It’s been nearly five weeks since Arrow returned to our screens, bringing with it a new team, new focus, and a new big bad for Oliver and his friends to battle. The first four episodes of the fifth season have focused primarily on Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) struggles with his new team, especially with the unpredictable Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez) and the only super-powered team member, Ragman (Joe Dinicol). Thus far, there has been lots of training, character development, and focus on the new crime boss in town, Tobias Church (Chad L. Coleman).
However, there’s a second, bigger bad that we have to look forward to this season: Prometheus. Thus far, we haven’t seen too much of the latest dark archer to descend on Star City, but we have seen enough to start spinning some fan theories about who could be hiding under that hood. We know that Prometheus has a very personal grudge against Oliver Queen, and that there is a connection there to Oliver’s past. Back in August, Executive Producer Wendy Mericle told IGN that “He has a very personal grudge and axe to grind with Oliver and he's going to come at him in a really interesting, sociopathic kind of way”.
Prometheus has also been described as having no magical powers, and being part of the overarching theme for season: bringing things full circle. But what might this mean for the villain’s identity?
Comic Book Origins
There is a Prometheus character in the comics, albeit a very minor one. The original DC Prometheus is a foe to the Justice League - a warped Batman-esque figure. Like the Dark Knight, Prometheus is an orphan who watched as his parents were gunned down in front of his eyes. Prometheus also spent years travelling the world and training in different deadly arts. Intelligent, wealthy, multi-lingual and used to rubbing shoulders with the social elite, the main difference between Prometheus and Bruce Wayne lies in his motivation. The son of criminals, rather than socialites, Prometheus hates the police force and works against the heroes of the world to dominate, not to help.
Although there are some similarities between this Prometheus and the one we will see in Arrow, the two characters have been confirmed as entirely separate. The two certainly bear no physical resemblance, with the original Prometheus wearing an armored suit and visor and the new version of the character wearing a costume very similar to Green Arrow’s. At San Diego Comic Con, Executive Producer Mark Guggenheim described their Prometheus as a new character, explaining, “We call him Prometheus [but] it’s not the Grant Morrison/Howard Porter character.” It’s not unusual for The CW shows to use the name of a minor character, but give them an entirely new look, personality and backstory. What this means is that there is no comic book history to help us guess who might be under that hood – all we have to go on is his grudge against Oliver.
When it comes to grudges, there is one name from the Arrowverse that leaps to mind – Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett). The Green Arrow’s first major enemy in the series, Slade certainly has plenty of reason to hate Oliver. Originally friends when they met on Lian Yu, Slade swore revenge on Oliver for his part in the death of Shado (Celina Jade). Over the past four years, Slade has killed Oliver’s mother, tried to kill his sister, and attacked him over and over. Last seen imprisoned back on the island, it would easily be possible for Slade to escape and come after Oliver yet again. Slade as Prometheus also fits neatly with the idea of coming full circle this season, bringing Oliver back up against his first real enemy.
Despite this, we’re not quite sure that Deathstroke is likely to be the man behind the mask. We do know that Deathstroke is returning this year for the 100th episode (although this could potentially also be Grant Wilson, the Deathstroke of the future), and having Manu Bennett return as both Deathstroke and Prometheus seems just a little bit too convoluted. While many fans would love to see Deathstroke back in action, it makes more sense for him to return as Deathstroke, not as an entirely different villain.
Olicity fans were heartbroken this season to find Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) with a new boyfriend – Billy Malone (Tyler Ritter). Malone is a detective for the Star City Police Department, but beyond that we know almost nothing about him. For those who want to see Oliver and Felicity back together again, it’s tempting to paint Billy as the new villain of the show, but there is more to this theory than that. Billy appears to be new to Star City, and in the Arrow-verse, the new guy in town is often the new bad guy in town. Billy may also be using Felicity to get to Oliver – if Prometheus knows who Oliver is, he also knows enough about him to realize how much he loves Felicity. Targeting her as a way to hurt him would be a plausible approach, and could give him access to information about Team Arrow.
However, this theory is pretty thin, and we’re not quite buying it. For one thing, Billy has so far seemed eager to help the Green Arrow. He helped them run tests on fabric taken from Ragman’s suit (before Ragman became an official ‘good guy’), and hasn’t given any hints of being secretly evil. His relationship with Felicity could be purely innocent, and his desire to meet her friends a normal part of that. We’re also stumped as to what the old grudge could be, as no history between Billy and Oliver has ever been mentioned.
Since Tommy Merlyn's (Colin Donnell) death in the season 1 finale, fans have been hoping that he could make a return. There are multiple ways in which Tommy could be brought back to life to become Prometheus, with the two most likely being either the Lazarus Pit (before it was destroyed) or Flashpoint. Tommy certainly has reason to bear a grudge against Oliver, and if his return is Flashpoint-based, their history could have been changed to create more enmity between these two one-time friends. This would also feed into the ‘full circle’ hints that we’ve had, as well as creating an interesting dynamic between Prometheus, Green Arrow, and Speedy (who is also Tommy’s sister).
The big problem with the possibility of Tommy Merlyn returning as Prometheus is a scheduling issue. Donnell is currently appearing on Chicago Med as a season regular, and it seems unlikely that he would be able to fit in filming in both Chicago and Vancouver at the same time. If this scheduling conflict were worked out, however, Tommy would make a perfect Prometheus (and potentially bring Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) back in play as well.
Another character who is new to the show (and therefore immediately suspicious) is Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra). The new Star City DA, Chase works with Oliver in his capacity as Mayor, and most comic book fans recognize his name as the alter-ego of the Vigilante. Despite this potential future as a superhero and friend to Oliver Queen, there is a possibility that Chase could also be Prometheus. Comic-book Vigilante is wracked with guilt, not always mentally stable, and eventually suicidal. This could become an Arrow character whose alter-ego has a split personality – both as the friend Vigilante, and the foe Prometheus. It’s also possible that Chase will not become Vigilante at all, but that the writers chose to use this name to throw fans off the Prometheus scent. Chase fits with the Arrowverse traditions of both new-guy-to-bad-guy and revealing that an ally is actually an enemy. Finally, we know that Chase has at least one reason to hate Oliver – the mayor once stole Chase’s girlfriend, back in his playboy days.
Chase seems to be the most likely candidate for the Prometheus title at the moment: he’s getting lots of screen time, he has already revealed a dislike of vigilantes (especially Wild Dog, who interfered with his case against Derek Sampson), and we know that he has a history with Oliver (and there may be more to that than has been revealed so far). Chase has also claimed that he “doesn’t hold grudges,” and if that’s not a hint we don’t know what is!
There are still more possibilities for Prometheus, of course. Malcolm Merlyn (who has been a dark archer once before) is another possibility, as is Human Target (Wil Traval) who appears in this week’s episode, a member of the Bratva (to link to this season’s flashbacks), or even a Flashpoint-resurrected Robert Queen. We’re guessing that the answer won’t be revealed any time soon, either, so we’ll just have to keep watching to find out.
Arrow continues next Wednesday with ‘Human Target’ @8pm on The CW. The Flash will air ‘Monster’ on Tuesday @8pm on The CW. Legends of Tomorrow has ‘Abominations’ lined up for Thursday @8pm, and Supergirl presents ‘Survivors’ on Monday @8pm on The CW.