Season 5 is going to be a big year for Arrow as the show comes full circle on Oliver's five years of hell. He'll have some good stuff going on in the present complemented by a whole bunch of big bad Bratva stuff in the past. A lot of new faces are on board for Oliver's next set of adventures, and the latest will be played by a Justified actor who could be perfect for his role. David Meunier will appear as Bratva bigwig Ishmael Gregor and play a key role in the Season 5 flashbacks.
Ishmael Gregor will be the imposing Pakhan - or "Godfather" - of the Bratva during Oliver's time in Russia. He outranks Oliver's mobster pal Anatoly, and he'll take a special interest in the young American man with the eye toward joining the Russian mob. All signs point toward Oliver making a big and bloody entrance when he meets the Bratva, and it's entirely possible that attention from the Pakhan could be either very good for Oliver, but probably very bad.
The character is just the latest to be adapted from DC Comics for the small screen. Ishmael Gregor of comic lore was a Russian crime boss whose thirst for power led him to crave the magical abilities of the powerful demon Sabbac. Given that magic was a huge element in Arrow Season 4, it won't come as a huge shock if the Arrow version of Gregor is curious about demons. Still, the early report courtesy of Deadline indicates that Arrow will focus more on his ambitions that are based in reality than on the supernatural. The character will recur throughout Season 5, so David Meunier should have an important part to play in Oliver's ongoing journey through the ranks of the Bratva.
David Meunier is best known for his role as Johnny Crowder on the FX drama Justified. Crowder was a career criminal in a family of career criminals that drove the action of Justified. Meunier played Crowder for nearly forty hours of television, so he clearly has extensive experience in playing a bad guy. (Gregor should be happy he never had to meet Raylan Givens.) More recently, Meunier tackled the role of a detective in the short-lived A&E horror drama Damien, and he played one of Charlie Manson's allies in both seasons of NBC's Aquarius. Meunier should have the right genre experiences to nail his role as Ishmael Gregor. Interestingly, Arrow will be Meunier's second superhero series in two years, as he also appeared in two episodes of NBC's 2015 Heroes Reborn miniseries.
The Arrow flashbacks of Season 5 promise to take Oliver places he's never gone before as he completes the final leg of his journey that transformed him from a poorly-coiffed playboy into a human weapon. Dolph Lundgren will appear as a Russian strongman with connections to Oliver's Season 4 island companion Taiana, and David Nykl will be back as the awesome Anatoly. All in all, the Season 5 blasts from the past look like they could be far more compelling than those of Season 4.
Arrow returns to The CW on Wednesday, October 5 at 8 p.m. ET. Check out our breakdown of what we know so far about Arrow Season 5 for a peek ahead at what's to come, and don't forget to take a look at our fall TV premiere schedule.