Though it may not be a big surprise to keen Arrow fans, Season 3's big villain was officially unveiled at Comic-Con on Saturday night.
In an extended trailer shown at a Warner Bros. fan event, the DC Comics villain Ra's al Ghul was revealed via repurposed dialogue from the Season 1 episode "Dead to Rights," in which Malcolm Merlyn discussed his time in Nanda Parbat. Hit play below to see (and hear) for yourself:
The leader of the League of Assassins, Ra's al Ghul was a looming presence throughout Arrow's first two seasons, with Malcolm being revealed as the only person who Ra's had ever allowed to leave the League. Of course, Ra's came to regret that decision after Malcolm's role in the Undertaking, and now Ra's wants to kill Malcolm.
Meanwhile, in Season 2, Oliver learned that not only did Sara become a member of the League after getting off the island, she also started dating Ra's's (worst possessive ever?) daughter, Nyssa al Ghul. When last we saw Sara, she was leaving Starling City with Nyssa in the Season 2 finale.
"We wanted to present Oliver with a new challenge with a villain that would speak to what Oliver was going through emotionally," executive producer Andrew Kreisberg explained to TV.com. "This season, Oliver is wrestling with, 'Is there a life for me beyond being the Arrow?' What the Season 3 villain comes to Oliver and says is, 'The reason you're not fully successful as the Arrow is because you're holding onto Oliver Queen. I have let go of my identity and embraced my cause and you should do the same.' It's a whole new thing where the enemy actually, in some ways, admires the Arrow and what he's doing. He just thinks that the Arrow is thinking too small."
Interestingly enough, the introduction of Ra's al Ghul in Season 3 might actually force Oliver to work with the Dark Archer, who took his sister Thea out of Starling City at the end of Season 2. "We've already established that the Season 3 villain has a strong animosity toward Malcolm," Kreisberg said. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend. It's going to be a lot of asking, 'Who hates who more?'"
However, it's not yet clear what the arrival of Ra's will mean for Sara and Nyssa. "Alliances and loyalty are another big theme of the season," Kreisberg said. "There's another war coming and whose side people are going to be on is going to be the thing that drives the season."
Casting for the role is currently underway.
Are you excited to see Ra's al Ghul on Arrow? Who do you think should play him?