- NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of Merlyn the Archer from the Arrowverse. The mainstream version can be found here: Merlyn the Archer
|“||I thought of you as a son once, Oliver. I had more in common with you than my own blood, but that's not the reason I'm not going to kill you. Neither is the fact that you are my daughter's brother. The reason you get to live is because death would be a mercy compared to the debt I now owe you!||„|
|~ Malcolm Merlyn|
Malcolm Merlyn (born Arthur King), also known as the Dark Archer, is a major antagonist in the Arrowverse. He is the overall main antagonist of Arrow, serving as the main antagonist of Season 1, an anti-hero in both Seasons 2 to 5 and a posthumous antagonist in the subsequent seasons. He is also one of the two secondary antagonists (along with Damien Darhk) of Season 2 of DC's Legends of Tomorrow.
He is the father of Thea Queen and the late Tommy Merlyn (Oliver's half-sister and best friend, respectively). He is the mastermind behind the Undertaking and the former leader of the League of Assassins. He is also a member of the Legion of Doom. He is based on the character of Merlyn the Archer from the DC Comics.
He was portrayed by John Barrowman.
Malcolm was once a kind, caring man who dearly loved his wife, Rebecca, and son, Tommy. He was a devoted businessman and humanitarian, striving to make Starling City a better place alongside his wife. Malcolm had a playful, lighthearted side as well; he would perform magic tricks to cheer up Tommy whenever his son was sad or scared.
After Rebecca's murder, Malcolm was heartbroken and haunted with guilt that he had not been able to help her. Malcolm's love for his wife was so great when he confronted the man he thought killed Rebecca, he claimed the man had taken "everything" from him. During his mourning period, Malcolm had a brief affair with his old friend, Moira, which he grew to regret as he felt he had cheated on Rebecca. Upon killing Rebecca's presumed murderer, Malcolm was shocked and unable to live with what he had done. He subsequently left his son and found himself in Nanda Parbat. Training there with the League of Assassins, Malcolm soon changed his perspective on the world and how he could help his city.
Malcolm returned as an apathetic, calculating, and ruthless individual. He grew to believe the Glades were beyond saving and vowed to completely destroy it, feeling that this way, he could help rebuild the city and prevent what happened to Rebecca from ever occurring again. Malcolm believed what he did was for the greater good, and was willing to do anything, regardless of the number of individuals he would have to kill, to see his goals fulfilled, making him a well-intentioned extremist but ultimately highly dangerous and delusional. Malcolm dedicated his crusade to his late wife, whom he never stopped loving; he continued his wedding ring many years after Rebecca's death and likewise he didn't wish for Rebecca's clinic to be leveled along with the Glades. As the new Ra's, Malcolm's extremist ways reached greater-than-ever levels as he became quite convicted of the importance of the League of Assassins; he believed the League was larger than him or Thea, as it was an invisible force that could influence the entire world for the better. Therefore, Malcolm refused to hand this responsibility to Nyssa al Ghul in exchange for the Lotus, which would permanently cure Thea's bloodlust, even though it would cost him the life of his daughter. In his obsession with the League's title, Malcolm completely disregarded that it was his decision to involve Thea in his enmity with the League that landed her in her current condition, instead accepting his daughter's death as inevitable in spite of Team Arrow's vehement protests.
Malcolm was a charismatic individual, able to project his own beliefs and self-righteousness into his words. He seemed to have an ego as Robert Queen stated that Malcolm had "something of a god-complex". He even had a hostage read out his threats if the Arrow "doesn't surrender to [his] authority". Malcolm blamed all the individuals living in the Glades for his wife's death - not just her killer, but also the ones who did nothing to help Rebecca whilst she was dying, which fueled his belief in the Undertaking. Malcolm maintained a calm and level-headed persona, but was prone to emotional outbursts when angered. Malcolm had no guilt or remorse for using individuals for his personal gain and then killing them once they became loose ends to keep them from going public with information he wouldn't otherwise want.
