[WARNING: The following article contains SPOILERS (obviously) for Arrow Season 5]
Well, this certainly wasn't expected. After fan sentiment seemed to strongly tip in the direction of Arrow's fifth season needing to return to the show's grounded, grittier roots, the showrunners were quick to respond. Since the Season 4 finale, star Stephen Amell teased a villain that would capitalize on the show's prior season, and would most definitely not sport any superpowers. Now, it seems that the villain vigilante in question has been revealed - along with the actor set to play the part.
All involved had been teasing a new "vigilante" who would return the show to its own origins, with further teases that the character would be fueled by "vengeance," and the answer doesn't disappoint - especially for fans of DC Comics' more 'adult' characters. Oliver Queen, prepare to do battle with Adrian Chase a.k.a. Vigilante.
The report comes courtesy of Deadline, who report that the role of Adrian Chase has been cast by Chicago P.D.'s Josh Segarra. The outlet characterizes the role as an "ally" to Mayor Oliver Queen, aiming to clean up the streets using the legal system... but comic book fans who know the progression of Chase's character - and TV fans who have been following what to expect from the next big bad - it's almost guaranteed that the masked man is the shadow of the Arrow who will force Oliver Queen to face a foe he never imagined.
For those who may not be familiar with the character, Adrian Chase began his arc as a New York District Attorney, fighting the good fight to bring down the city's toughest and most violent criminals. But when he puts away a mob boss, the kingpin's goons make him pay: killing his wife and two children. The result - and this may sound familiar to fans of Marvel's Punisher and Daredevil - is a new identity with which to clean up the streets. Now, the term 'villain' may not be the best descriptor here, since Chase begins by using close to lethal force to bring down criminals - still more restrained than Oliver was when he began. But as one life is accidentally taken, and the grief and despair start to torment him, Adrian Chase becomes a threat in the eyes of every other vigilante and superhero.
Assuming that a similar story would play out on the show (and if Adrian Chase has been added to the cast, that would only make sense, since his descent truly is his story), then he would first enter the world of Arrow as an ally to newly-elected Mayor Oliver Queen. Since the previous description of the villain as "irrepressibly charming," who will "just as easily shake your hand as your best friend or break your neck as your worst enemy" implied a more complex villain than usual, the role of an ally who is revealed as the villain makes sense. Heck, The Flash did it - TWICE. And if nothing else, Arrow taking some cues from its runaway hit colleague wouldn't be a bad idea at all.
The cast and crew were right to tease that this character will take Oliver Queen back to his roots, since he's the exact kind of character that Oliver was in his debut season. Unfortunately, there's no real way of keeping this character's ultimate role in the story under wraps (as was possible with The Flash's 'Jay Garrick'). Still, it's the kind of grounded, violent, vengeance-fueled, street-level villain (one might even call reminiscent of The Wire) that may be just what's needed to return Arrow to its strongest footing.
Arrow season 4 finale airs on May 25, 2016. Supergirl returns for season 2 in the fall on The CW. The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8pm on The CW, Arrow in the same timeslot on Wednesdays, and Legends of Tomorrow on Thursdays.
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