Arrow Barrowman Season 5

Arrow's John Barrowman Now a Series Regular Across All CW/DC Shows

Malcolm Merlyn is going to be making all kinds of fresh mischief in all kinds of places (and times?), as the result of Arrow vet John Barrowman‘s new deal.

TVLine has learned exclusively that akin to the groundbreaking contract that Wentworth Miller segued into at the end of his single-season Legends of Tomorrow run, Barrowman will continue to appear on Arrow and maintain series regular status — but across all of the superhero shows executive-produced by Greg Berlanti, including The Flash and Legends.

“What it really emulates to us is the comic books themselves, where there really are a cast of characters,” Berlanti said in May, when Miller’s own deal was announced. “In success, we hope to continue with other characters finding their way across all the shows.”

Barrowman recurred on Arrow‘s first two seasons, including as Oliver’s primary Season 1 adversary, then was promoted to series regular starting with Season 3. During Season 4, he also appeared on The Flash (during the crossover that teed up the DC’s Legends of Tomorrow spinoff) and had a short arc on The CW’s Reign (as the Scottish clan leader Munro).

Want scoop on any of the above shows? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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  1. KayCeeCee says:

    Sweet deal!

  2. sarah t says:

    I like John B. but his character was overused and overplayed in Arrow, ESPECIALLY in S4. I was actually hoping they would reduce his role significantly. Give us a break a bit, let us MISS the character.

    • Bob says:

      Ya in season 2 and 3 maybe 3 he was really good but the character last season was in limbo like what was his purpose

    • Sarah says:

      @sarah t
      I’m with you.

    • Carrie says:

      I agree. No offense to the actor himself, but I was hoping they’d kill off his character. I feel like he should’ve been gone a while ago. I have no idea how he’s going to be a regular on all of those shows. I find it bizarre.

    • Larry says:

      You’re absolutely correct been overused if you ask me they ruin the character completely he was just popping up at will now remind you this is the guy that contribute to killing his best friend which was his son his father I’m talking about Arrow he contribute to his ex-girlfriend getting murder because he hypnotise his own daughter into doing it and he blew up half the city and yet he can just jump up and pop up whenever he wants not to mention that he got Arrow son kidnapped by Damian dark they just ruin this guy character completely

    • Ben says:

      Completely agree, he had no point in season 4, I was hoping that we would see less of him/the end of him too. But, this deal might be an improvement over him being a straight Arrow regular.

  3. abz says:

    Ugh, why? I can’t stand him anymore with his terrible acting. Seriously, his acting is Joe Morton on Scandal levels of bad and irritating for me. That and he’s such an awful character. I’ve accepted the fact that Arrow is long gone from it’s former glory, but I don’t want him ruining The Flash.

    • EJ says:

      I couldn’t agree more. He’s as mediocre an actor as it gets and the thoroughly obnoxious manner he gives off in interviews seeps into his “acting.” I don’t watch any of these shows so happy he won’t be appearing on any I do watch. My friends in the UK are thrilled he’s no longer on every other stupid quiz/reality/morning show over there.

    • ChrisGa says:

      Gotta agree with you; he’s overrated (just like Morton on Scandal). If there’s one character from Arrow that actually needed to go it was Malcolm.

  4. "A" says:

    Awesome AWESOME news !!!

  5. kate says:

    Perhaps we get some follow up on exactly what he did with the Vandal Savage ashes (but hope against hope we are totally done with Vandal and that damnit Barry won’t become a fairly common refrain among all the shows next season). I actually could see him bothering the people in National City a bit more than the Star City folks and the Legends people who basically roll their eyes at him and, well, Central City’s quasi bad guys have powers and I suspect that will more be Wentworth Miller’s primary stomping grounds.

    • msemmyjones says:

      Why? He’s not even from the same Earth as the National City we know. There is not any reason at all to have him show up on Supergirl.

      • Mary says:

        Supergirl being on a different Earth might change after the four series crossover, but this makes no mention of him being on Supergirl at all. That might also change though.

