‘Arrow’s’ Barrowman Opens Up About Malcolm Merlyn

Malcolm Merlyn

Since the start of The CW’s Arrow, the character of Malcolm Merlyn has been complex, confusing and captivating. John Barrowman recently discussed his character and the evolution he has gone through during this current season.

Barrowman explained that Merlyn is really a misunderstood villain on the show and that his intentions are honest.

Malcolm has everyone’s best intentions at heart, although he might not go about what he does in the proper way. I would also argue that statement because everything that Malcolm Merlyn has done, if you go back and look at it, Oliver Queen has done it, too. Oliver has manipulated people. He’s held people hostage. He’s either killed or injured people to facilitate his own agenda or to help others. That’s exactly what Malcolm Merlyn does. However, Malcolm doesn’t have the team of people around him to make him think that it’s okay. So, that’s why I call him a misunderstood hero.

During this season of Arrow, Merlyn and his daughter Thea have been experiencing a strained relationship, but Barrowman assured fans that their relationship and storyline will continue to move forward.

“We just filmed something that moves it forward. I have to say, there were two big scenes in that episode and one of them was Malcolm saying, “I love you. Stay with me.” Then, the next scene was the same thing once again. I actually called the writers’ room and said, “Guys, if we want to move it forward, Malcolm has already proven his love. He got rid of his hand for this. He’s now moving into the Damien Darhk realm. He’s proven that he’s moving on, so why can’t he turn around to Thea and say in TV terms, ‘Shut your fucking mouth. If it wasn’t for me, you’d be…'” They were like, “Great idea.”

“Then they put it in, so that’s why that scene exists. I’m so pleased they did it because everybody loved it. Everyone was like, “It’s about time he told her off. She’s behaving like a little spoiled brat.” I didn’t write any of the dialogue — that credit all goes to the writers’ room — but they took the suggestion and did it. That’s one of the great things about working on the show. But, the relationship going forward is Malcolm still loves Thea. Of course he does, but he’s very POed at her. That’s all I can say.”

Barrowman was also asked about the ongoing cliff-hanger with Arrow, “who is in the grave?”

“I’m saying nothing. You are going to have to watch. We all didn’t know until recently. The storyline took us to a certain point and then all of a sudden, it was right in front of us on the page. We were all like, “Wow.”

Source: Comic Book Resources 

Chelsea Lewis

Chelsea Lewis

Chelsea Lewis, TV division, joined Heroic Hollywood in 2016. Prior to joining the team at Heroic, she worked for TheCelebrityCafe.com covering everything from music to...

  • Kiba Inu

    Malcolm’s actions have the unique distinction of being classified as either logical or batcrap crazy depending on which side of the Merlyn camp you’re on: Point- He destroyed the Glades. Counterpoint- He didn’t act alone. P- He used Thea to kill Sara. CP-Sara was there to kill Malcolm. P- He manipulated Oliver & team into trying to defeat R’as al Ghul. CP-When the initial plan failed, he stepped up to the plate and ultimately helped them, saving the key players. It goes back and forth.

    In all honesty, I would have preferred that Malcolm continue to play the role as he was in S04E09 “Dark Waters: An unconventional wildcard who was an unpredictable ally, protector of his daughter, and having a blast so long as he got to kill some bad guys and blow crap up. Some of his memorable quips like “Oh good, you’ve got your bondage outfit on” (to Laurel) were the reason I tuned in every week. Malcolm brought some much needed levity to an action show that seems to be sinking into romantic quicksand.

    The crux of the problem are lame villains like “Damien Darhk” and Larvan. None of them compare to the manipulative force of nature that is Malcolm Merlyn. Arrow writers had to pull his evil persona off the shelf, dust it off, and find a way to make him bad again. I can’t say that their tactic was entirely successful. We went from one episode where Oliver said “I owe him one” to another where he’s shaking his hand and thanking him. Then came an unforeseeable 180 and Oliver is suddenly vowing to kill him. Malcolm actually won the one-on-one sword fight against Nyssa and, by all rights, should have gotten the elixir then. Instead, there’s another sword fight (and a terribly choreographed one at that) and Oliver chops off his hand.

    Call me crazy, but I’d be pretty resentful against Oliver Queen for that, too.

    As for the inevitable Thea/Malcolm confrontation; I was pleased to see his patience finally fracture under the onslaught of “venomous spite” he’s gotten from his daughter lately. The only one who will really suffer here is Thea and it’s all because Oliver forgot one very important thing in the deadly world of being a superhero: You keep your friends close and your potential enemies even closer.

    I’m looking forward to the rise of The Dark Archer again.