The Arrow-verse has become a sprawling landscape complete with all sorts of outlandish characters. Every season we see new personalities enter the fray, but nothing can compare to some of the most engaging and exciting originals. One prime example of a longstanding, fan-favorite Arrow character is John Barrowman's Malcolm Merlyn -- who has straddled the line between good and evil for the last five years. The morally gray archer consistently entertains as one of The CW's best DC characters, but now it seems that we may not see him for quite some time once this season comes to an end. Check out the tweet below for more information.
As you can see from that tweet, John Barrowman took the stage at Kansas City Planet Comicon (in delightfully flamboyant fashion, because Barrowman) and announced that he would not return to the Arrow-verse during the 2017-2018 season. This means that we will not see any hint of Malcolm Merlyn on The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, or his home turf on Arrow. Of course, this represents a massive shift for the Arrow-verse as a whole, as Merlyn is one of the universe's most enduring characters, and John Barrowman himself has become one of the most beloved performers on any of the current DC series.
This naturally raises questions about where the Arrow-verse will take The Dark Archer going forward. At this point, it remains unclear whether or not Barrowman's comments are a thinly veiled admission that Merlyn will die at the end of this season, or if he will simply take some time away from the series before potentially returning. We know Merlyn will play a role in the final episodes of Arrow's fifth season, so death isn't entirely off of the table. After all, the character has basically been living on borrowed time ever since he survived an arrow through the heart during The Undertaking at the climax of Arrow's Season 1 finale back in 2013.
As much as we absolutely love Malcolm Merlyn (and John Barrowman's portrayal of him), we have to admit that this actually feels like good news. Between his time as a central villain on Legends of Tomorrow and his stints crossing over into the other Arrow-verse series over the last year, we reached a point of saturation for the character. Beyond that, the Arrow-verse hasn't really figured out how to pick a lane and stay in it, as Season 3 of Arrow explicitly set the character up for a redemptive arc -- only to pull back and return him to his villainous status over the last two seasons.
For now, it looks like we should enjoy the time that we have left with Malcolm Merlyn because there's no way of knowing when the Arrow character will return. The Emerald Archer's solo series airs every Wednesday night at 8 p.m. EST on The CW. Take a look at our comprehensive summer TV premiere guide for more information related to all of the most highly anticipated series set to premiere once the spring season comes to an end.
Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.
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