The mystery of Prometheus in Arrow added another wrinkle in last week’s episode, “Vigilante”: Artemis (Madison McLaughlin) is secretly working for him (or her!). While most fans are placing their bets on Oliver Queen’s (Stephen Amell) oldest and best friend Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) as the hooded supervillain, other suspects from the show’s long and historic five years haven’t been ruled out.
There are several confirmed notions regarding Season 5 and its main antagonist: 1) Oliver “created” Prometheus, 2) Prometheus knows about Oliver’s “List” of targets from Season 1, and 3) This season wraps up the show’s five years as a chapter, with an emphasis on returning to its first stories and ideas.
“Essentially the theme that we’re dealing with this year is legacy,” said Arrow producer Marc Guggenheim before Season 5 premiered. “As the season progresses, you’ll see that there are a lot of callbacks to Season 1. What we’re doing is we’re dramatizing Oliver’s desire to grow, move forward, and evolve, but this concept of legacy keeps threatening to pull him back to the early days.” Guggenheim also added that Oliver “bears a measure of responsibility” for Prometheus.
With these in mind, naming suspects is harder than it seems, as Arrow has included alternate timelines, parallel Earths, and even resurrection from death as concepts throughout its five seasons. Nobody is too unlikely. (It’s also worth noting that Tobias Chruch (Chad Coleman) revealed to Prometheus that Oliver is the Green Arrow, but what if Prometheus didn’t already know?)
Here are the most popular choices for Prometheus’s secret identity:
12. Laurel Lance
When Evelyn debuted in Arrow, she wanted to become Black Canary. Who wouldn’t want to work for the person they idolize? After “Vigilante,” some fans went hot for Laurel-as-Prometheus, but when you think about it more, the whole idea falls apart. Laurel was mad that Oliver was a killer, but killing to prove him wrong just isn’t a Laurel thing to do.
11. Yao Fei
A master martial artist and archer, Yao Fei (Byron Mann) was a former army general for the People’s Liberation Army of China who was forced to take the blame of a massacre he didn’t order. He was then imprisoned on Lian Yu, along with his daughter Shado (more on her later).
The first mentor for Oliver Queen to become the Green Arrow, fans are wondering if Yao Fei — who easily has the skills to become Prometheus — has turned his back on his ex-student. Although Yao Fei was killed, he could still return and blame Shado’s death on Oliver, just as Slade Wilson did in Season 2. (Also more on him later.)
Is he Prometheus? Pretty likely. Yao Fei as Prometheus would wrap up five years of storytelling rather cleanly, but any number of motivations Yao Fei might have to pursue Oliver feels sort of half-baked. Yao Fei was written off so early in Season 1 that it’s rather easy to have forgotten him, a role that should have been more prominent in the mythos.
Oliver’s first flashback love interest in the series, Shado (Celina Jade) was the daughter of Yao Fei who was also a formidable warrior herself. She was at the center of a love triangle between Oliver and Slade Wilson (Manu Bennet), and her death fueled Slade’s revenge plot in Season 2, unleashing criminals drugged with the serum “Mirakuru” to wreck havoc in Starling City.
Is she Prometheus? Unlikely. What reason would she have to hunt the Green Arrow? She has no stake in Star City, and if it’s personal revenge she seeks, then revenge for what? Oliver isn’t in the blame for Yao Fei’s death, and she didn’t love Slade, whom Oliver has imprisoned. Not only would Shado be a rehash of Season 2, but also, she wouldn’t make sense.
9. Slade Wilson
Slade was the second person who taught Oliver how to fight, and made sure he remembered. The man who would become Deathstroke was the main antagonist of Arrow Season 2, which is still the benchmark for all modern superhero TV. While Slade has the skills, it’d be disappointing if the show recycled a villain, even a popular one, that would only result in a cheap mystery.
Is he Prometheus? No way. Last known whereabouts of Slade is an A.R.G.U.S. facility back on Lian Yu, where he’s a prisoner. The sixth episode of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow hints he escapes and fathers a son, who goes on to take up daddy’s mantle as Deathstroke. But that was only a potential reality, one that has since been erased.
8. Robert Queen
Wouldn’t it be interesting if the man who set Oliver on the path to become a superhero became his greatest enemy? Like Yao Fei, Robert Queen (Jamey Sheridan) as Prometheus would wrap Arrow. If Prometheus targets Green Arrow through his List, who else would know about it but the man who gave it to him?
Is he Prometheus? No. Stopping this theory is that Robert Queen showed no fight experience in his short time on Arrow. And even with resurrection possible, who would bother plucking his body from the depths of the Pacific?
