Arrow has finally cast one of its principal villains for season 6, with Kirk Acevedo being set to play Richard Dragon. Coming off what many considered a creative resurgence in season 5 (thanks in part to a more grounded story and a compelling villain in Prometheus), Arrow last left off with a game-changing cliffhanger that saw the island of Lian Yu blown up and Prometheus dead at his own hands. While the fates of key members of Team Arrow remain uncertain, executive producer Marc Guggenheim thereafter revealed that Richard Dragon will be the villain in season 6.
While seasons 3 and 4 of Arrow elected for more magically-powered villains in Ra’s al Ghul and Damien Darhk, season 5 brought the show back to its more realistic roots in Adrian Chase’s Prometheus (Josh Segarra), who had a personal vendetta against protagonist Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell). Along with being the first season not to include island-related flashbacks, season 6 will also keep Dragon’s character more grounded like Prometheus before him.
According to Deadline, Acevedo has officially been cast as Ricardo Diaz, a common identity for the Richard Dragon character in the comics. Described as an ex-con who spent time in prison for a crimes he was falsely accused of, Dragon comes into Arrow season 6 looking to take over the criminal underworld of Star City.
In certain comic runs, Dragon takes up the mantle of a hero, but Arrow seems to be borrowing certain elements from the character’s New 52 run - where Diaz directly faces off with the Green Arrow and even sends the Longbow Hunters after Queen at one point, before being taken down by Green Arrow and John Diggle (David Ramsey in Arrow). Not that Arrow has ever really been beholden to the comics up to this point, but Dragon’s introduction definitely opens up new possibilities for Guggenheim and the producers.
Dragon won’t be the only villain to appear in season 6, however, and some fans wonder if the newest season will adopt a similar approach to last season - which featured Tobias Church (Chad Coleman) in a multi-episode arc before being killed off. Could Arrow start including a revolving door of villains for Oliver and the rest of Team Arrow to face next season? That remains to be seen, but the producers’ promise of exploring backstories of more villainous characters (like Black Siren) could mean a more villain-focused season.
Either way, a veteran actor like Acevedo (known for his roles on shows like Oz, Fringe and 12 Monkeys) should bring a lot of legitimacy to a vital and complex character like Richard Dragon. Hopefully, the team behind Arrow can continue the show’s new-found creative energy and deliver another season close to the quality of 5, with the episodes ahead.
Arrow season 6 premieres Thursday, October 12 at 9pm on The CW.