Malcolm was displayed to be extremely confident in his combat skills, as seen when he beat the Arrow multiple times, mentioning the reason he came out on top was because he knew what he was fighting for. Malcolm was calm in battle and willing to fight anyone who was a threat to himself or the ones he cared for. He is even unafraid of meta-humans, even incredibly powerful ones such as Eobard Thawne and Hunter Zolomon respectively, to the point of being arrogant and overconfident; for example, Malcolm felt that he and Damien Darhk, being two former members of the League of Assassins, could confront Eobard on equal terms. After learning that a second, even more powerful speedster was hunting him, he shrugged it off even though Eobard himself was terrified of it. However, at the same time, Malcolm can recognize if he was facing a superior opponent, as he feared Ra's al Ghul, his mentor, who he correctly believed would defeat him in combat and torture him for his betrayal, to the point of outright begging Ra's not to torture him. Although less, Malcolm also feared Damien Darhk, as he recognized how Damien, as a warrior equal to Ra's, deserved respect, though he was not above trying to fight him, which ended up badly as he would have been killed had Rip not interrupted their fight. Ironically, Oliver having been able to kill Ra's al Ghul, Malcolm showed absolutely no fear or hesitation to engage Oliver in combat, which may be arrogance in Malcolm's part, as he clearly believed having defeated Oliver twice, he could do it again. This arrogance cost Malcolm badly as Oliver not only proved how he had long since surpassed Malcolm by subjecting him to a swift defeat, but also cut off his hand and gave the Demon Head's Ring to Nyssa, effectively deposing Malcolm as Ra's.
Despite Malcolm's insanity, selfishness, ruthlessness, and cold heart, he still loved Tommy dearly and wanted the best for his son. However, he had a brusque way of showing his affections, which often pushed Tommy away; for example, Malcolm cut off Tommy's trust fund and harshly scolded his son as "worthless" in order to "jolt [him] into adulthood". After Tommy was killed during the Undertaking though, Malcolm suffered great remorse and guilt to the point where he left Starling, disillusioned with how his actions ended up claiming the live of his son, which led to him searching for ways to be a part of Thea's life. To this end, he began to pressure Moira into telling Thea that he was her biological father. When Moira was murdered, Malcolm swiftly returned to Star City to watch over Thea, despite still being hunted by the League of Assassins. Malcolm loved Thea as much as he loved Tommy and with similar harshness; when Thea requested to be taught how to fight, Malcolm gave his daughter no special treatment, though it should be noted his regime was effective since he turned Thea into a capable combatant within five months. Malcolm's strong parental instincts displayed themselves when he shot the assassin Chase for attempting to kill Thea and made Tommy's safety his priority during Floyd Lawton's attack on his humanitarian ceremony. However, some question whether Malcolm's ambition sometimes overpowered his love for his children; despite his grief over inadvertently causing Tommy's death, Malcolm manipulated Thea into killing Sara so that the League would mark Thea for death and force Oliver to fight the League's leader, Ra's al Ghul. If Oliver could kill Ra's, then Thea and Malcolm would both be saved from the League. This scheme was risky and placed Thea in danger, as well as emotionally scarring her since Sara was her friend. This indicates that Malcolm might not have learned everything he could from Tommy's death or it might display that despite having inadvertently killed his son, he remained daring enough to take the drastic, manipulative steps he thinks are required to beat an international organization of assassins. Malcolm was also noticeably indifferent to the ramifications of Sara's death on her family, despite having already hurt them by inadvertently and seemingly killing Sara previously with the sinking of the Queen's Gambit. He remained unrepentant about this murder even when called out on it by Thea, Team Arrow, and Sara's sister, Laurel Lance, showing that Malcolm's first and only priorities are the physical wellbeing of himself and his family. However, at the same time, Malcolm did regret how deeply it scarred Thea, to the point where he gave her a chance to kill him and ultimately he relented to allow the Lazarus Pit to resurrect Sara. His love for Thea remained unscathed even as Thea grew more and more angry at him, since Malcolm's alliance with Damien was also based on him and his daughter being spared from Genesis and likewise he was more than willing to work with Oliver and (reluctantly) Nyssa to save her from Adrian Chase. Ultimately, Malcolm's love for his daughter enabled him to do the right thing; he willingly took Thea's place when she stepped on a landmine and later detonated it, taking Digger Harkness and some of Talia al Ghul's students with him while allowing Thea and her friends to escape. Through his sacrifice, which was the first real fatherly act towards his daughter, Malcolm proved that for all his faults, he truly did love Thea.