7. Roy Harper
The original protégé of Oliver Queen, Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) was a kid from the wrong side of the tracks who fell in love with Oliver’s sister Thea (Willa Holland). Injected with Mirakuru against his will, Roy has to be taught by Oliver to harness his abilities, eventually becoming Arsenal. In Season 3, Roy Harper left Starling City to begin a new life away from villains and vigilantes.
Is he Prometheus? Definitely not. Behind the scenes, Haynes stepped away from acting briefly for personal reasons before resuming the profession, signing on to play in an arc for Fox’s Scream Queens. In May, Haynes confirmed he will return to Arrow for a few episodes in Season 5, but later in August, the producers said Haynes’s time was restricted to Scream Queens.
6. Nyssa al Ghul
The daughter of Ra’s al Ghul and successor to his title, Nyssa (Katrina Law) disbanded the League of Assassins and restored Thea after her resurrection in the Lazarus Pit made her unstable. In her storied time on Arrow, she was Sara Lance’s vengeful lover, the reluctant wife of Oliver, and mentor to Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) before she was killed by Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough). She’s been MIA since Season 4’s “Canary Cry,” where Laurel’s father Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) begged her to bring her back, with Nyssa unable to do anything.
Is she Prometheus? Probably not. Although sporting the necessary skill set, she would have no reason to pursue the Green Arrow and seemed at peace with Laurel’s passing. But it is somewhat suspicious that Artemis made her series debut in the same episode we last saw Nyssa.
5. Malcolm Merlyn
Always the man with a plan, the conniving and manipulative Malcolm Merlyn was the Green Arrow’s first major arch-nemesis, Dark Archer, before becoming a reluctant ally with Oliver — and then an enemy again — against Ra’s al Ghul and Damien Darhk. Malcolm also carried the title Ra’s al Ghul in Season 4 before engaging with Nyssa in a civil war with the League of Assassins up for grabs. When the League disbanded, Malcolm joined with Damien Darhk before defecting once again when Damien became too unstable. Malcolm has since been absent throughout Season 5.
Is he Prometheus? Maybe, but let’s hope he isn’t. Malcolm became over-written in Season 4 to the extent that his role as the big bad of Season 5 would feel tired, even if his history on the show goes back to its beginnings. While Malcolm isn’t above adopting a new moniker, hopefully his role in the Legion of Doom on Legends of Tomorrow makes him too busy to retread old ground.
4. Ted Grant
Before Oliver put on the hood as the Arrow, ex-champion boxer Ted Grant (J.R. Ramirez) was the vigilante Wildcat, one of the earliest canonical superheroes in DC Comics. Rebooted into being the same age as Oliver and Laurel, Ted trained Laurel into the Black Canary after Sara died (for the second time) in Season 3.
Is he Prometheus? Nah. While he wasn’t an archer, Ted could have trained himself in the two years he’s been absent in Arrow. (J.R. Ramirez was cast in Power, forcing him to step away from what would have been a more significant role.) He might also be pissed after Laurel’s death, but that just doesn’t seem enough to make anyone a foe of the Green Arrow.
3. Moira Queen
For some reason, some fans think Moira Queen is Prometheus. Sorry, but no. Why would she fight her son? Is she mad that he tanked Queen Consolidated? Mad that he’s a bad mayor? (Remember, she was also a candidate at one point in time.) Nothing about her as Prometheus could make sense. Also, she’s dead.
Is she Prometheus? Come on.
2. Huntress/Helena Bertinelli
Another archer in Arrow (but with a crossbow), Helena (Jessica de Gouw) was the first vigilante partner of the Green Arrow before her bloodthirst proved too unwieldy for the Arrow to associate with. A recurring character in Season 1, she was arrested by Quentin in her final appearance, and hasn’t been seen since.
Is she Prometheus? Second to Tommy Merlyn theories is Helena/Huntress as Prometheus. A lot of fans are buying it: In Season 1, Oliver said he was “responsible” for Huntress, and she is a character who not only ties in back to Season 1, but also knows Oliver’s List. She might also begrudge Oliver for forcing her not to kill, even though he’s done it quite a lot himself. Training Artemis is a great way to exact revenge on Oliver, while Artemis could be willing since he failed to save her family back in Season 4. Believe it or not, Helena as Prometheus checks out.
The Russian gangster Kovar is Oliver’s nemesis in Season 5’s flashbacks to Russia. Oliver’s history in the Russian mafia is finally being explored after five years, and his final hurdle before he returns home to Star City is Kovar (Dolph Lundgren). Kovar has yet to demonstrate the same abilities that could make him Prometheus, but when it’s Dolph Lundgren, there’s no explaining necessary.
Is he Prometheus? He could be, especially if Oliver is “responsible” for Prometheus (depending how Oliver faces off with Kovar in the finale). He isn’t the popular choice by fans, but he could be the smart one.
Arrow airs Wednesdays on the CW.
Photos via The CW, Netflix