John Barrowman to become Arrow series regular

Editor’s Note: Minor spoilers of the season finale of Arrow and later episodes.

John Barrowman has always been a fan-favourite character actor, most notably on Doctor Who and Torchwood. His passing presence on Arrow as arch-villain, Malcolm Merlyn has also been very well-received, though was reduced to just a handful of special guest appearances in the otherwise rave-reviewed second season of the DC Comics-inspired show. This was in favour of another big DC villain, Slade Wilson, a.k.a. Deathstroke, played by Spartacus’s Manu Bennett, serving as the main villain of the season instead.

Fortunately, that’s going to change in Season 3! The CW has just confirmed that John Barrowman has been upgraded to a series regular for Arrow’s upcoming third season, set to air this Fall. Given that Merlyn has just recruited protagonist, Oliver Queen’s younger sister, Thea to train with him as a powerful new foe, being fully aware that she’s his illegitimate daughter, this is an unsurprising turn. The CW has also heavily implied that Merlyn, and the League of Assassins that he previously severed ties with, will be key antagonists in the popular show’s third season.

Arrow will remain in its Wednesday, 8:00-9:00 P.M. timeslot during the upcoming television season, where it’s continued to be The CW’s top-rated and well-received show since debuting in that timeslot in 2012. It will continue to be followed by comparatively well-received sci-fi drama, The 100 in the 9:00-10:00 P.M. slot afterward.

This may surprise some, as greenlit Arrow spin-off, The Flash will begin airing on The CW next season, but not on the same day as Arrow, eliminating some speculation that The CW may be grooming a DC double feature on Wednesdays. Instead, The Flash will air on Tuesdays in the 8:00-9:00 P.M. timeslot, followed by veteran CW series, Supernatural in the 9:00-10:00 P.M. timeslot.

The Flash’s Tuesday timeslot may be a decisive reason as to why rival network, ABC bumped Marvel’s competing series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. an hour later for next season, where it will now air on Tuesdays at 9:00 instead of 8:00. It’s likely (and smart) that Marvel didn’t want to start a pointless pissing contest with DC over splitting superhero enthusiast viewers between their programs, particularly with ABC likely not wanting to press their luck after Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s initial negative reception and falling ratings, before enjoying a huge boost in popularity and viewers during the first season’s second half.

Are you excited to see more of John Barrowman in Arrow’s upcoming third season? Does this perhaps sway you to tune into the show if you haven’t before? Feel free to leave your comments below.

Eggplante’s continuing to shoot you your Arrow news and updates, as we spot them.