Will Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) finally meet his match when he squares off against a new Big Bad in Season 5 of The CW’s Arrow? Well, probably not considering that this conflict will occur in the show’s flashback sequences in Russia, meaning that Ollie definitely survives to see another day. Still, the news out of the TCAs that Dolph Lundgren will be starring as a major antagonist in those flashback sequences has us very excited.
A related bit of news that has us just as excited is the fact that Season 5 will be the last season that we have to deal with flashback sequences, which have been increasingly frustrating and fairly useless these last couple of seasons. Here’s hoping they go out with a bang as Amell and Lundgren clash.
Fans who have been following the series since the beginning probably know that Oliver is a member of the Bratva, the Russian brotherhood that’s basically their version of the mafia. His ties to the Russian mob have been hinted at over the years but never fully explored. Expect that to change in Season 5, as confirmed by executive producer Wendy Mericle:
“In our flashbacks in Russia — we’re set in Russia this season — we are going to be bringing in Dolph Lundgren as one of our big bads.”
Fellow executive producer Marc Guggenheim expanded on that, and confirmed that these will be the last flashbacks for the series:
“We always said that Oliver had a five-year journey when he was marooned on the [island]. This year, Oliver spends his time in the flashbacks in Russia. We know from various seeds we planted back in the pilot that he knows how to speak Russian, he became a Bratva captain. Sort of the flashback story in the first half of the year is going to involve Oliver’s introduction into the Bratva.”
Unfortunately, we don’t have any details as to Lundgren’s character beyond that, so we’re not sure if he’ll be playing someone from the comics or rather a character created from scratch. It won’t be Anatoli Knyazev, a.k.a. KGBeast, because that character has already been introduced with David Nykl playing the part. Perhaps he’ll play a rival crime family member? We’ll have to wait and see!
Guggenheim also lays out the parallels between the flashbacks and the main storyline as follows:
“He’s basically recruited into this crime organization while at the same time in the present day Oliver has recruits of his own. He’s a trainee in the past, trainer in the present, and I think that will give the audience the connect-up thematically between present in the past.”
The team of “Junior Vigilantes” that Oliver will assemble in the meantime has already been partially revealed in a Season 5 trailer. We can expect to see the return of Evelyn Sharp (Madison McLaughlin), plus the addition of Rene Ramirez/Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez ), and Josh Segarra as series regular Adrian Chase/Vigilante. Other news out of the TCAs includes the fact that Vigilante will be introduced in the seventh episode of this season.
Season 5 looks to be a changing of the guard of sorts for Arrow, so let’s see if the show can right itself after a rough couple of recent seasons, especially now that it can focus on its own storylines rather than acting as scaffolding for sister series. As always, let us know your thoughts on the state of Arrow and the DC TV Universe in the comments below!
Arrow returns to The CW on Wednesday, October 5th at 8pm.