Malcolm Merlyn Will Not Return to 'Arrow' Next Year

The CW

After five consecutive years in the Arrowverse, Malcolm Merlyn is taking a break. Over the weekend at Planet Comicon in Kansas City, actor John Barrowman told the live audience during his Q&A panel that he will not return for the 2017-2018 season of either Arrow or Legends of Tomorrow on The CW.

There isn’t any video of Barrowman’s Q&A at Planet Comiccon, but Twitter user @Pilarcita, who was in attendance and live-tweeted it, said Barrowman’s reasoning is that Malcolm Merlyn “died” in the musical crossover of The Flash and Supergirl. The “rules” in this episode stated that, should anyone die in Music Meister’s reality, they would die in the real world too. Malcolm Merlyn was shot in an old school gangster shoot out, but the continuity is unclear given that Merlyn was, at the same time, participating as a member of the Legion of Doom in Season 2 of Legends of Tomorrow.

Last year, Barrowman signed a flexible contract that would allow him to appear in any DC TV show. Barrowman’s contract was somewhat similar to that of Wentworth Miller and Katie Cassidy, both of whom played dead characters but returned in the form of flashbacks, evil doubles, computer holograms, and even “old versions” of themselves from previous timelines. It is unknown if Barrowman’s time away will be permanent or only for the upcoming season.

Prior to Arrow, John Barrowman played Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who and its spin-off series Torchwood. Rumors of a Torchwood revival are frequent, and Barrowman has been a vocal champion about the show’s possible return. But there currently are no official plans for a live-action Torchwood revival, at least not any that fans are aware of.

Arrow airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on The CW.