Katherine McNamara Previews 'Arrow's New Mia in Post-Crisis Star City 2040

Meredith Jacobs
Green Arrow & The Canaries
Q&A Colin Bentley/The CW

"Crisis on Infinite Earths" has changed the Arrowverse, and we'll see that especially when it comes to Mia Smoak — or rather, Mia Queen — in Tuesday's episode of Arrow.

In "Green Arrow and the Canaries," the backdoor pilot for a potential spinoff, we catch up to Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity's (Emily Bett Rickards) daughter in a very different Star City in 2040. But the city isn't the only thing that's changed. "All will be explained," Katherine McNamara promises TV Insider.

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The star teases what to expect from Emily Bett Rickards' return in the series finale.

Here, McNamara previews what life is like for Mia in the post-Crisis world and how Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) popping up in her life affects everything.

Mia has everything she could have ever wanted. But is that only true for the Mia she is in the post-Crisis world? How does it line up with what the Mia we got to know before Crisis wanted?

Katherine McNamara: That's what's been so interesting about figuring out this new version of Mia with this new reality. She's still the same girl at her core. She's still raised by Felicity. She still has her same values and her same sensibility, but with a completely different set of circumstances.

(Dean Buscher/The CW)

This Mia didn't grow up as a fighter. She didn't grow up in the harsh, broken Star City. She grew up in a perfect version of Star City, having the mantle of being the daughter of the Green Arrow and having her father save the world and save the city and the honor and the responsibility that comes with that — and the notoriety that comes with that. She is a bit of socialite and a bit of a celebrity in that sense, and so she's lived a very public life, a very privileged life.

She's still the same smart, cutting girl that we know, but she's a little lost. She's never found anything in this life that makes her passionate and that brings that spark that we've seen in her before. It's really interesting to see her come to this precipice in her life and wonder where to go.

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Rickards isn't the only one returning for the the series' — and Oliver's — farewell.

What are this Mia's relationships with Felicity and William like?

We really only see her relationship with William in this episode, and it's lovely to see because the two of them got to grow up in the same world as a family. In Season 8 of Arrow, we've really gotten to see their relationship grow as they've confronted their relationship with their father and gotten through the struggle of facing losing him.

And we see a very similar relationship in this episode, except that it's a bit of a different Mia. As the episode continues, it grows in such a beautiful way. She is very close with her brother and very protective of him and very proud of him. It's a very sweet relationship, and it's so fun to play.

(Katie Yu/The CW)

Mia gets the memories of her life – and her father — before Crisis back. What does that mean to her, especially when she's going to be suiting up and she has that memory of him giving her that suit? 

That's a huge bout of trauma that hits Mia like a ton of bricks. She's been raised in this perfect world and hasn't known much loss or much trauma or sadness other than the fact that she never really knew her father. Then to suddenly be hit with the rush of all of the loss and trauma and the sacrifice and everything that she went through in these past couple seasons, it suddenly reinforms everything and she has these two realities living within her, both of which she's fully emotionally attached to, given that she's lived them both.

Particularly when it comes to the suit, it's a huge hurdle that she faces because her father gave her the suit, which is one of the biggest honors and biggest privileges that she's ever received, but the first and last time she ever wore it is when she lost him and when she watched the life leave his eyes. It's a big step that she has to overcome.

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Laurel and Dinah show up in Mia's life in 2040, so what's that dynamic like? They also have two sets of memories. 

Exactly. It's tempestuous at best, given that Mia had what in her mind from everything she knew to be a perfect life. And then all of a sudden, these women show up and throw a monkey wrench into everything, into all of her plans, into all of her relationships, and Mia's left to pick up the pieces and try and protect what and who she can and try and make the best choice she possibly can. It's definitely not without the fair share of words exchanged.

We saw that a bit in Season 7 when Mia and Dinah first crossed paths. Is the dynamic going to be similar to that?

There are definitely shades of that, but in a slightly different way.

(Dean Buscher/The CW)

Deathstroke is once again a threat, but what can you say about who's under the mask and how this version of the villain compares to others we've seen? Mia's dealt with a couple already.

It's true. I can't say too much as to who's under the mask at this point, but Deathstroke is always a threat and is as much of a threat as ever in this world.

We spent a season watching the future team bonding and working together — and suffering a big loss in Zoe. Will we see that team's dynamic continue in some form?

We see parts of the team in some form, yes. Obviously William is a huge part of Mia's life, but he has his own ventures in this new world. So does everyone else. It's a different dynamic, but you do get glimpses at it.

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It looks like Mia's wearing an engagement ring. Is that what it looks like and what's her personal life like?

Her personal life is very different than the Mia we know and love. What Mia has that our original Mia didn't have is social skills and social graces and the ability to connect with people and really build those bonds that our Mia didn't have the skillset for.

How do those social skills inform the hero she's going to be when she suits up with Laurel and Dinah?

It really expands her skillset. Our original Mia would punch her way out of any situation before trying anything else. This Mia is able to solve problems that would otherwise have become bigger problems in a very different way. She has a whole other set of tools at her disposal now and can really roll with the punches, as it were, of whatever situation she's thrown into. So it really does make her quite a bit more adept.

(Sergei Bachlakov/The CW)

What does the end of the series mean to you, especially with the spinoff potential and a possible new beginning for you?

It's very bittersweet because working with Stephen has been such a joy and really everyone from David to Stephen to Emily to everyone who's been a part of the original Arrow, the crew, the creatives. It's a real family and you can tell. You can tell they've worked really hard to build this legacy and this show and this world, this universe, really, together.

With this pilot sandwiched between the crossover and the series finale, it was an epic task to undertake, and we really could not have done it without the Arrow crew, who has done this for so many years, with such expertise, and really knows how to tell these kinds of stories in a cool, badass, dark, gritty way that gives audiences the magic they love. It's really interesting. It's exciting because there is a possibility in the future, but it's also a little bit heartbreaking because it is a classic in a sense. It's all been done right and well and in the best way we could possibly do it.

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The series finale will air Tuesday, January 28, 2020.

Arrow, Tuesdays, 8/7c, The CW