The parade of DC comic villains and impressive cameos in Arrow continues in the upcoming midseason premiere with former Firefly and Serenity co-star Sean Maher playing a not so familiar kind of role in a not so familiar way.

News about Maher’s upcoming appearance on the DC superhero show as Shrapnel/Mark Scheffer – a killer with a penchant for explosives who has it in for Sebastian Blood – has been known for months. However, with a synopsis now in hand, it seems that the Shrapnel’s mutation and backstory might not make the jump to the small screen along with the character.

Here’s that synopsis:

Oliver must tackle a new threat to the city when bombs start to go off in Starling City. Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) discovers the person setting them off is Mark Sheffner (guest star Sean Maher), a man who goes by the nickname Shrapnel. Arrow discovers Shrapnel’s next target is Sebastian Blood’s (guest star Kevin Alejandro) “Unity Rally” and tries to talk the alderman out of hosting it, but he refuses. Arrow sets off to stop the bombing, but Shrapnel tricks him and traps him in a bomb-laced antique store where he is unable to move without setting off the device.

While Felicity helps Oliver, Diggle (David Ramsey) races to the plaza to find the bomb before it goes off. Meanwhile, Roy (Colton Haynes) continues to hide his new strength from Thea (Willa Holland) but, after she witnesses his super strength in action at the rally, she demands answers. Laurel’s (Katie Cassidy) suspicions about Sebastian grow stronger once she learns that he grew up with Cyrus Gold, the man who killed Lance’s (Paul Blackthorne) partner. After Donner (guest Star Dylan Bruce) refuses to help her investigate, she turns to Arrow (Stephen Amell) for help. Rob Hardy directed the episode written by Jake Coburn & Keto Shimizu.

In between the pages, Shrapnel is an assassin who is composed of projectile pieces of metal – or shrapnel (hence the name) – but allowing the character to assume an appearance quite so fantastical would surely conflict with the Arrow producer’s stated intentions to have audiences view characters through a “grounding lens.” Still, with Maher in the role and an open question about why he is targeting Sebastian Blood in the air, maybe there is hope that the writers will fully explore Shrapnel’s motivations and affinity for making things go boom.

For a mostly minor character like Shrapnel, that might be asking for too much, but it would surely be a nice consolation prize for Shrapnel fans if Arrow producers do indeed keep the “super” part of the character’s villainy at bay.

Are you looking forward to the return of Arrow next month?

The Arrow midseason premiere airs January 15th @8pm on The CW.

Source: CBM, CBR & THR