It doesn’t look like Oliver will be relaxing in Russia. “Arrow” Season 5 will feature flashbacks that, once again, don’t take place on the island. The CW drama will show Oliver’s time with the Bratva (the Russian mafia) and highlight one of the men who made his time there particularly painful.
Dolph Lundgren will play the still unnamed villain, but showrunner Wendy Mericle teased that his character would be very powerful. “[Dolph’s character] is a government strongman,” Mericle told TVLine. “He is scary and formidable — and he had a role in some stuff with Taiana’s family last season. He’s a bit of a bad---.”
As the show moves away from magical villains, expect Lundgren’s villain, as well as everything else in the Russian flashbacks, to feel more lifelike than ever. Mericle said the writers did plenty of research on the Bratva and Russian prisons. “We really wanted to go gritty, dark, and make it feel very real,” she explained.
Though “Arrow” flashbacks haven’t recently been a highlight of the show, the writers have remained committed to revealing what happened to Oliver (Stephen Amell) during his time away from Star City. Mericle previously told TVLine that this year would be less of a struggle since they know where Oliver is headed.
“We know what we’re working up to,” she said in April. “The season will be easier to break because we have an endpoint, and we work backwards from there.”
It looks like Oliver will be working on his fighting skills in Russia. Stephen Amell posted a behind-the-scenes photo to Twitter last month that showed he was filming a flashback (as indicated by the long-haired wig) and was covered in blood and sweat.
While Oliver deals with Lundgren’s character in the past, he’ll have other villains to battle in the present. Tobias Church (Chad L. Coleman) will be uniting all the criminals in Star City to try and take down the Green Arrow. Oliver will need help from new vigilantes to stop him.
“Arrow” Season 5 premieres Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 8 p.m. EDT on The CW.