John Barrowman didn’t mind getting ahead of the Arrow finale with suggestions that Malcolm Merlyn would leave the Arrow-verse altogether, but this past week’s Season 5 finale offered a notably comic-book exit for the villain. Nonetheless, Barrowman affirms his exit from any and all DC dramas, stating “I won’t be back next season.”

You’re warned of full spoilers for Arrow Season 5 finale “Lian Yu,” but even as Barrowman prepared us for the notion that Merlyn might not make it off the island, the character’s off-screen land mine death left plenty of wiggle room. Compounding that was an overall finale cliffhanger in which everyone but Oliver was threatened by island explosives, but Barrowman took to Facebook to assure that Merlyn was gone:

By now you know that Malcolm Merlyn is no more. I know they’ve done it off-camera, but I’m here to tell you I won’t be back next season … I am very sad to be leaving the Arrow-verse. I love playing Malcolm Merlyn and, you know, that’s it really. As sad as it may be, I understand how shows must change, and also how characters must change and develop, but that doesn’t mean I’m not very sad and upset about it. I appreciate your support, and love you all.

Barrowman has an impressive history with the franchise; introduced early in Season 1 as a mystery character, and subsequently revealed as both Tommy Merlyn’s father, and the major big bad. The character made a surprise return in Season 2 and had recurring roles in both 3 and 4, spending the majority of this past year as a “franchise regularLegends of Tomorrow big bad.

Granted, the Arrow-verse has kept plenty of “deceased” players off-screen for a season or more, but is it finally time to lay Barrowman’s character to rest?

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