It should be noted that Malcolm's parental instincts extend in a limited way to Oliver despite his ruthless attitude towards the latter. After beating and unmasking the Arrow, Malcolm regretted upon learning his enemy's identity, even genuinely apologizing for Oliver's suffering due to being on the sinking Gambit meant to kill Robert, whose death Malcolm regretted and he openly admitted to missing. Malcolm also seemed devastated over Oliver's apparent death at the hands of Ra's and didn't deny it was his fault Oliver got killed. Still, Malcolm's love remained centered on his two children and his apparent affection for Oliver did not prevent him from manipulating the latter into fighting Ra's al Ghul by using Thea as leverage, though he was absolutely confident Oliver had what it took to beat Ra's. Malcolm even stated that he has always viewed Oliver as a son and he truly enjoyed working with him while battling Ra's and the League. Despite their conflicts, Malcolm was ultimately truly sorry for the wrongs he has committed against Oliver and his family, always being willing to help Oliver out when he needed it. However, after Malcolm was removed as the leader of the League of Assassins by Oliver in exchange for the Lotus, which led to the organization's disbandment, he became extremely vengeful towards Oliver, deciding to side with H.I.V.E. out of anger and spite. Malcolm also revealed the existence of Oliver's son, William Clayton, to Damien as revenge, even personally kidnapping William and bringing the child to Damien, proving that his paternal feelings for Oliver have been destroyed. However, he did sarcastically comment that Oliver gave a nice speech after he went against H.I.V.E., meaning their enmity may have lessened. By the time Malcolm had come out of his bitter life of squalor, he professed he regretted how badly they fell out and apologized for it.
As Malcolm started to work with Team Arrow, he grew to respect and even care for them. During a battle with the League, Malcolm saved both Laurel and Felicity Smoak's lives. He also protected the team and Oliver from the Alpha-Omega virus and worked with them to keep the bioweapon from destroying Star City. Even after falling out with Oliver, Malcolm still cared for Team Arrow, as he refrained from revealing important information about them to Damien, like their identities and the location of their base. He also lingered after Damien fatally stabbed Laurel with an arrow, indicating shock, or even regret, over his role in her death.
