ARROW Post-Mortem: Executive Producer Wendy Mericle on Prometheus’ True Identity Being Revealed

Warning: This article contains *major spoilers* from the March 1 episode of ARROW

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Prometheus has been unmasked on ARROW this week. During a fight with Vigilante, Adrian Chase was revealed to have been Prometheus all along and while he’s spent his days cozying up to Oliver as the D.A., he’s spent his nights engaging in a mental mind-game with the mayor/vigilante. Oliver, however, doesn’t know his friend and fellow city employee is the villain he’s been battling for months. And at the end of the episode, Chase kidnapped Susan Williams — Oliver’s girlfriend.

ARROW Executive Producer Wendy Mericle spoke with journalists about the show’s decision to have Chase be Prometheus and what’s to come now that ARROW fans know the truth.

Why Prometheus and Not Vigilante? In the comics, Adrian Chase is the vigilante appropriately named Vigilante, but that’s not the route ARROW decided to go when they brought in the character for season 5. Instead, Chase, as was revealed this week, is Prometheus. So why the change? Mericle said “one of the reasons we didn’t do it was because everybody would be thinking ‘of course he’s going to be Vigilante.’ We thought it would be a really fun, sort of twist to do what we’ve always done on the show, which is to take the comic book mythology and turn it on its head. And see what kind of story we can mine from a surprise like that. I think it was also just something different for this season. We wanted to change up how we introduced the big bad and when we did it, how we did it. Hopefully we succeeded in that this year.”

This Was Always the Plan. “We always knew that Adrian Chase and Josh Segarra playing him was our big bad,” Mericle explained. “We always knew from the beginning, in our very first discussions, which were started about a year ago right now. And we knew that’s what we wanted him to be, that’s how we wanted him to build it. I think in terms of the timing of this specific episode, we had to play around with that a little bit more. There are certain moments in the season where you obviously want to build to. We could have done it in [episode] 5.09, we could have done it even later in [episode] 5.18. But as much as possible we tried to let this story dictate where these big reveals [would] happen and it just felt right here and it felt right also to do it in the middle of an episode and that also, I think, played against expectations in a good way.”

What Oliver Doesn’t Know. While the audience knows Prometheus’ true identity, Oliver and Team Arrow are still in the dark. Mericle assured us that they will know about the Chase-Prometheus connection later in the season, but wouldn’t give us an exact timeline except to say it would happen “before the finale”. However, keeping our main characters in the dark for the time being will allow ARROW to “live with that reveal for a while” and will have the audience “seeing the characters not knowing what their lives are like and still interacting with Adrian Chase in City Hall and elsewhere without knowing his real identity. We really like the idea of doing that in [the] story and we’re going to play around with that for a little while before we let Oliver and the team find out.”

Josh Segarra (Adrian Chase/Prometheus), meanwhile, hinted that “We’re not going to leave it to the end of the season. It’s hard [to tease] because I already know how he reacts, and I love the way it goes. You’re going to see Chase just kind of trying to burn the world around him. We’ve seen the reluctance [in] him to kill [Oliver]. I never want to kill him. It’s just to make sure that we can make him stir a little bit, make him uncomfortable. So I think that’s where it’s going. Once they do find out, it’s how then to continue with my mission. I know how that goes, but you’ll have to see.”

How Did The Story of Prometheus Come About? Mericle reiterated that for this season’s big bad the writers “wanted to go back to season 1, we wanted to explore the roots of Oliver’s mission and the consequences of everything that he’s done. And absolutely we had that in mind that Prometheus would come back and he would start to mess with the people closest to Oliver….As we moved through the season, you’ll see as we head towards the finale, that Prometheus and Chase are going to go after…he’s obviously focused on Oliver but he’s also going to be focused on some of the people he loves the most as well.”

The Hero of His Own Story. “Our plan [for these types of reveals is] for everyone to be able to look back and go ‘oh my gosh, there were little hints here along the way’. On this show, I think historically, we’ve always striven to have the villain be the hero of their own story and to really kind of get underneath the reasons why they are what they are and they do what they do. And Adrian Chase is no exception. We will get a lot more sense going forward, I think, of why he has become so evil. Why he’s so bent on revenge. And I think the thing that’s the most interesting about it, for us, is just how close those parallels are with Oliver’s own story. We really did want to, this season, build a villain that would be a dark mirror for Oliver, in the tradition of the comic books and really honoring that. And also honoring Oliver’s past on the show and, it’s like I said, specifically the first season. Seeing what it was like to go through the loss — they both suffered losses and they both answer those losses in very different ways.”

Origin Story. Don’t expect to see flashbacks to how, exactly, Chase became Prometheus because that’s not really the route ARROW will take. However, Mericle assured us that “we’re going to get that story and get that understanding, actually, in the present day story. We did toy with [doing flashbacks] because I think it’s a very great story idea. It’s something we definitely thought about. But I think we ultimately felt the need that we could get what we needed to get out of his character, and understanding of his character in the present day story, specifically with the relationship to his interactions with Oliver.”

The Kidnapping of Susan Williams and Prometheus’ Game. At the end of this week’s ARROW we basically saw Chase corner Oliver’s girlfriend. With this season’s big bad, Mericle explained that “we really wanted to build him up as someone who is extremely good at being ten steps ahead of Oliver [and] really being psychological in the way that he manipulates him. And one of the ways he does that is by going after the people that Oliver cares about. We’ve seen villains do that in the past, but this year Adrian does it in a way that’s a little bit more specific. Not to take the wind out of the sails of the story, [but] his goal is very clear: he has really no drive to kill Oliver. It’s purely based on torture. And so in taking Susan…he’s headed to that and it’s all part and parcel to break Oliver down psychologically as opposed to physically which we have seen with Slade and Merlyn and everyone else do — take him on hand-to-hand, this is much more of a mental game.”

The Motivation to Save Diggle. Chase had an opportunity to get close to Oliver by helping to save Diggle from prison and, according to Mericle, a big part of the reason for this was the game he’s playing with Oliver. “It was a way for him to get closer to Oliver. Again, this is part of his psychological torture of Oliver. The further he gets into Oliver’s head, the closer he gets in gaining his confidence and gaining his trust, then obviously one of the ways to do that is by gaining the trust and confidence of the people that Oliver cares about. So it definitely part of his long-term game and those chickens will definitely come home to roost by the end of the season.”

The next new episode of ARROW airs on March 15 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

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