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Arrow is bringing in a whole slew of never-before-seen characters for Season 5, ranging from new bad guys to a crew of young vigilantes for Team Arrow. Now, we've learned that one new Season 5 character will be a perfect fit for none other than Dolph Lundgren. He has signed on to play a key villain for the final year of Arrow flashbacks.
Dolph Lundgren will portray one of Oliver's nemeses in the Russia-based flashbacks in Season 5, according to a tease at the TCA press tour (via TVGuide). Our first look at Arrow Season 5 showed a buff and bloody past Oliver in what looked to be a very sticky situation; something tells me that he'll be getting a whole lot bloodier in the flashbacks if Dolph Lundgren is playing an enemy. We probably won't need to suspend too much belief if Lundgren's character beats the stuffing out of Oliver. Stephen Amell is in great shape for his role as Oliver Queen, but Dolph Lundgren is... well, Dolph Lundgren.
Arrow definitely won't be the first time that Dolph Lundgren plays an especially violent Russian. The 58-year old actor is best known for playing Soviet boxer Ivan Drago in 1985's Rocky IV. Drago beat Apollo Creed to death in the boxing ring. It was only thanks to Rocky's steely resolve that he defeated Drago, avenged Apollo, and defeated communism. Okay, maybe not that last one. Still, Drago put up such a fight that Rocky's victory felt like a triumph of epic proportions. We should probably expect that Oliver won't get a Rocky-esque win over Dolph Lundgren's character until he sustains some serious damage.
The show only has one season of flashbacks left to transform Oliver from the guy who was still kinda sorta good on Lian Yu after four years of hell into the ruthless killer who emerged after five years of hell. Any character played by Dolph Lundgren can be counted on to push Oliver into becoming the weapon that he was in the present of Season 1. I feel tougher just for looking at his picture and not flinching. Surely an Oliver who survived a span of time as a target for anybody looking like Lundgren would emerge with a harder edge. Who knows? Maybe Lundgren's character has a special punch that knocks Russian fluency into his victims. Oliver needs to learn that language somehow, and a magical Russian language punch really wouldn't be the most unrealistic thing ever to happen on Arrow.
In all seriousness, the flashbacks of Season 5 are shaping up to be some of the most engaging since the early years. Oliver's misadventures in the past were pretty great in Seasons 1 and 2, but they meandered in Seasons 3 and 4. His immersion in the world of the Russian mob could be a great way to bring the flashback narrative to an end.