- Kendrick Weller
- Adam Hunt
- Nelson Ravich
- Frank Chen
- Brion Markov
- Cal DeVito
- Jefferson Jackson / Firestorm (Time Aberration)
- Digger Harkness/Captain Boomerang
- Unnamed driver
- 2 security guards
- 2 Mirakuru soldiers
- 2 Chinese Triad members
- 5 Unidac Industries scientists
- Numerous League of Assassins members
- Numerous H.I.V.E. members
- Several unnamed Switzerland bank workers
- Numerous unnamed people
- Dave Hackett
- Robert Queen
- Josiah Hudson
- Tommy Merlyn
- Sara Lance / The Canary (Revived)
- Laurel Lance / Black Canary
- Jeff Devaeu's wife
- Aglin's wife
- Colton's sister
- 8 of Roy Harper's friends
- 451 Glades residents
- Numerous League of Assassin members
- Numerous H.I.V.E. members
- Numerous people
- Peak of human physical condition: As a highly skilled assassin, Malcolm is shown to be in top physical condition. In all three of his confrontations with Oliver, before he was trained by Ra's, Malcolm has demonstrated to be physically more powerful than him. In their first confrontation, Malcolm was strong enough to severely injure Oliver and was able to break three of Oliver's ribs by kicking him in the abdomen repeatedly. He has also demonstrated sufficiently high enough strength to break Oliver's bow in half with a single strike and knead a steel beam with a single kick. His reflexes allowed him to catch an arrow shot at him by Oliver during their second confrontation. He was also shown himself to be able to dodge an arrow and fire one directly after Oliver tried to shoot him in their first confrontation. Malcolm also completely outmaneuvered Daniel Brickwell and toppled him down with a few hits despite Brick's incredible resillience. Malcolm's conditioning could also allow for a swift recovery, as he recovered relatively fast from Ra's severe torture of him, which he survived despite John expressing incredulity any normal man could. Malcolm even managed to overcome a Mirakuru enhanced individual in a physical fight, reacting to all of his foe's hits and inflicting sufficient force to knock him aside with his blows and cause him pain and withstood being physically gripped by him to stab him with an arrow and quickly recovered. Even after his hand was cut off, he was still very formidable, able to easily best Thea. After getting a Cybernetic Hand, Malcolm became able to effectively continue his physical activities and he was powerful enough to compete with the extremely strong Sara Lance.
- Indomitable will/High tolerance for pain: Malcolm's tolerance to pain was incredible, able to practically ignore pain via sheer will without flinching, as he was completely unfazed from having hot water poured into his hand. He was able to remain conscious after Ra's tortured him and even after his hand was cut off, he was able to grit his teeth, letting out only a mangled scream, before Oliver knocked him out.
- League of Assassins training:: Malcolm has gone through the training all League members do and was sufficiently advanced that he became Ra's Al Ghul's horseman, his right-hand man.
- Master Marksman/Archer: As the Dark Archer, Malcolm proved himself as an expert archer with astounding archery skills, a feat acknowledged by Oliver seeing how tightly grouped the arrows shot to Adam's body were. He was able to shoot three arrows at once and pin Nyssa to the wall by her clothing without injuring her. He was successfully able to catch Oliver off guard and wound him. Because of this, Malcolm's archery skills can be considered equivalent if not superior to Oliver's. He uses a customized compound bow. He was even able to combine his CQC techniques with his archer abilities to pin down Nyssa without killing her. Malcolm was also proven to be highly accomplished in other forms of marksmanship: He was able to easily accurately hit John Diggle's stomach with a knife while fleeing and take out multiple guards with a laser gun.
- Master hand-to-hand combatant/Martial artist: Malcolm is an incredibly skilled martial artist and hand-to-hand combatant, learned from the League of Assassins during his time in Nanda Parbat and other training he received elsewhere, being among the most dangerous fighters ever in the series. He swiftly incapacitated two Chinese Triad members (disarmed one and kill the other with his own gun). Malcolm was among the few individuals to ever defeat Oliver in battle, doing so in all their initial confrontations and even holding off both him and John by himself, and appeared to be still more skilled than him as of his war with Slade, defeating a Mirakuru henchman with less difficulty than Oliver did, and even during his conflict with Ra's, Oliver acknowledged Malcolm to be a better fighter and asked him to train him. While being attacked by Nyssa al Ghul he dodged her sword strike and tossed her to the floor in mere seconds and was proven to be able to defeat her in all of their altercations, with Nyssa confirming she would lose in a fight with him. Malcolm effortlessly overpowered a League member and proceeded to defeat 3 more within moments. Even when handcuffed, it took 3 members to overpower him and not without a struggle. However, with all of Malcolm's skill, he was still surpassed by his mentor Ra's Al Ghul, who he feared, and likewise despite putting up a struggle, Oliver defeated Malcolm with only mediocre effort after he had came close to Ra's skill, although it may be possible Malcolm underestimated Oliver, as he later on fared considerably better against Damien Darhk despite ultimately getting bested. He could likewise fight evenly with Sara Lance, narrowly losing in their first fight and stalemating her in their second.
