode will show more of her past than just her edgy fashion choices. Get ready to meet Felicity's ex-boyfriend, Cooper (Glee's Nolan Funk).

"It was young love. They were so in love," Rickards said. "They had a deep connection. He was Felicity's first experience with love and having a home in somebody else and that gets torn apart."

The reason we haven't heard Felicity talk about her ex to the current men in her life like Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Diggle (David Ramsey) is because things with Cooper didn't end on good terms. In fact, their breakup was "devastating."

"It was definitely a turning point in her life," Rickards said of the breakup. "It was full of turmoil and it was a loss. But that's all I can say about it."


Cate Cameron/The CW

And when we asked whether or not Felicity has seen Cooper since college, Rickards froze.

"Ooh. That's a…great…question!" she said with a laugh. "No, she hasn't....You might have hit a jackpot! But I'm not going to give it to you."

So why, after over two seasons, are we finally getting a glimpse into Team Arrow's hacker's past?

"We'll see a connection between the flashbacks and what's happening now because we find out that this virus attacking the city came from Felicity," Rickards said. "She wrote it five years ago and now it's taking over the city. Her flashbacks show her creation of it and why and why not? She didn't know it could be so dangerous."

And Oliver and Diggle didn't know their good-natured computer expert could be so dangerous either.

"It definitely opens their eyes and it's a hard pill to swallow," Rickards said. "But at the same time we all know that Felicity isn't inherently evil. There's not any blame. It's more of a shock and confusion because she can't fix it right away like she does with everything else. There's not an easy solution to the problem at hand. And if the creator can't find an easy solution, then they have a huge problem."

Arrow, The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak

Does the re-emergence of Felicity's computer virus also mean her ex will show up in Starling City and have something to do with the attack? Not exactly.

"What you'll find out is that there are more people in the flashbacks besides Cooper," Rickards explained. "Keep in mind she had a whole life even though he was a main part."

Someone from Felicity's past who will show up in Starling City is her mother, Donna (Charlotte Ross).

"Oh boy, her mom is just a bundle of different energy," Rickards said with a laugh. "She is just 360 degrees different. You'll see her come to Starling City from a…well, I wouldn't say a utopia but it's definitely a lot lighter of a life than Felicity's. Felicity has been burdened in the last couple of years and has been dealing with a lot of things and different emotions, both by her choice and not. So we'll see the comparison of how that's taken a toll on her when you have someone as electric as her mother right beside her. It's definitely a contrast and it's a really great dynamic to see the similarities between them like their nurturing ability. That's where Felicity gets it from."

Arrow, The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak

As for why Felicity's mom is popping back into her daughter's life so suddenly, Rickards laughed.

"I think that's just the point! Honestly!" she said. "Her mom doesn't really have that filter of, ‘Oh, I should have called first!'"

Since Felicity is going to be introducing her mother to her new boss Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), does that mean their work relationship is starting to grow into something more? Especially since Ray is going to be asking Felicity out on a date?!

"Oh, their date," Rickards said. "Their date is in concealment of a work trip but I think it is accepted on the terms of testing the waters to a certain extent, because they still have to be a team after. It's really fun."

But what does that mean for Olicity?! Fans have been dying for any Olicity moments they can get, and unfortunately in the past few episodes, those have been few and far between.

"There just hasn't been time!" Rickards said. "There is never any time in Starling City. We're always running out of time and that's why there's an overlook of their relationship and their omission of talking about what they are, but it underlies everything. But every once in a while they'll remember they have that scar there, that open wound if you will, that needs either healing or banishment."

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 pm on the CW.

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