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Oliver Queen has faced his fair share of villains on Arrow over the years. He was antagonized by Malcolm Merlyn in Season 1, he dealt with Slade Wilson’s revenge scheme in Season 2 and he defeated Ra’s al Ghul this past May to cap off Season 3. Unfortunately for Oliver, hanging up his hood and bow doesn’t mean bad guys are magically gone. When Season 4 kicks off, he’ll be facing possibly his most intimidating adversary yet, and it could be someone fans have already heard about.
Comicbook.com has transcripts for two videos (that have since been deleted) of actors auditioning for a role listed as “Simon,” which is either an alias or just a pseudonym that the Arrow folks are using to conceal the character's true identity. The first scene has “Simon” speaking with Oliver and mentioning a past connection with Ra’s al Ghul. Simon has brought Oliver before him for unknown reasons, and as the conversation goes on, it’s clear this man is not to be trifled with. Not only does Simon point out that Ra’s feared him, but he’s also more dangerous than Merlyn and Slade, the other “pretenders” Oliver has faced.
The second scene features Simon before a man who is begging for his life, and the antagonist is disgusted by the man’s groveling, and talks about how he once felt vulnerable and at someone’s mercy. This was remedied when he cut off all emotional ties to anyone, resulting in him no longer capable of being threatened and no longer feeling fear.
The article speculates this Simon is actually Damien Darhk, Ra’s al Ghul’s former ally in the League of Assassins, and they’re almost certainly right. In the episode “Al Sah-him,” Ra’s told Oliver about how Darhk believed he should be the one leading the League, but was angered when Ra’s (i.e. Matt Nable’s character) was chosen instead. Ra’s was ordered to kill Darhk, but he hesitated, and Darhk was able to escape with his followers and some water from the Lazarus Pit. Although there is the tiniest chance this could be someone else, the dialogue from the videos lines up with Darhk’s background perfectly.
Darhk now leads H.I.V.E., which was first name-dropped in Season 2 as the organization that hired Deadshot to kill John Diggle’s brother Andy. H.I.V.E. has been frequently teased to appear at some point by the cast and crew, and we learned from Ra’s that they’re behind other events seen in Seasons 2 and 3, like trying to buy Malcolm Merlyn’s earthquake machine, providing safe passage for terrorist Gholem Qadir into Markovia, and hiring Mark Shaw to steal a secret file from A.R.G.U.S. In the Season 3 finale, Ra’s sent Oliver to kill Darhk, but the former League member blew town before they could find him. What little we’ve heard of Darhk paints him as a man who’s keen on spreading destruction across the world for his own purposes, so if this is who Oliver will be battling, the hero is in for a tough season.
Arrow will return with new episodes in its same timeslot on The CW this October.