Stephen Amell, Manu Bennett
Arrow's second season will be stepping up the action by featuring not just one overarching villain, but two!
Although the first season featured several smaller villains — The Count (Seth Gabel) and Edward Fyers (Sebastian Dunn), among them — Arrow's season-long big bad was Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), who apparently died at the hands of Oliver (Stephen Amell) in the season finale.
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"We made no secret of the fact that we subscribe to the Whedonesque model of having a big bad, and in Season 2, we'll actually have two big bads," executive producer Marc Guggenheim tells TVGuide.com. "They'll both be very recognizable names to fans of the comic book. We're really excited about both of them."
Interestingly enough, Malcolm Merlyn has inspired the direction of the second season. "With Malcolm and the Dark Archer, we sort of had two big bads in one person," he says. "In Season 2, we're going to split them up essentially, and there will be a Malcolm-esque big bad and a Dark Archer-esque big bad."
Naturally, fans of the Green Arrow comics may guess that Deathstroke will be the Dark Archer-esque villain of Season 2, with Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) destined to put on that infamous mask. Running the theory past Guggenheim, he responds, "If the question of Season 1 is, 'What happened to Oliver on that island?' The question of Season 2 is, 'What happened to Slade Wilson on that island?'"
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Regardless of who the two villains are, Guggenheim vows that the second season will be even more action-packed and exciting than the first. "We're definitely trying to take the show to the next level in Season 2," he says. "Obviously we're feeling a lot of pressure, but also a huge desire to return with a few big bold statements that the show is not quieting down. If anything, it's ramping up. It's going to be cool. I'm really excited about both villains. We've set the bar pretty high for ourselves in terms of ending with a bang, and we're looking to exceed that in Season 2.
Who do you think will be the two new big bads next season? Hit the comments with your thoughts!
Arrow returns this fall on The CW.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by a joint venture between Lionsgate and CBS, the latter which also owns The CW in a joint venture with Warner Bros. Entertainment.)