NOTE: Spoilers from the third season finale of Arrow are present in this article
Oliver Queen’s business with the League of Assassins doesn’t appear to be completely over, despite successfully killing their leader, Ra’s Al Ghul during the Season Three finale back in May. Oliver and Felicity may have driven off into the sunset, with Oliver appearing to abandon his former vigilante mantle as The Arrow, but as we can expect, he won’t be away from the position for long. The CW has just announced that Season Four’s big bad has been cast.
Suits alum, Neal McDonough has won the role of Damien Darhk, one of the principal antagonists of the show’s upcoming fourth season. Darhk was mentioned more than once in Season Three, where Ra’s Al Ghul spared his life in a duel and eventually had a falling out with him, leading to Darhk pillaging some League of Assassins resources to form the criminal organization, H.I.V.E. An associate of Darhk’s also appeared during the Season Three finale, where he confirmed that Darhk had left Starling City, immediately before the League of Assassins attacked with the Alpha/Omega bio-weapon. Before even that however, H.I.V.E. was name-dropped by Diggle’s nemesis, Deadshot in Season Two, where Deadshot confirmed that H.I.V.E. was the organization that hired him to assassinate Diggle’s brother, for unknown reasons.
McDonough marks one of a handful of actors who has successfully jumped between the Marvel and DC universes in the realm of live-action comic book media. He previously portrayed Marvel WWII veteran, Dum Dum Dugan, first in 2011 movie, Captain America: The First Avenger, then reprised the role of Dugan in the first season of Agent Carter from the start of this year. Given McDonough’s heavy involvement in Arrow now however, it’s unlikely that Dugan will be re-appearing for Agent Carter’s second season, which will probably air once again during the midseason hiatus of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in January and February.
Both Damien Darhk and H.I.V.E. originated in DC Comics, with H.I.V.E. having the more major role throughout DC lore. Darhk was a minor character from New Earth between 1999 and 2000, where he did indeed have connections to H.I.V.E., and was a major criminal on FBI and CIA watchlists. Despite his genius intellect, vast array of resources and deceptive appearance of young age however, Darhk ended up being apparently shot to death by the immortal Vandal Savage (who, coincidentally, is the main antagonist of the next Arrow/The Flash spin-off, Legends of Tomorrow when it debuts next year), though it was later confirmed that Darhk survived, and has gone off the grid since.
H.I.V.E. however is one of the largest villain organizations in DC lore, standing for ‘Hierarchy of International Vengeance and Extermination’, at least at first, before the New 52 DC Comics reboot retconned the name to now stand for ‘Holistic Integration for Viral Equality.’ The organization has largely served as foes of the Teen Titans, though they’ve also come into conflict with Superman. Their most well-known members include Deathstroke, who was the principal villain of Arrow’s second season, and Talia Al Ghul, the daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul that was played by Marion Cotillard in 2012 Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. Interestingly, H.I.V.E. in DC Comics is also responsible for turning Caitlin Snow into ice-powered villain, Killer Frost, with a pre-Killer Frost Caitlin currently being one of the main characters on Arrow’s companion series, The Flash. Her icy transformation was teased briefly during the first season finale of The Flash however, which aired just under a week after Arrow’s third season finale.
Arrow will debut its fourth season on Wednesday, October 7th, in its usual timeslot of 8:00-9:00 P.M. The Flash will begin its second season a day previously, on Tuesday, October 6th, again at 8:00-9:00 P.M.
Keep shooting Eggplante for all news and updates on Arrow, and other developments in The CW’s DC Television Universe.