      • lrdslvrhnd says:

        Just because Supergirl isn’t from the same Earth, doesn’t mean Earth-S doesn’t have a Malcolm Merlyn.

      • Joe Fiore says:

        Supergirl will be set on the same Earth as the other three shows before the season is out — count on it. There will be a ‘Earth merge’ or a ‘mini-crisis’ or something, but National City’s days of being on a parallel Earth are soon coming to a close, I’m sure.

  6. coco says:

    But why? I don’t want him on The Flash.

  7. JP says:

    I really doubt they’re going to make it work this whole regular across DC shows for him and for Wentworth Miller…I just dont see it. They’ll end up being eventual guest star and thats it.

  8. Greg says:

    This is great news! I love Barrowman but Arrow hasn’t really known what to do with him for two seasons now. With this deal, he can pop in for a few episodes a season, and then bounce around the other shows. He could also act as the connective tissue to make the crossovers/timelines make more sense and line up better.

  9. Luis says:

    This might be a positive step forward for John. It feels like they are running out of ideas with Malcolm on “Arrow;” maybe having him interacting with characters on other CW shows will produce some fresh scenarios to take advantage of john’s talents

  10. msemmyjones says:

    Ugh, why? He hasn’t been relevant since Season One. What purpose could he possibly bring to Flash or Supergirl? That character ran its course and ran out its welcome a LONG time ago. This is a poor, poor plan.

    • Amanda says:

      Barry changed the timeline on “The Flash” so Malcolm could be completely different on that show like a lot of the characters will be. “Supergirl” takes place on a different Earth and “The Flash” confirmed everyone has doppelgangers on Supergirl’s Earth as well, but the writers also confirmed the “Legends” timeship can jump to other Earths as well.

  11. Donald says:

    They should have killed his character off after season 1. I love Barrowman but his character has long outlived his usefulness and his welcome. #Makearrowgreatagain

  12. Douglas from Brazil says:

    Funny that only gay actors working on those shows are getting this status across all shows.

  13. Barbara says:

    I like JB but I just didn’t see any further character potential for Malcolm. It just seemed like last season or two they really didn’t know what to do with him.

  14. JC1 says:

    Oh for the love of…. Whyyyyyyyyyyyy?!?
    I know I’m whining but I am so tired of Malcolm and the show and the characters being twisted and made into idiots to make him relevant. He should have died in season three. Oliver should have killed him or turned him over to Ra’s when he found out what he did to Sara and Thea, instead of being a giant idiot about it. Oliver should have killed him last season. THEA should have killed him last season when she found out he drugged her again! I seriously thought the season was building up to Thea killing him, and then…..nothing. Totally disappointed.
    All that ranting to say……nooooooo. I absolutely do not want more of Malcolm. At. All. Barrowman may be a great guy but Malcolm has absolutely become one of Arrow’s biggest issues. He needs to be gone. Like, yesterday. He’s become the Sylar of this show, a villain that the writers are so in love with that they can’t bear to get of, no matter how stupid it ends up making their characters look.

  15. Andrew Hass says:

    It makes sense to have a crossover villain and that gives a reason why there will be crossovers between the shows.However this doesn’t mean that the character of Malcolm will be used all the time.For example he could do something evil on one of the shows which causes repercussions on the other and results in crossovers.

  16. steven says:

    A series regular on 3 shows? How is that even possible?

    • johnhelvete says:

      It does sound logistically challenging. I would assume it only means he gets paid as a regular for episodes he does appear in and he (and Wentworth Miller) are guaranteed x number of episodes. I doubt that either actor will appear in 22 episodes per season.

      • Carla Krae says:

        A regular means there’s a minimum of 13 episodes in a 22/23 episode season. That’s all it means.

  17. Sarah says:

    Seriously? Don’t get me wrong, I really like John, but I was really hoping TPTB would either kill Malcolm off or reduce his role in Season 5.