- Stealth: As a highly trained assassin, Malcolm was shown to be highly skilled in stealth. Even among the extremely trained League members, Malcolm's ability to break into buildings and disappear without a trace was among the reasons he was called the Magician. This was shown as he was able to approach and kill targets without being noticed. After his first fight against Oliver, he escaped the scene without being seen. He could effortlessly enter the Arrowcave even as it's security grew, outright mocking how easy it was for him, and likewise was even able to infiltrate Nanda Parbat undetected, although he acknowledged it was very difficult.
- Master Swordsman: Malcolm is an incredibly skilled swordsman, owning multiple swords of different kinds and using them masterfully. Even while holding back, he could skillfully engage in fencing activities. Malcolm was able to swiftly kill multiple police officers with a scimitar, outduel Nyssa in all their sword duels, swiftly outmatch many League of Assassins member, outduel Oliver and Thea in a sparring session with little effort, match Damien Darhk in a sword-fight and even disarm him, stand up to Oliver in a sword-fight after he was trained by Ra's Al Ghul before ultimately losing, and even best Thea while holding back and having his arm cut off.
- Master Knife Wielder: Malcolm was deadly with knives, able to nearly push Sara into defeat with a single knife and keep up with and cut Damien's shoulder before losing.
- Genius-level intellect/Great business acumen/Master tactician/Master leader: Malcolm was an incredibly clever and cunning man, among the greatest strategists in the series. He was a great businessman, as he founded and ran Merlyn Global Group very effectively, overseeing its daily activities and ensuring its success as a multi-billionaire corporation, acquiring a massive amount of wealth, as it's CEO, while simultaneously leading Tempest and coordinating several events to eventually successfully execute the Undertaking, even outsmarting Oliver twice, nearly killing him first and then again when in addition to accelerating his plan to level the Glades upon knowing Oliver knew everything, Malcolm revealed he had planted a second device in the east sector of the Glades. After his survival, Malcolm successfully went into hiding and managed to completely conceal himself from the League of Assassins, who only learned of his survival from Moira, and Oliver, still keeping himself hidden from the League and Oliver for a year until Oliver learned it from Nyssa. He was even able to regain his funds from the Merlyn Global Group through unknown means and allocate them without being noticed, helping Thea buy back the Verdant and an apartment. He also came up with a successful plan to force Oliver into conflict with Ra's by drugging Thea with Vitura to influence her into killing Sara without remembering the deed in order to escape from the latter and have Oliver fight Ra's al Ghul in his place and was a key strategic advisor to Oliver in their conflict with Ra's, eventually coming up with a plan to depose of him and install himself as the next Ra's. As the next Ra's, Malcolm successfully led the organization, inspiring loyalty from it's members, to the point where Nyssa needed Oliver to defeat Malcolm as he had more followers than her despite her rightful inheritance to the mantle of the Demon Head. Even after Nyssa disbanded the League, Malcolm still had several loyalists and the full support of the Thanatos Guild. After the Spear of Destiny altered reality, Malcolm was once again able to run Merlyn Global Group efficiently, regaining his status a well-respected businessman, while also leading the League of Assassins as Ra's once more effectively.
- Polymath: Despite rarely shown, Malcolm has proven himself to be well-versed in fields such as mathematics, science and technology: He created such strong defenses in his company's system that Felicity could not overcome it on her own without a trojan and hacked the computers in the Arrowcave completely unnoticed by Felicity. He build his box to only unlock from his blood and also had to be solved in a mathematical manner that only Felicity could solve. He was familiar enough with drugs and toxins to train Thea how to recognize them on sight and successfully drugged Thea with the right amount of Vitura to make his daughter obey his commands and not retain any memory of her actions once the drug wore off.
