John Barrowman Interview: ‘Arrow’ Season 4 and Ra’s al Ghul

John Barrowman Interview - Arrow Season 4
John Barrowman at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con (Photo by Richard Chavez / Showbiz Junkies)

Malcolm Merlyn is the new Ra’s al Ghul in The CW’s Arrow and actor John Barrowman says the upcoming fourth season is going to be an absolutely awesome one for Malcolm. During the 2015 San Diego Comic Con roundtable interviews, Barrowman was sporting a demon’s head ring which no one caught on to until he pointed it out. “I had them make me an exact replica of the demon’s head ring and I’ve been wearing it all day and no one has spotted it,” said Barrowman. “It’s just so you know that, not that I take my characters home with me, just don’t f*ck with me.”

Although Barrowman did his best to not give any spoilers away about season four, he did share his theories on a few key plot points. Arrow fans know that Sara Lance has returned from the dead because Caity Lotz is part of The CW’s upcoming series, Legends of Tomorrow, but we don’t know how she will be resurrected. “I can not reveal to you what is going to [happen]. Like the others, I go into the meetings and production meetings and I don’t like to know what’s going to happen because I like to be surprised when I get the script because I’m also a nerd and a geek myself, so I enjoy that kind of thing. Also, it’s the challenge for me to go, ‘Oh! That’s what I’m doing now!,’ and not have to make that work. That makes it fun, rather than knowing what’s going to happen. Because if you know what’s going to happen, sometimes you play things a little differently. Whereas if you don’t know, you play things for what it is right there and then. It’s more spontaneous for the audience. All I can say is that we know she is alive, will be back – obviously because of Legends – but how she is brought to life, that would be the interesting part. But I would like to think that Malcolm has a little bit of a hand in bringing her back,” said Barrowman.

Barrowman also shared the news that we can expect a very different looking League under Malcolm’s leadership. “Mark [Guggenheim] just said in one of the interviews and I found out, Malcolm being the head of The League now it will be very different from before. ‘The League will have casual Fridays,’ so there might not be all the gear,” explained Barrowman. “They might be – shall we say – infiltrating in other areas and you just don’t know they are there. It’s like when the League of Assassins showed up before you know it’s them because of the way they’re dressed. Malcolm might devise a way to let them show up and you just don’t know that they’re amongst us.”

The big question about the new season is whether Team Arrow will be under the League’s protection now that Malcolm has taken over as Ra’s al Ghul. “I don’t have an answer for that. But I as the fan would like to see that because obviously Oliver protected Malcolm, so it’s just rightly so that Malcolm will protect him. It was probably the most unimaginable alliance that you ever thought would happen, and everybody was furious at Oliver [played by Stephen Amell]. It introduced Malcolm to the group themselves in a different way because they saw… You know, in fact it was Laurel who said to him – at one point he saved Laurel’s life and she turned to him and said, ‘I wouldn’t have done it for you.’ ‘Okay, I know where you stand but I’ll still help you.’ It’s that kind of thing, like maybe he will be helping them,” said Barrowman, shaking his head yes.

Barrowman is obviously having a good time with the role, and he’s especially pleased to be able to explore different sides of Malcolm. Season three saw Barrowman sharing a very emotional scene with Willa Holland who plays his daughter, Thea. Barrowman loved that scene and talked about it during our roundtable interview, saying, “I kind of thrive on that kind of stuff because it’s great to have such a diversity of a way to play him. And also when they wipe you from one point you’re an a**hole and then the next minute later on you’re totally in an emotional scene with your daughter and you’re exposing yourself, that means they must kind of like what you’re doing and kind of giving you a complete spectrum to do it, because not everybody gets to do that. I’m thrilled that they will let me be that a**hole and then they’ll let me be that caring father, and then they’ll also let me be the guy who will tell people the real way of what it is, what it’s like, rather than beating around the bush with him. I think he’s the most honest guy on the show.”

Malcolm’s also fiercely protective of Thea and proud that she’s taking on a new identity. “He is so proud of that but, again, even though she will be Speedy – or a little speedy – he will still be very protective of her. He will allow her to blossom and do her thing, but there will always be that protective realm over Thea. However, there’s somebody else in the realm that I would really like. I think we’re going to see that relationship be opened up and looked into.”

More Arrow Season 4 Interviews: Stephen Amell / Emily Bett Rickards

Watch the full interview with John Barrowman on Arrow season four:

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