Doctor Merlot (pronounced Mer-lou) was the main antagonist of the video game RWBY: Grimm Eclipse. He has yet to be mentioned or appear in the show itself. He made a minor reappearance in RWBY: Combat Ready, starring in an objective titled "The Return of Dr. Merlot".
Merlot was an elderly man with disheveled gray hair, a matching mustache and beard and prominent eyebrows. His left eye is robotic and glows red and around it were noticeable claw marks, likely from his Grimm experiments. His right arm was also robotic and was dark and metallic and has red inner circuits.
He wears a light gray jacket with a high collar and a red shirt underneath. On each sleeve of the jacket is a dark gray hexagon shape.
Merlot is portrayed as a smug and overly confident man who believes even Grimm, the most powerful creatures can be controlled to make the world better for humanity.
He is implied to have a mild god-complex as he firmly believes that nature and evolution has failed to perfect the Grimm and that his science can fix it's failures, with his theme song even having him call himself the "god of the Grimm".
His research appears to be the only motivating factor in his life. This is best shown by his reaction when Ozpin brings up the destruction of Mountain Glenn. Merlot fully admits that the events of Mountain Glenn were a regrettable tragedy for everyone involved, but feels that the destruction of his research was the greatest sacrifice. This shows that Merlot has a very "ends justify the means" mentality.
Throughout the game, Merlot is shown to possess a very calm and reasonable demeanor, never outwardly showing any signs of anger towards RWBY or JNPR for destroying his research with even Pyrrha noting that he’s being much too nice to them given the circumstances. The only time he seems to lose his temper is when they defeat his ultimate mutant Grimm and even then he gives them plenty of time to escape his laboratory before blowing the building up.
He also seems to have a sarcastic sense of humor, as he recites mocking emulations of a public address system at Team RWBY and Ozpin and refers to the former as "visitors" while they're invading his laboratory.
- The character of Doctor Merlot may allude to the science fiction novel The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells. Apart from the similarity in name, the story features an eccentric doctor living on a remote island and performing morally questionable experiments on animals. The seventh chapter of the Grimm Eclipse's campaign mode seems to support this with the level being titled "The Island of Dr. Merlot".
- Merlot is a type of grape most notably used in making the red wine that shares its name.
- The terminals in his lab used to open doors and activate elevators have the text "Process status: 78% completed Mutant Grimm Experiments: -Creep -Beowolf -?? Beacon will fall"
- In Grimm Eclipse if the player(s) pick up at least 30 artifacts, Merlot's laugh can be heard after the ending credits. This implies that he survived the destruction of his Island.
- One of the Objective Cards in the board game RWBY: Combat Ready is "The Return of Dr. Merlot", which when selected has the players fight a menagerie of enhanced Grimm.
- The song "Lusus Naturae" is presumably written from Merlot's perspective, and goes deeper into his motivations and obsession with the Grimm. The song is written and performed by Jeff Williams and plays over the credits of RWBY: Grimm Eclipse and is in the RWBY: Volume 4 Soundtrack.