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Arrow: Stephen Amell teases return of John Barrowman's Dark Archer in final season

By Josh Weiss
John Barrowman Dark Archer

According to Stephen Amell, the final season of Arrow will be pulling out all the stops, including the return of Malcolm Merlyn/Dark Archer played by Torchwood's John Barrowman. The series' star let this slip during an appearance at Fan Expo Boston where he was asked if he would once again deliver a birthday cake to Barrowman while wearing a skimpy bathing suit; this is something Amell actually did prior to the Merlyn actor's 50th birthday in 2017.

"It's part of the deal, every 10 years I put on a tiny suit and I deliver John Barrowman a birthday cake," reportedly Amell said (via "He's back in the show in Season 8, and that was actually a rider that he put into his contract, so..."

Created by Mike Friedrich, Neal Adams, and Dick Dillin in the comics, Malcolm Merlyn (real name: Arthur King; both of his titles are a cheeky nod to Arthurian legend) served as the show's main antagonist in the very first season. Aside from being an affluent tycoon, Merlyn — who appeared on Legends of Tomorrow and in the Elseworlds crossover as well — is also a deadly assassin with archery skills to rival those of Oliver Queen. In the Season 5 finale, however, he sacrificed himself to save the life of his daughter (and Oliver's sister), Thea. That said, the topic of the Lazarus Pits (often associated with Ra's al Ghul) was broached in the following season, which means Merlyn can most certainly come back to life. There's also the prospect of a flashback, or alt-universe version of Merlyn to consider. In 2016, Barrowman co-wrote a comic about his character's origin story with his sister, Carole E. Barrowman.

John Barrowman Dark Archer

"What they've done with this final season is really cool," Amell added. "It's like nothing you guys have ever seen. Every episode that comes out, it’s like 'Wait a minute, what? It's happening what and where and how? Ok, that's cool. Let's do it!'"

The eighth and final season of Arrow premieres on The CW Tuesday, Oct. 15. The show's last-ever episodes will bleed into the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, which finds Kevin Conroy playing a live-action Batman for the very first time.