One of the interesting little tidbits that came out of the Arrow season 6 Comic-Con panel, save for getting more Manu Bennett and the AWESOME news about Michael Emerson coming on board, was the reveal that the show’s not planning a traditional Big Bad this time around. For the past five seasons, there’s been one specific person who you can point to as the person causing Oliver the most torment — Malcolm Merlyn, Slade Wilson, Ra’s al Ghul, Damien Darhk, and Adrian Chase.
This time around, you’ve got multiple people who may take on the title at some point: Black Siren, Vigilante, and potentially Emerson’s character (there are rumors out there about who he is playing, but no confirmation on it). You don’t cast someone like the Person of Interest alum unless your idea is to give him some super-meaty material to work with, hence our suggestion that he’s an adversary.
There are likely more villains to come beyond just this, especially since we don’t know if Slade’s ultimately going to be a good guy now and if there are some new characters that Marc Guggenheim and Wendy Mericle are circling on the magic writers-room whiteboard.
What we do feel strongly about is that Arrow is doing the right thing here, even if it’s a big risk and something that not everyone out there may like right away. Season 5 was outstanding, and is probably the best batch of episodes for any show within the DC – CW universe for a rather long time. It could’ve done without some of the romantic subplots here and there, but it was intense, dramatic, and had an outstanding, Emmy-worthy performance from Josh Segarra at the center of it. Had the writers and producers opted to do the same sort of thing this time around with a new Big Bad who was in the show start to finish, they’d have to deal with constant people on the internet being like “oh, they’re not as good as Prometheus. Bring him back.” (Of course, they’re completely ignoring the fact that Chase is dead, and sometimes it is better to leave the past in the past — the worst thing that Arrow could do to the Prometheus legacy is try to falsely extend that character’s life.)
Another thing that is important here is that the writers bring in villains who are different than Prometheus in almost every way. Black Siren is ruthless, but while she has a vendetta now against Oliver because of some of their past battles, we actually view her as someone redeemable and a tortured soul thanks to a tragic past. Meanwhile, Vigilante is someone operating with a very specific doctrine, and his issue doesn’t seem to lie with Oliver at all as much as it does killing corruption right out of Star City. If Emerson’s character is a villain, odds are that he is going to be strictly cerebral since we don’t envision him getting in many fist-fights with anyone on the team. These are very different characters, and it could give the show a little bit of a Rogues’ Gallery similar to The Flash. Given that Arrow has more of a team now, it makes sense to have a community of bad guys in order to take on what is now largely a community of heroes.
Is the villains-by-committee approach the right one for Arrow season 6? We know that we ABSOLUTELY want to year your thoughts on the matter below!
Also, head over here to read more of our celebration regarding Bennett’s further return to the show.