  18. coco says:

    meant as no disrespect to john, but really, no one wants merlyn as a regular on all those shows.

  19. Vince says:

    Including Supergirl?

  20. Mo says:

    So that’s how they’re going to make Arrow great again: by making other shows as bad as Arrow.

  21. Are they going to make every actor from the 4 shows have this same contract, and instead of 4 different shows, we have a 4-nights-a-week DC soap – ‘on tonights episode Green Arrow and The Flash fight it out over Felicity, but they find out she has an evil twin,who kidnapped and replaced her 6 months earlier!!’ Names for the show, anyone….

  22. JJ says:

    I hate Malcolm Meryln, I don’t want him to take up screen time on other dc shows. Why is this needed??

  23. Compeer says:

    So what’s he gonna do on supergirl or on legends?

  24. Marc says:

    I admire John Barrowman as an actor, but the Malcolm Merlin character is beyond aggravating and only makes the Arrow team look even more inept and hypocritical because of this pointless insistence on keeping him around. I’m sick of his twisted relationship with Thea, I’m sick of Oliver’s ‘reasons’ for not offing him, and I’m sick of the writers’ ridiculously contrived and asinine explanation for keeping his character around. Oy Vey

  25. Coast Ash says:

    Does this include Supergirl too?

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      The contract covers any Berlanti-produced CW/DC series. The exact ones he actually, eventually appears on is, of course, “TBD.”

  26. parttime nerd says:

    Cool, more JB and Malcolm is always good. As long as he has a better storyline in S5 of Arrow than ins S4, I like that. He had no real storyline which was sad, John didn’t like that either, so he negotiated that. Good for him. I think it is logistically not really possible to be a real “regular” in Flash or Legends, while being one in Arrow, plus, John is doing a lot of other things, too. So he will probably appear in some eps of both shows – I can imagine some interestings things with that , so let’s see how this will play out.

  27. JJ says:

    Why did they give him this deal? Malcolm has no purpose on Arrow, and now they’re gonna force him on other dc shows? Dumb.

  28. Azerty says:

    It is probably only for the Flashpoint episodes in Flash and past (or I would prefer) future Malcolm in Legends. I don’t see the “current” Malcolm interact with someone else than Team Arrow.

  29. Cee says:

    Cautiously optimistic, hopefully this will mean he’ll have less time with Thea and Oliver, avoiding the elephant in the room (why don’t you make him take responsibility for his actions, will they sit and pout the next time he does something atrocious or realize that they are now just as liable – how many times does it take for you to learn that lesson?) and allow him to be the selfish antagonist he is without all the redemption/”I’m doing this out of love”/”Because I’m your Father” bs thats been dragging his character down for 2 seasons now. Make him evil or get rid of him. I mean we get it, he’s a dad, he can be a dad in the custody of ARGUS too. Make him a threatening villain that isn’t justifying his evilness behind fatherhood or get rid of him.

  30. So we’re going to be seeing him on Supergirl too? Damn John I love your sweet ass now

  31. Lizzie says:

    OMG WHY? I love JB but Malcolm has outstayed his welcome. He’s not even bad anymore, he’s just Thea’s annoying dad who messes things up. So dumb.

  32. rahajicho says:

    No! I know Sara is alive and “well” right now, but Merlyn never paid for arranging her murder. He should be locked up on Lian Yu, not traipsing around the Arrowverse.

  33. tarotx says:

    Malcolm had Sara killed and played part in Laurel’s death. I’m hoping Sara remembers that and this is dealt with and not ignored to redeem Malcolm.

  34. King says:

    Uh WHY??? Arrow has become bad because of Malcolm and now they are bringing him to all DC shows?

  35. PS1972 says:

    Good news, maybe this can get several of these series cancelled for more seasons so the tv companies can put there money in something worth watching

  36. Alvaro says:

    Seriously? This is the most unnecessary (and annoying) character of the whole arrowverse. I was hoping for him to go away. Just bring back Katie Cassidy.

