It looks like the CW’s Arrow is down a Dark Archer – permanently. The season finale of the show saw John Barrowman’s character, Malcolm Merlyn, shrug off this mortal coil via a fatal explosion trigger by a landmine. While death might be one of the reversible forces of nature in the history of Arrow, it looks like Merlyn’s demise was a poignant moment for Barrowman, as it signified his departure from the CW’s Arrowverse as a whole.
Barrowman announced he would no longer play Malcolm Merlyn in an Instagram video, in which he thanked his many fans but acknowledge that sometimes a show, and its characters, have to change.
“I am very sad to be leaving the Arrowverse,” Barrowman said in the video. “I love playing Malcolm Merlyn, and you know - that’s it really. As sad as it may be, I understand how shows must change and also characters must change and develop. But that doesn’t mean I’m not very sad and upset about it. I appreciate your support and love you all.”
Barrowman has been playing Malcolm Merlyn since 2012, when the character was introduced in the episode “An Innocent Man.” Once an operative for the League of Assassins, Malcolm Merlyn has become a powerful business man with deep pockets and an unabating hatred for Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow.
Malcolm Merlyn is the father of Tommy Merlyn and Thea Queen, the latter of whom he saved from certain death in the season finale by taking her place when she steps on a landmine. While Malcolm Merlyn’s death takes place off-screen, it seems that the character will not be making his miraculous return any time soon.
Barrowman’s character became more thoroughly ingrained in the Arrowverse the longer he existed, having played pivotal roles in both The Flash and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Based off the DC Comics character Merlyn created by Mike Friedrich, Neal Adams and Dick Dillin, Barrowman’s Malcolm Merlyn has even had the cyclical journey of being featured in comic book series based off the show Arrow, which is itself based off the DC Comics character Green Arrow.
Arrow just wrapped up its fifth season and has been renewed for a sixth. Developed for television by Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg, Arrow stars Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, Colin Donnell, David Ramsey, Willa Holland, Susanna Thompson, Paul Blackthorne, Emily Bett Rickards, Colton Haynes, Manu Bennett, Echo Kellum and Josh Segarra.