Arrow's Stephen Amell on the 'Most Nefarious' Malcolm Merlyn, Meeting the Real Deathstroke

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VendettaThis week on The CW’s Arrow (Wednesday, 8/7c), Oliver will have his hands full with his badass new lady friend, Helena/The Huntress — but make no mistake, his biggest headaches are yet to come.

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Stephen Amell, who plays the freshman hit’s titular vigilante and his not-so-mild-mannered alter ego, likens this week’s “really cool” outing to a movie, saying, “It’s like nothing that we’ve had so far on the show visually.” And on the action front, Oliver and Helena “get right into it,” now that they’re privy to each other’s secret identities.

“She and I had started smooching, and we pick up not right where we left off but a short time after,” Amell laughs. “I’m trying to show her a different way [of exacting justice], but she is resisting. And she vacillates throughout the entire episode between trying my way and just being too hellbent on revenge.”

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Last week’s Arrow also featured another “unmasking “of sorts, revealing that the Well-Dressed Man who’s been taking meetings with Oliver’s mother Moira is Malcolm Merlyn Arrow_Merlyns– aka the father of Oliver’s best bud Tommy.

“It makes sense now, right?” Amell asks. “I don’t think anyone guessed it, but the second you see them together, it’s like, ‘Of course!’”

The question now becomes: Will Malcolm (played by John Barrowman) evolve into the infamous Merlyn of DC Comics lore, and thus be positioned as Arrow’s archenemy? Or is that his son’s fate?

“We start off in the pilot with Tommy being … a little bit suspicious [of Oliver], and we haven’t seen that [since],” Amell notes. “And one of the things I like about this episode is… if he were eventually going down a darker path, this is a nice way to sort of push a character in one direction.”

As for the well-dressed Malcolm himself, “He’s certainly the most nefarious character we’ve met so far,” Amell assures. “We don’t know a ton about him, just that whatever that symbol means in [Robert Queen's] book, and however that list was constructed, he’s not necessarily behind it but he’s the closest to the center we’ve gotten.

“He’s obviously the biggest threat that Oliver has,” Amell continues, “which is ironic, because they’ve never come together. So far.”

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Also on the horizon for Oliver is a flashback (at least…) to his first meeting on the island with Slade WilsonArrow_Deathstroke_Manu aka the man who would become the masked assassin Deathstroke. Filling the ominous role is Manu Bennett (aka Crixus of Starz’s Spartacus series).

“It’s nice to know who’s playing Deathstroke — but it’s not necessarily what you think,” teases Amell, who quickly spotted the dummy name used in the script — “Isaac Holloway” — then confirmed the truth with EP Marc Guggenheim. “I texted Marc and go, ‘Um… It’s Slade Wilson, isn’t it?’ And he’s like, ‘Oh yeah,’” the actor shares with comic-book fan enthusiasm. “They told me about this idea that they had sometime around Episode 3, so I’m glad we’re sticking to those plans.”

Having auditioned to replace the late Andy Whitfield as Spartacus opposite Bennett in 2010, Amell promises that Oliver’s first encounters with Slade Wilson will be “intense.” (Whether or not the CW series sticks with this backstory, per DC canon, Slade was a genetically engineered “supersoldier” for the United States army.)

“He’s meeting me on the island when I’m far less capable, so us ‘mixing it up’ might be a nice way to put it,” Amell previews. “More like ‘beating down’!”

Want more scoop on Arrow, or any other show? Email and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Comments (17)

  • I’m guessing that the whole Merlyn thing will play out like in Raimi’s Spider-Man movies. Somehow Malcolm will die because of Oliver (killed, accidental death, whatever) and Tommy finds out Oliver is the Green Arrow and is going to try to avenge his dad by killing Oliver and becoming Merlyn. Most likely this will happen in the season finale. Just my two cents.

    Comment by AJ – December 5, 2012 07:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • my thoughts as well, although i dont think he will be gone by the end of this season because its john barrowman and i doubt they would want to close the door on him that soon

      Comment by Alan – December 5, 2012 12:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This show is amazing! So hooked to it! I just wish Stephen Amell can show a few more facial expressions! I also like that they are not doing supernatul thing. Its different and fresh.

    Comment by shuayb – December 5, 2012 07:19 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I still want Black Canary.

    Comment by jake – December 5, 2012 07:26 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Given how Laurel here is Lana Lang with a law degree, you may have to wait five seasons.

      Comment by Amit – December 5, 2012 07:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I’d like them to adapt the attack on Laurel from Longbow Hunters, and make it so that the trauma awakens her latent metahuman ability. She should be the first meta the show introduces (rather, since she already is, she should be the first one who demonstrates her ability).

        Comment by Michael Sacal – December 5, 2012 08:38 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I don’t think anyone can be worse than Lana Lang. At least Laurel isn’t so innocent.

        Comment by Nelly – December 5, 2012 04:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • it wont happen instantly, this is oliver’s story first and foremost so the focus must be on him. we have had the earliest stages of the groundwork for her eventual transformation. i expect her father to be killed off sometime in season 2 and for that to push her into the hero business

      Comment by Alan – December 5, 2012 12:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • i agree whole heartedly, there is no Green Arrow without Black Canary.

      Comment by Britany Smith – December 10, 2012 03:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • actually yes there was for many, many years its only in the last 30 or so that they’ve been associated. just be patient, this is oliver’s show first and foremost and they need to focus on him and give him the development he deserves first

        Comment by Alan – December 10, 2012 03:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love this show, it is the best new show at least in my opinion!

    Comment by sarah – December 5, 2012 09:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am glad they didn’t make this all sappy etc. I like the darkness of it…Very well done IMO.

    Comment by jake – December 5, 2012 10:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Me too. I love that it’s very dark.

      Comment by Nelly – December 5, 2012 04:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i love this show! it’s really so good and i’m glad it’s kicking ass in viewers. i’m not a big fan of the actress who plays laurel. and i don’t really see a lot of chemistry between Ollie and her. i know she’s endgame, but still.

    Comment by rachelle – December 5, 2012 12:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • nice to see an actor who is so enthusiastic about his shows, in all the interviews ive read he comes across as the shows number one fan

    Comment by Alan – December 5, 2012 12:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Been co firmed that black canary and arrow fight together in season 1 so relax people!!!!!

    Comment by Kevin – December 5, 2012 08:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • And yes Lana sucked as a bad girl lol

    Comment by Kevin – December 5, 2012 08:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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