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Arrow ended an era with the Season 5 finale, literally blowing up the hellish island that has been motivating Oliver for the past decade of his life. The finale also took care of two of his three remaining supervillains, and the third seems to be reformed back into an upstanding-ish citizen. The stage is set for a brand new big bad to take Team Arrow by storm in Season 6. We don't know a whole lot about the bad guys of Season 6 just yet, but we now have reason to wonder if one legendary DC Comics villain will make her way to Star City. Could Lady Shiva herself be the next big bad?
The next big bad has yet to be cast, but TVLine reports that it will be a character who many fans have been wishing for over the years of Arrow so far. Obviously there are a ton of DC Comics villains who could fit the bill as a big bad, but there aren't too many that fans have been clamoring for consistently over the last five years. Lady Shiva has been making fan wish lists for years now, and Season 6 could be the ideal time for her to enter Oliver's life. The pieces are all in place for her to be the logical next big bad.
For one thing, Lady Shiva is a huge character in DC Comics. An assassin-for-hire, she is regarded by many within the DC Comics universe as one of the best living fighters, using her bare hands and finely honed talents to take out her targets. She has appeared in a number of different comics, although she is especially closely associated with Batman, and any Arrow fans knows that the show has... borrowed pretty heavily from Batman stories in the past. In fact, Lady Shiva was the person who taught Batman how to fight again after he had his back broken by Bane. On a show that has already brought in the likes of Deathstroke and Ra's al Ghul, a big character from comic lore would make sense.
For another thing, Lady Shiva doesn't have superpowers. Arrow has been at its best when Oliver is pitted against very human enemies who can't rely on metahuman abilities or alien powers to become deadly dangerous. The stakes on Arrow always feel higher when there's no magic or mysticism or resurrecting pools on hand. A villainess who could be Oliver's most dangerous big bad to date without superpowers could really elevate Season 6.
Then, there's the fact that the Lady Shiva of DC Comics canon is an unrepentant killer. As by far the darkest superhero show on The CW, Arrow has always needed its villains to be more brutal than those on The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. If there aren't going to be superpowers or magic or time machines, there need to some fantastically frightening villains in their own right, and Lady Shiva could qualify.
Finally, Lady Shiva as the big bad would make for something Arrow has never done before. She would be the very first female supervillain on the series. Sure, we had Isabel Rochev in Season 2 and Talia al Ghul in Season 5 as associates of the supervillain, and baddies like Huntress, Black Siren, and Cupid have made messes in Star City, but we haven't gotten a woman as the villain of a season of Arrow. Lady Shiva could absolutely be the first.
On that note, if Lady Shiva is the first female supervillain on Arrow, I can only hope that Arrow does right by her. The actress who lands the role will need to be able to sell the action that would undoubtedly be part of the character. Arrow (and Legends of Tomorrow) have been able to do amazing stunts with Sara due to Caity Lotz' abilities as a stuntwoman, whereas actresses who don't have as much of a stunt background have had their faces poorly concealed with wigs for action sequences. If we get Lady Shiva, we need to be able to see her performing her own kills.
As a female viewer, I know I'd be just fine if she got an outfit without a plunging neckline, bare midriff, and/or fishnets. I'm happy to suspend my disbelief for The CW's superhero universe, but impractical fighting outfits are tough to swallow. It was bad enough when Oliver went sleeveless. It clearly gets cold in Star City, and bare flesh is dangerous when there are arrows and bullets and fists flying!
We'll have to wait and see. Given that we know that the Season 6 big bad will be somebody fans have been asking for, Lady Shiva could be a logical choice and take Arrow into a new era as a new kind of supervillain. Check out our breakdown of what we know so far about Arrow Season 6 for a peek ahead, and swing by our summer TV premiere schedule to discover what you can watch the pass the time until the season premiere in the fall.