Episode 13 was a lucky number for the Arrow fans who have been trying to crack the mystery of Blackstar aka Mia’s true identity.
This Monday on the CW series, as tensions among the future factions — William, Roy, Dinah and Zoe versus Mia and Connor — threatened to cross a point of no return, Mia aimed to de-escalate the situation by revealing who she really is in the grand scheme of things. Her last name is Smoak, and yep, Felicity and Oliver are her folks. (That big reveal came just moments after a present-day scene in which Felicity appeared to learn from a doctor that she was pregnant.)
You’ve got questions, and TVLine went to Katherine McNamara for answers….
TVLINE | We just saw each other last week, at the ABC/Freeform party. If I had caught you a couple of cocktails later, might you have spilled the beans on this?
[Laughs] Absolutely not.
TVLINE | Did you know from go that you were going to be Felicity and Oliver’s daughter?
I did not, actually. Of course when they’re casting these things they don’t want it out there that they’re looking for Olicity’s kid, so the sides were [fake] and the character description was for a “rookie cop.” Once I was cast, I was gearing up to play this rookie cop when I get a call from [showrunner] Beth Schwartz and she says, “So by the way, everything you know is a lie. You’re Oliver and Felicity’s kid. Congratulations and welcome to the show!” [Laughs] I’m like, “Hold on, pause, rewind, back up — what?” I’ve seen how beloved Olicity is to these fans and I know what a big responsibility this is, so I’ve done everything in my power to live up to these very big shoes I have to fill.
TVLINE | Did Stephen [Amell] and Emily [Bett Rickards] both know that you knew? Was it a secret among the three of you?
I believe so. There were some people on-set, certain department heads that knew, but Mia doesn’t find her parents right away, so I’ve met Stephen and Emily but I haven’t worked with them a ton. We’ve been on opposite schedules for a lot of the time I’ve been on the show but as people find out, it’s been interesting to see. The cast and crew have been so welcoming and everyone’s been excited to see this new iteration of their power couple. It’s been an interesting journey because from Day 1, Beth has said they’re trying to combine the best qualities of Oliver and Felicity — his physical strength and her intellectual strength. It’s been an interesting thought process trying to combine those and make them into something new. But I love challenges like that.
TVLINE | Of course it was an early theory that Blackstar is Olicity’s daughter, but she and William not recognizing each other seemed to waylay that. Was that misdirect by design?
One-hundred percent. I know that in talking to the writers and everything, they were trying to delay the inevitable figuring-it-out as much as possible, because they wanted to save the reveal for a bit later, in order to first establish the severity of the world and the twisted childhood that she had, which we’ll see more of as the season continues. There’s a reason why Mia is the way she is, and there’s a reason she has such a resentment for vigilantes and for her own parents. It’s been a challenge for me, because I get little bits of information as I get new scripts and as I’m entrusted with new secrets, but a lot of things have been question marks for me as much as they have been for the audience.
TVLINE | Will we get into how and why it is that Mia and William don’t know each other?
We get into a little bit of where she’s coming from and who she is and what she’s planning, what she wants. Finally we get that more than just “ominous comments at the end of an episode.” As the season continues, we get more answers and it becomes very clear how dire the world has become in the future and the lengths that Oliver and Felicity had to go to protect their children. We don’t know what went wrong, but something went very wrong, very quickly for them to have to resort to these kind of measures.
TVLINE | After Mia reveals her family ties to William, Roy et al, does everyone become fast friends?
Mia isn’t one to make friends with anyone quickly. It’s like pulling teeth to get her to befriend anyone. [Laughs] But that just speaks to how hardened she has become, given the environment she has been living in. It also says something that she identifies herself as Mia Smoak, not necessarily Mia Queen — that even having the name “Queen” puts a target on her back. She’s extremely guarded with who she trusts, and I would say that the others are equally so. Anyone who claims to be a member of that inner circle is going to have to prove it in order to be trusted. Everyone’s out to survive in this world, and Mia above any of them has had to survive on her own for quite a while now. We’ll find out later that she is well equipped to do so, but it has changed her for sure.
TVLINE | Mia suspects Felicity is in fact alive. Is she basing that on hard evidence or just wishes, hopes and dreams?
It’s a bit of both. Even though they have an obviously strained relationship, Felicity is still her mom and Mia doesn’t want her mom to be dead. She doesn’t want to feel like she’s completely alone and stranded without a mother in this world. She cares about Felicity, she doesn’t want to lose her. I think she doesn’t necessarily have hard evidence, but she knows her mother — and she knows her mother is a survivor as well, and odds are her mother’s not dead. But I do think a lot of it is hope and a prayer at this point.
TVLINE | Lastly, will we get any insight into why William — as he told Roy back on Lian Yu — feels abandoned by his parents?
For sure. Both [William and Mia] feel extremely abandoned in their own ways, and as much as the two of them are at odds, their relationship is really, really wonderful and so rich, because there are all these different facets to it. First of all, you have this sibling rivalry — “you were the biological kid”/”but you were the one who got to experience more of a normal childhood.” Both of them are jealous of each other, and yet they bond with each other because no one can else can understand the experience of being Oliver and Felicity’s child. They bond over the struggle that that entails, the feeling of abandonment, and the feeling of being second to the greater good of the city.
It’s not easy growing up with superhero parents and feeling as though you are Priority No. 2. Yes, they understand it’s important, but also you’re a kid and you want your parents to care about you and what you need and what you want, and not put you aside to defend strangers.
TVLINE | Hopefully it will all lead to a happy family reunion, with Stephen and Emily in old-age makeup.
[Laughs] Wellll… we’ll see about that. I don’t know that there are any happy reunions in Future Star City, but we will certainly see something.