- Network: Malcolm had a dense network of resources and connections all over Starling City, which played a part in his ability to execute the Undertaking, having allies that did the majority of his work for him. He also had connections throughout the world, able to order the Markov device and contact the Bratva. Even after the Undertaking, his network was still strong enough to fake his death, which Oliver suspected was due to his connections to the coroner's office. Malcolm orchestrated Moira's release and had her brought to him without eliciting suspicion. As Ra's Al Ghul, Malcolm had access to all the resources of the League of Assassins and commanded all their members, expanding heavily his contacts throughout the world, which allowed him to be immediately aware of Oliver's conflict with Vandal Savage and that Thea was kidnapped by Damien Darhk, even able to gain access to H.I.V.E's security code. Even after Nyssa Al Ghul disbanded the League, Malcolm retained enough of his increased network that he was able to enter Iron Heights Prison and leave as if he was never there, which he attributed to his once status as Ra's al Ghul, impressing even Damien.
- Trained Magician: Malcolm is trained in multiple arts of stage-magic, such as sleight-of-hand, escape artistry, and hypnotism, his skills earning him the title of the Magician. He is able to flawlessly manifest and make a coin disappear out of thin air, a trick that not only often appeased Tommy but even impressed Nyssa to accept him. As a hypnotist, he can use a hypnotic-regression theraphy to retrieve lost memories. As an escape artist, Malcolm is confident that he can escape any prison, even Oliver's Supermax on Lian Yu. Likewise, Malcolm shows himself to be knowledgeable in actual mysticism, knowing of the existence of the Lazarus Pits, and as Ra's Al Ghul, his knowledge expanded. He came to fully understand the Lazarus Pits, able to deduce why Thea was struggling with a bloodlust and knowing how to cure her (although it was for naught) and even successfully tracked down three other Lazarus Pits based on Earth's Ley lines, a feat practically unheard of, and was also aware of Vandal Savage and his immortality long before Team Arrow could figure out and knew Damien Darhk's magic functioned.
- Customized PSE Chaos AD Compound Bow: Malcolm. as the Dark Archer uses his signature weapon of choice: A Customized Compound bow.
- Customized Hunting Arrows: Malcolm creates and designs his arrows himself. The arrows he used have arrowheads with three "Teflon-coated titanium blades" on each arrow, with the blades serrated for splitting bones, and the shaft itself is made of "specialized polymer stronger than typical carbon fiber". As such, it is safe to assume that the arrows he uses are deadlier than those used by The Arrow.
- Trick arrows: In "Streets of Fire", shortly after his return, Malcolm uses an explosive arrow to save Thea and seemingly kill one of Slade's Mirakuru henchmen.
- Quiver An arrow container strapped to Malcolm's back.
- Throwing Knives: When fighting Oliver and John, Malcolm utilized double bladed throwing knives.
- Swords: Malcolm uses a huge variety of swords from different cultures. He first used a scimitar to kill two police officers, during his third fight with Oliver. Malcolm was shown using a scimitar against Oliver, though he was very quickly disarmed by Oliver. While training Thea they used both Japanese and Chinese swords. When preparing to kill Brickwell he carried a Chinese Dao.
- League of Assassins Costume: Malcolm wears a costume, used by the members of the League of Assassins, as his villain alter-ego, the Dark Archer, to hide his identity from his victims. The majority of the materials it's made out of are unknown, with the exception of Kevlar.
- Voice Filter: Malcolm uses this device to change his voice regardless of who he spoke to as the Dark Archer. This could be for the purposes of intimidation as it changed his voice to a deep, low growl.
- Smoke bombs: After incapacitating Nyssa, he threw a smoke bomb to quickly escape the scene.
