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Things in Oliver Queen's life won't stay very bright and cheery for long. With Season 5 of Arrow on the way, his adventures will soon go to a dark and gritty place -- particularly in the Russian-based flashback sequences. To hammer home that grittiness, the series recently enlisted the help of action icon Dolph Lundgren to raise hell for the Emerald Archer. According to Executive Producer Wendy Mericle, we should expect him to become one of the most interesting and imposing Arrow villains to date. She specifically said:
[Dolph's character] is a government strongman. He is scary and formidable --- and he had a role in some stuff with Taiana's family last season. He's a bit of a badass.
Wendy Mericle recently spoke to TVLine to shed some light on how Dolph Lundgren's character will influence the tone and style of the Arrow flashbacks. By her estimation, he's an undeniable "badass," although we probably could've already guessed that. Oliver's refusal to return to Starling City at the end of Season 4 will lead him to Russia (something we've long waited for), and this big bad will represent his final crucible before deciding that he's ready for his inevitable homecoming. Mericle elaborated that Dolph Lundgren's character would have ties to the Russian government, and have a hand in the events that transpired within Taiana's family prior to her imprisonment on Lian Yu.
A Russian government strongman who shows up to cause trouble for our American hero? Sounds like Dolph Lundgren will have to dust off some of his Ivan Drago acting techniques from Rocky IV to really pull this off. I'm calling it right now; if he says "I must break you" to Oliver I will consider the entire season a complete success.
The flashbacks went a little bit off the rail during Arrow's fourth season, but it's plain to see where the action is headed going into Season 5. With Oliver forced to kill Taiana on Lian Yu in order to prevent her from becoming consumed by Baron Reiter's black magic, he decided to head to Russia in order to see her family and fulfill his promise: telling them what happened to her and her brother on that god forsaken island. This will see him once again making contact with Anatoly Knyazev in the Bratva (not see since Season 2) and lead to a direct conflict with Dolph Lundgren's character. Expect far less magic, and far more street-level action sequences this time around.
Of course, it's still worth noting that this doesn't bring us much closer to figuring out exactly how the conflict between Stephen Amell's Oliver Queen and Dolph Lundgren's Russian badass will ultimately go down. We know that the Green Arrow did something truly epic to earn his Bratva tattoo and attain high-ranking membership to the seedy organization, so I have a feeling that killing this legendary Russian bad guy may ultimately be the thing that solidifies Oliver as the insanely lethal anti-hero that we met in the first season of Arrow.
Cinema Blend will bring you any and all relevant details related to the upcoming season of Arrow as more information becomes available to us. The fifth season of the Emerald Archer's solo series will return on Wednesday, October 5 at 8 p.m. PST/EST; make sure to check out our comprehensive fall TV premiere guide and mark your schedules accordingly.