The CW’s Arrow is about to head into its final season this fall. And while the show has certainly had some quality control issues throughout its run, it has, nonetheless, garnered a large and passionate fanbase. And given that the adventures of Green Arrow on the small screen were what kickstarted the so called Arrowverse, it’s no surprise that the creative team behind the series want to give it as good of a goodbye as possible.
In that spirit, there’ve been many revelations about returning cast members and plot lines to be explored in the shortened 10-episode run. Now, one of the rumors has proven true: John Barrowman is returning to reprise his role as Malcolm Merlyn. In fact, the actor himself announced it on Instagram, writing:
Verified. So the beans were spilled in #boston love working with the team #arrow #malcolmmerlyn @stephenamell #season8 #whathappens you will have to watch to find out. Trying to be soo vague #fabulous jb
Merlyn was the big bad of the first season, wherein he planned to destroy The Glades section of Starling City in a deranged plot. While he was foiled there, he became a recurring character in the series. Sometimes he was a reluctant and distrusted ally, while others he stayed true to his villainous roots.
Barrowman would go on to play the role, not just on Arrow, but in select episodes of The Flash as well. He was also a member of the Legion of Doom on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Barrowman’s last official appearance was the “Elseworlds” crossover, where he appeared as a policeman in an alternate timeline.
While Arrow was never the story of Malcolm Merlyn, he undoubtedly became a linchpin to the series. He showcased a fun house mirror version of who Oliver Queen could easily have become. It was always the intent of those behind the show to have Barrowman return for the end, too. All the way back in 2017, producer Marc Guggenheim stated:
We told John when we called him to tell him about the events of the finale, every single person on all the shows has come back in some shape or form. We’ve got flashbacks, we’ve got time travel, we’ve got parallel universes. Goodbye is never goodbye. He has an open invitation to return to the show any time he wants.
Things are continuing to look up for the final season, which starts airing on Tuesday, October 15th, at 9/8c on The CW. With so many returning characters, it seems that all the stops are truly being pulled out and that Arrow will get the sendoff it deserves.