Move over, Damian Darhk. , but the real MVP is back on the scene, and he’s about to split his unique brand of camp villainy between Star City and Central City for the first time.
Yes, I’m talking about Malcolm Merlyn, the first and still the greatest Arrow villain. TV Line reports that John Barrowman, who’s been a regular on Arrow since the very beginning, back when it was one of the very best series on air, has signed a new contract to appear in the complete spectrum of CW superhero series from DC. That means we’ll be seeing Merlyn in Season 3 of The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow Season 2, in addition to Arrow Season 5.
It was reported back in May that Captain Cold’s death in the Legends season finale (my apologies). What’s interesting about this move toward increasing cross-show pollination is the way it brings the Berlantiverse (let’s stick with that one) much closer to the comic book model of switching characters between story arcs on a whim. In Greg Berlanti’s own words:
“What it really emulates to us is the comic books themselves, where there really are a cast of characters. In success, we hope to continue with other characters finding their way across all the shows.”
While The Flash and Legends already resemble comic books in terms of the lightning pacing of their storylines (if you’ll excuse the metaphor), and hit a similar tone of whimsy, Arrow has struggled (largely during Seasons 3 and 4) with eliminating filler episodes and hitting a darker tone that doesn’t descend into self-parody. At its worst, it’s just been boring, which is truly the cardinal sin for a superhero series.
Merlyn’s movement across the Berlantiverse also represents a major win for The Flash, which after two seasons of employing speedsters as its primary antagonist badly needs to recruit a villain with a completely different set of powers to Barry if it’s to avoid the fate of it’s big brother’s third season decline.
Tobias Church (previously named Anton in casting calls), as played Chad L. Coleman, , which begs the eternal question of whether Merlyn will decide to flirt with light or dark in the year ahead.
Time will tell whether the annual optimism in Arrow’s upcoming season manifests into something great or, ultimately, disappointment, but the binding of the Berlantiverse with Merlyn and Snart jumping ship as and when the story demands can only be a positive sign for The CW’s trio of DC superhero series (or quartet, now that Supergirl has joined the gang).
What havoc will Malcolm Merlyn wreak in Central City?
You are the Princess Shireen of the House Baratheon, and you are my daughter.