Arrow's biggest big bad at the moment has to be Tobias Church, who is wreaking havoc on the streets of Star City in the present. We'll soon be getting another seriously scary villain, but this one will be causing all kinds of trouble for Oliver in the flashbacks. Dolph Lundgren will soon make his debut as the Russian strongman Kovar, and showrunner Marc Guggenheim promises that he'll be unlike most bad guys who have come before. Guggenheim recently shed some light on the character, saying this:
Kovar is very much a villain certainly in the Arrow vein, which is to say he's pretty badass, he's pretty evil, but he, of course, does not think of himself as such. He thinks of himself as doing the right thing, which, in that sense, makes him very similar to a lot of the villains that we've had in the past. What is interesting about Kovar is he has a mix of intelligence and physical presence that we haven't necessarily seen. He's physically bigger than a lot of our villains that we've had in the past.
Kovar was first mentioned back in Season 4 when Oliver's flashback friend Taiana revealed that he was menacing her village back in Russia. Oliver promised that he would free her village from Kovar's rule, and he's spent most of his time in the Season 5 flashbacks building the skills it would take to kill Kovar. His old Bratva buddy Anatoly warned Oliver that the only way that he could possibly defeat Kovar is with the backing of the Russian mob, so it makes sense that Kovar would be imposing both with his intelligence and his ginormous size.
It's been a given since the announcement that Dolph Lundgren would appear on Arrow that his ginormous size would play a part in his role as Oliver's enemy. Marc Guggenheim's reveal to EW that Kovar is smart as well as sizable goes a long way to explain why Anatoly has been so sure that Oliver's odds against Kovar aren't great. Lundgren really is bigger than most of the bad guys that Oliver has faced, and he apparently won't have superpowers or magic that Oliver could take away to turn the tide as he did with some of his past enemies. Size matters on a superhero show when the leading man doesn't have any superpowers.
Considering that Oliver obviously survived his time in Russia and was able to come home and become the scourge of the Starling elite in Season 1, he'll obviously survive his encounters with Kovar. Still, going by what Dolph Lundgren can do, Oliver's face may be rearranged a time or two before he gets the win. Just check out this scuffle from Command Performance for a sneak peek of what Kovar may be capable of against Oliver:
Only time will tell how much of an edge Kovar's combination of size and intelligence gives him over Oliver in the Bratva. The flashbacks have already been a step up from the flashbacks of Season 4. Hopefully Dolph Lundgren will make them even better than ever. Tune in to The CW on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET to see more of Oliver's flashback adventures in Russia on Arrow. Kovar will turn up in the sixth episode of Season 5, so we don't have too much longer to wait to see him in the flesh.