  37. It astounds me how many people aren’t happy about this news in a universe where villains are in short supply. If you hate Merlyn, then he did his job as a villain and it’s time to spread his unique brand of chaos around to the other shows. Say what you will, but MM is a master strategist and manipulator. He could cause some major havoc if he wasn’t always held down by Thea or Oliver. Arrow has been pretty much made a lost cause for serious story arcs thanks to the writers (and that Olicity BS), so I’m glad to read that Barrowman managed to get that albatross off his neck. He’s the only reason I watched Arrow. Now I’ll start to watch the others. Good news all around!

  38. Kelli Galli says:

    I’ve met John Barrowman twice and he’s just as hilarious in real life, but much more high energy. If you’ve never seen him at a comic-con type event, it’s a must. He does Q&A’s that are hilarious. The Audience was crying laughing. He took a picture with my son and was so nice to him. I will happy to see more of him.

  39. peterwdawson says:

    There goes any hope of the character ever gettling his much deserved comeuppance. Ugh.

  40. BeckyBoo says:

    Oh thank goodness, hopefully this downsizes his appearances on Arrow significantly in s5. His character has been surplus to requirements since season 1 finale, and it’s obvious they only keep him around because they like Barrowman. Now the other shows can share the unnecessary load. Enjoy!

  41. Rick Katze says:

    Glad that Barrowman signed a new contract. Now he needs to be used and not just for minor littleactio.

  42. lrdslvrhnd says:

    I initially read that as being a regular on all CW shows, which would be kind of fun.

  43. kath says:

    John Barrowman can bring the camp but the character of Malcolm should have been done on Arrow in season 2. Season 3 was twisted out of shape to write in Malcolm and he was over-used by season 4. Oliver “I can’t kill Malcolm because he’s Thea’s father” was a stupid as “I can’t tell Felicity about William because Samantha won’t let me”.

    This really seems to be a case of the producers loving a character more than the audience does. Any chance Sara can kill him when he shows up on Legends of Tomorrow? It would have saved Constantine a trip.

  44. Mare says:

    Great news! Love John!

  45. Debbie says:

    Actually, this is practical and very prudent. It means that both actors could be used in linking crossover stories and each show’s budget will be charged with a portion of the contract, making it more affordable. It also promises that the actor will be available when needed and not subject to availability. Kudos to Barrowman and Miller for inking such deals.

    • Carla Krae says:


    • nell says:

      then they shouldn’t keep throwing the word “series regular” around. I feel like most shows overuse that phrase nowadays.
      To me, this news seems more like they have no idea what to do with Malcom anymore but at the same time they still want Barrowman around when needed. So instead, they should be saying “recurring guest star” (same with Wentworth Miller).

      • Ben says:

        These things aren’t just words used to express how often they will appear. They are defined by the contract. They will be paying a fixed amount for a full year’s work, instead of a fixed amount per episode in which he appears.

  46. J Frost says:

    As a Scot myself I find this news nauseating. John Barrowman is one of the most overrated ‘talents’ out there and I thought we were rid of him in Scotland but he stills as a home here and I believe and pops up on telly! Good luck on the deal – I hope it’s successful so you in America can keep him!!!

  47. kirads09 says:

    “In all kinds of places (and times?)” ♥ I don’t watch the shows on CW (maybe I should start?) but he will always be my Captain Jack and glad he is finding continued success.

  48. stacy030 says:

    Hm. Well, I hope this means we Weill see Snart $ Malcolm interact sometime. That would be fun.

  49. Misti says:

    So that WAS him on Reign! Was he credited? ‘Cause I swear I was debating with myself about it, since it sounded like him, and kind of looked like him, but I didn’t see his name anywhere!

    Anyway… I agree with others about this deal… I adore John, but I’m really really tired of Merlyn. So I hope they can somehow refresh the character with whatever they’re doing in this shared universe.

  50. nell says:

    great, i was hoping we were done with Thea getting mad at her father storylines.