'Arrow' Season 7: Six Ways Malcolm Merlyn Could Return

John Barrowman surprised fans at a Torchwood panel during Supanova Comic Con in Australia with news (via Spoiler TV) that his Arrow character, Malcolm Merlyn, would return before the end of Season 7. This, obviously, has our heads spinning. Merlyn died in the Arrow Season 5 finale at the battle on Lian Yu when he stepped on a land mine to save his daughter, so how can he return? We have a few ideas.

Flashbacks

In Arrow Season 6 episode 16, Nyssa al Ghul reveals Malcolm Merlyn founded a spinoff League of Assassins group called the Thanatos Guild sometime prior to his death. After his death, Merlyn's second in command, Athena, took over and was in search of a map he left behind. With the help of Team Arrow, Nyssa found the map herself. After unsealing the map with Thea's blood, the the locations of three more Lazarus Pits were revealed.

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Merlyn's map of the Lazarus Pits from "Arrow" Season 6. CW

Nyssa, Thea and Roy then left to find these Lazarus Pits and destroy them. Some flashbacks that detail how Merlyn got the map and discovered the Lazarus Pits in the first place could be a simple, and intriguing way, to bring Barrowman back. With an older version of Roy appearing in flash-forwards, it would also be nice to know how that present-day adventure affected him 20 years down the line.

Earth 2 Flashbacks

Arrow Season 7 is heavily diving into Earth 2 version of Laurel Lance, a.k.a. Black Siren. Perhaps Barrowman can play Earth-2 Malcolm Merlyn? Oliver Queen is not alive on Earth-2; Oliver died when the Queen's Gambit sunk and his father, Robert Queen, survived instead. This version of Laurel was also close with Thea, and if things are the same on Earth-2, that means she might know Malcolm Merlyn. Earth-2 Laurel also mentioned she "avenged" Oliver's death. On Earth-1, Merlyn was technically the man responsible for the Gambit incident. Perhaps killing Merlyn is that revenge Laurel is talking about.

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Earth-2 Laurel Lance is on a path to redemption on Earth-1. Does this mean we'll get flashbacks to her backstory on Earth-2? Cw

Flash-forwards

This would revolve around Merlyn either not dying or being revived, but maybe he shows up sometime in the future flashforwards with William and Roy? A torn apart Star City needs a dark archer...

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Why is Roy Harper, clad in Arsenal uniform, on Lian Yu 20 years in the future? CW

Lazarus Pit

When Merlyn died on Lian Yu, maybe someone retrieved his body and took him to one of those Lazarus Pits? It's possible Athena was looking for that map to revive Merlyn. If not her, plenty of people owe Merlyn a favor. This is the most obvious way to bring him back, but we can't rule it out.

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Thea is off on a mission with Roy and Nyssa to find and destroy three Lazarus Pits left behind by Malcolm Merlyn. CW

He didn't die on Lian Yu

If Merlyn somehow didn't die on Lian Yu, perhaps he faked his own death and he'll run into Nyssa, Thea and Roy in present day on their quest to destroy the Lazarus Pits. Merlyn was never the self-sacrificing type...and it was always sort of hard to believe he'd show up on Lian Yu without a way out.

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Stephen Amell suits up as The Flash and Grant Gustin as Green Arrow in the official "Elseworlds" crossover poster. CW

The crossover

What if by Season 7, Barrowman actually meant this year's crossover event. "Elseworlds" will seemingly explore alternate worlds and universes, which means Merlyn could appear again with no strings attached and no effect on Arrow continuity.