Arrow is currently gearing up for a busy fourth season on The CW. There are plot threads for upcoming spinoff Legends of Tomorrow to be set up, an appearance from the title character of NBC's canceled supernatural drama Constantine, another crossover event with Arrow's sister show, The Flash, and plenty of new villains for Oliver Queen and his gaggle of sidekicks to face off against.
Among the new villains is Damien Darhk, played by Neal McDonough, a former enemy of Ra's al Ghul and a new enemy for the Arrow. In the comics, Damien is a mysterious and dangerous character, with much of his power stemming from access to the very latest high-tech gadgetry. As is the case with any comic book adaptation, however, we should be prepared for Arrow to have a few surprises up its sleeve.
Speaking in an interview with Collider, Arrow executive producer Wendy Mericle offered a little more detail on Damien Darhk and how he compares to the other major rogues that have cycled through Arrow's revolving door of villainy. The main difference, she explained, is that Darhk doesn't even have the pretense of a noble cause; he's just a really bad guy.
"We had endless very intriguing discussions about who Damien is in the comic books, and how we change him and make him a part of our universe... He is definitely a super bad-ass, scary guy... We’ve had Malcolm and we’ve had Slade. If you start to break it down, they’re the villains, but they’re the heroes of their own story and you understand why they’re doing what they’re doing. Damien doesn’t have that. Damien is just pure evil. We wanted to explore that. We’ve never really done a sociopath on the show, and that’s what we’re exploring this year. That’s why we’re introducing him so fast and early in the season."
While the idea of a "pure evil" character has the potential to be a little two-dimensional, the trend of sympathetic villains - bad guys who think they are the good guy - is rife within The CW's comic book universe (and indeed in comic book properties in general), so Darhk's characterization could actually be an interesting break from tradition. Check out a photo of McDonough on set with Paul Blackthorne (Quentin Lance) below.
Oliver Queen's right-hand man John Diggle has thus far managed to resist full conversion to the superhero tradition of code names and costumes, but that's finally about to change in Season 4 of Arrow. Not only is Diggle finally getting a new outfit to disguise his identity when he's out fighting crime, Mericle also said that he's getting his very own vigilante alter ego.
"By necessity, he can’t be Diggle out in the field. I can’t tell you what the code name is, but he’s gonna have a fun, cool code name. He’ll start to embrace a little bit more of that dual identity conundrum that Oliver has been grappling with for three years now."
Actor David Ramsey has previously joked that Diggle's code name will be "Black Driver" - a reference to his role as Oliver's chauffeur - and it's possible that Diggle will attempt to maintain some kind of down-to-earth dignity even as he joins the mask-and-code-name club. That is, assuming he's not just going to become Green Lantern.
Arrow returns for Season 4 on Wednesday, October 7th, at 8PM on The CW; The Flash returns for Season 2 on Tuesday, October 6th, at 8PM on The CW; Legends of Tomorrow is expected to air on The CW in early 2016.