- Prior to "Muse of Fire", Malcolm was simply known as the "well-dressed man". His identity as Tommy's father was discovered in that episode while he was practicing fencing. Malcolm, at the time, was masked, when Tommy confronted him about his empty credit cards. Malcolm took off his mask to reveal his face to the audience, confirming his identity. His first name, however, wasn't revealed until "Trust but Verify".
- In "Year's End", after Oliver claimed that the vigilante needed a new nickname other than "The Hood", Malcolm suggested the name "Green Arrow", a clear reference to the vigilante's original DC comics name. However, Oliver disliked the name, stating that it was lame.
- The arrows Merlyn uses resemble the ones used by Smallville's version of Green Arrow, portrayed by Justin Hartley.
- In DC Comics, this character's real name is Arthur King who uses the name Merlyn as his supervillain alias.
- His first name may be a reference to Malcolm McDowell, who voiced the Merlyn character in the Green Arrow animated short film.
- Alongside Billy Wintergreen and Helena Bertinelli, Malcolm Merlyn was one of the only three characters in Season 1 shown to be swift enough to catch an arrow in mid-air. However, while Helena and Billy only performed this once, Malcolm performed this feat twice.
- It was revealed at the end of "Dead to Rights", Malcolm spent two years in Nanda Parbat when Oliver was around 9, and Tommy was around 8 where he received mentorship from another individual. It is most likely (confirmed in the DC comics) that it is where Malcolm learned archery and how to fight. This would explain why he was able to almost best Oliver in their first fight and defeat him in their second fight as he has been training a lot longer. Therefore, he has at least 20 years of experience on him.
- Malcolm is currently the longest surviving antagonist in the series since his first appearance on Arrow.
- Malcolm is one of the only characters to have bested Oliver in combat more than once, and one of even fewer who have managed it without the aid of Mirakuru.
- While training Thea, he was seen wearing a hakama and Japanese clothing. He also referred to Japanese philosophy. This implies he probably has had training in martial arts outside the League of Assassins.
- While a member of the League of Assassins, Malcolm was known as "Al Sa-Her" (in Arabic: الساحر), which in Arabic means (the) Magician. Nyssa Al Ghul first called him like this after he performed a magic trick. This name was possibly also chosen as a play on his surname "Merlyn," (which is a variant form of the name Merlin) due it coming from the legendary figure, Merlin, who is best known as the wizard (or magician) featured in Arthurian legend. It's also a reference to the comics since Arthur King (the Dark Archer's civilian identity) presents himself as "Merlyn the Magician" during his debut.
- His death is very similar to that of Merlin in Kingsman: The Golden Circle.
- The other members of the Undertaking are unaware that Malcolm is the Dark Archer; whenever he is with the Undertaking, he simply refers to his alter-ego as "our associate", and occasionally threatens them with a visit from "our associate". Therefore, he acts as his own Dragon.
- Malcolm was initially the main antagonist in season three but was eventually outranked by the true main villain.
- He is the second main antagonist to be credited as the main character followed by Slade Wilson. He is shortly followed up by Prometheus in Season 5, Black Siren in Season 6 and Ricardo Diaz in Season 7.
- Malcolm has been confirmed to become a series regular for not just Season 5 of Arrow, but Season 3 of The Flash and Season 2 of DC's Legends of Tomorrow.
- Malcolm is the overarching antagonist in Arrow because he has appeared more than any other villain, and his actions have impacted the heroes in one way or another.
- Malcolm was currently the longest surviving antagonist in the series since his first appearance on Arrow.
- For now, Malcolm was one of the main antagonists of the Arrowverse to be still alive. The other was Hunter Zolomon and Slade Wilson. Hunter is killed by Caitlin Snow, became Killer Frost, in The Flash Season 3 finale "Finish Line", and in Arrow Season 5 "Lian Yu" Malcolm Merlyn is killed by a landmine, leaving Slade Wilson the only of the main antagonists to be alive in Arrowverse.
- Merlyn is arguably one of Oliver Queen's three archenemies, along with Adrian Chase and Ricardo Diaz.