There seems to be some confusion behind the scenes of Arrow, as the show's producers have publicly stated John Barrowman is welcome to return to the show whenever he wishes. The fan favorite actor had previously suggested his time in the Arrowverse had come to an end against his wishes.
Barrowman has portrayed the villainous Malcolm Meryln since the first season of Arrow. The character has been through several iterations, from the series' initial big bad, to head of the League of Assassins, to his role last season on Legends of Tomorrow as a member of the Legion of Doom. He's become something of the unkillable cockroach of the Arrowverse, and his apparent demise in Arrow's season 5 finale felt like more of a pause for the character than a definitive end, which made it all the more confounding when Barrowman suggested he'd been ousted earlier this year.
The show's producers are attempting to clear up that confusion. In an interview posted by Green Arrow TV (via ComicBook) from San Diego Comic-Con, producer Marc Guggenheim refuted Barrowman's claims, suggesting he's still more than welcome in the Arrowverse.
“That’s up to John. We told John when we called him to tell him about the events of the finale, every single person on all the shows has come back in some shape or form. We’ve got flashbacks, we’ve got time travel, we’ve got parallel universes. Goodbye is never goodbye. He has an open invitation to return to the show any time he wants.”
For his part, Barrowman seems more than happy to move on from the drama and return to the series, if the writers give his character something worthwhile to do. He stated as much on an post set to his Instagram page.
“I am surprised and very happy to hear Marc Guggenheim’s comments about Merlyn’s future in the Arrowverse, because in a very decisive phone conversation we had with Wendy Mericle, I was led to believe that there were no plans to bring Merlyn back. If they have changed their mind, awesome! I have LOVED playing Malcom Merlyn and was SO disappointed to be told the news of his death and to no longer be part of a fantastic team and show. If they want me back, they just have to ask! The ball is back in their court. Write Merlyn an amazing storyline and I will be there.”
While Merlyn's presence on Arrow has been running out of steam in recent years, the character was revitalized on Legends of Tomorrow, where he and Damien Dahrk served as reluctant henchmen to Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash. Barrowman had fantastic chemistry with Neal McDonough, whose character will be returning to Legends for its third season. If the time travel show can figure out a way to bring one favorite villain back from the dead, it doesn't seem like bringing back two would be too much of a problem.
Arrow season 6 premieres on Thursday, October 12 @8pm on The CW.