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Arrow EP Wendy Mericle Addresses Prometheus' Identity & Motivations

SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for “Fighting Fire With Fire,” the latest episode of “Arrow.”

The jig is up! The news is out! District Attorney Adrian Chase has just been revealed as Prometheus. In "Fighting Fire With Fire," the latest episode of "Arrow," Prometheus unmasked himself on screen, only to reveal Chase underneath.

In the wake of this stunning reveal, executive producer Wendy Mericle spoke to CBR and other reporters about what's in store for Team Arrow now that Prometheus' identity is out in the open. She addressed why she and the other showrunners made Chase Prometheus instead of Vigilante, why those chose now to make this reveal, what drives Chase to torture Oliver Queen and more.

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Why make Chase Prometheus instead of Vigilante?

I think one of the reasons we did that was because everyone would be thinking, "Of course he's Vigilante!" Adrian Chase is Vigilante in the comic books, as you pointed out, and we thought it would be a really fun sort of twist to do what we've always done on the show, which is to take the comic book mythology and turn it on its head and see what kind of story we could mine from a surprise like that. It was also just something different for this season. We wanted to change up how we introduced the big bad and change up when we did it and how we did it. Hopefully, we succeeded in that this year.

Prometheus

Why did you choose now to reveal Prometheus' identity?

It's sort of a two-part answer. One, we always knew that Adrian Chase -- and Josh Segarra playing him -- was our big bad. We always knew -- from the beginning and our very first discussions, which began about a year ago -- that's what we wanted him to be and that's how we wanted to build it. I think, in terms of the timing of this specific episode, we had to play around with that a little bit more. There are certain moments in the season where you obviously want to build to. We could have done it in [season] 5 [episode] 9, we could have done it a little later in [season] 5 [episode] 18, but I think as much as possible we try to let the stories dictate where these big reveals happen, and it just felt right here and it felt right also to do it in the middle of an episode. That, also, I think played against expectations in a good way.

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When will Team Arrow find out about Prometheus? What will their reaction be like?

I think that's half the fun of it! In the look back, when Oliver and the team do find out, which will happen later in the season -- obviously it will happen sometime after this episode and before the finale -- but I think one of the fun parts about what we've done is to really allow us to live with that reveal for a while and seeing the characters not knowing what their lives are like, still continuing to interact with Adrian Chase in City Hall and elsewhere without knowing his real identity. We really liked the idea in the story, and we're going to play with that for a little while before we let Oliver and the team find out.

Will Oliver throwing Chase under the bus for the cover up change the way they interact at City Hall?

I think, in [season] 5 [episode] 14, we see him basically acknowledging that he and Adrian colluded, but I think what's interesting about that episode is that -- ultimately -- Oliver doesn't throw Adrian under the bus. He takes it on the chin and he throws the Green Arrow under the bus. One of the things we liked about what we built and again just in the look back is that Adrian is on his side, and the bond between them has grown really strong. Even though he does admit and sort of out Adrian as being responsible in [season] 5 [episode] 14, and with respect to everything that had gone on with the evidence about Detective Malone's death and whatnot, ultimately the bond between them is really strong, which we will hope will create a much bigger impact on Oliver when he finds out down the road, who Adrian really is and that this is the guy that's been really messing with him all season.

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Was Lance ever considered for Prometheus?

We wanted to go back to Season 1. We wanted someone with the roots of Oliver's mission and the consequences of everything he's done. Absolutely, we had that in mind that Prometheus would come back and he would start to mess with the people closest to Oliver. You know, the focus, I think, after that episode with Lance really became much more specific to Oliver himself, but -- as we move through the season, and you'll see as we head towards the finale -- that Prometheus and Chase are going to go after (he's obviously focused on Oliver) but he's also going to be focused, like we said with Lance, on some of the people he loves the most as well.

Will we gain any new sympathy for Prometheus now that we know who he is?

I hope so! I mean, our plan always is that we want... everyone to look back and go, "Oh my gosh! There were little hints here along the way!" On the show, historically, we've always striven to have the villain be the hero of their own story and to really get underneath the reasons why they are what they are and they do what they do. Adrian Chase is no exception. We'll get a lot more sense going forward of why he's become so evil, why he's so bent on revenge. The thing that's the most interesting about it for us is just how close those parallels are with Oliver's own story, and we really did want to this season build a villain that would be a dark mirror for Oliver in the tradition of the comic books and really honoring that and also honoring Oliver's past on the show and -- like I said -- specifically the first season, seeing what it was like going through the loss… they both suffered losses, and they both answer those losses in very different ways.

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Are we going to see any flashbacks to Adrian's origin?

We don't have any... not in that specific a format, in terms of the flashbacks. We've not been using them to the same extent that we have in previous seasons, and I think we're going to get that story and get that understanding actually in the present day story. We did toy with that, because it's a really great story idea, it's something we definitely thought about, but we ultimately felt that we could get what we needed to get out of his character and an understanding of his character in the present day story, specifically with his interactions with Oliver.

Can you preview what will happen after Prometheus kidnaps Susan?

We really wanted to build him up as someone who is really good at being ten steps ahead of Oliver, really being psychological in the way that he manipulates him and one of the ways he does that is by going after the people that Oliver cares about. We've seen villains do that in the past, but this year Adrian does it in a way that's a little bit more specific. Not to take any wind out of the sails of the story, but his goal is very clear. He really has no drive to kill Oliver. It's purely based on torture. In taking Susan, he rightfully gets that. That is where we're headed. For how long, I can't tell you, but it's all part and parcel of this drive to break Oliver down psychologically as opposed to physically, which we've seen Slade and Merlyn and everybody else do -- take him on hand-to-hand. This is much more of a mental game.

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What was Chase's motivation for saving Dig?

There is more to the storyline, in the sense that -- as we move toward the finale -- the fact that he did that and that he did it… it was a way for him to get closer to Oliver. Again, like I was just saying, this is part of his psychological torture of Oliver. The further he gets into Oliver's head, the closer he gets to gaining his confidence and gaining his trust and, obviously, one of the ways to do that is by gaining the trust and confidence of people that Oliver cares about. So it was definitely part of his long term game, and those chickens will definitely come home to roost by the end of the season.

What are the advantages of creating an original villain? What are the challenges?

In the past, we've taken characters from the comic books, and Damien Darhk is a good example of somebody who is well known in the comic books, and we took and made -- you know, Neal McDonough does not in any way resemble the character that we found in the comic books. So I think we've always sort of built them from the ground up in some ways, but -- by the same token -- we weren't going straight for the Prometheus character that's in the comic books. I mean, Adrian Chase obviously doesn't resemble that character in any way, so part of the fun of that is that you can draw on other sources of inspiration.

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One of the things we talked a lot about was "American Psycho." We talked about who are the big manipulators like Hannibal Lecter and Kevin Spacey's character in "The Usual Suspects" and also in "Se7en." We talk about those types of villains and how to bring that type of element into the series, because we were looking for something different to do in Season 5, a way to change it up and make it different... You know, the comic book characters are great, and they usually do end up in sort of a physical duel, but we really want this to be different and have Adrian Chase and Prometheus be somebody manipulating and torturing Oliver more psychologically than anything else.

Airing Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, “Arrow” stars Stephen Amell, Emily Bett Rickards, David Ramsey, Willa Holland, Paul Blackthorne and Echo Kellum.

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