Arrow Season 3 was all about the League of Assassins, Oliver Queen becoming Ra’s Al Ghul, and the current Ra’s Al Ghul making sure that Oliver Queen became the next Ra’s Al Ghul. It was not until the last few episodes of Season 1 did we learn of Ra’s Al Ghul’s former apprentice Damien Darhk. Darhk was, surprisingly, said to be worse than Ra’s Al Ghul and had no code. Darhk was marked for assassination, but escaped and was running his own organization. Until now, Arrow fans were not told much more about the Season 4 big bad, other than the fact that Oliver Queen thought he had met and defeated Damien Darhk initially in Season 3. Comicbook caught up with Neal McDonough to discuss the Arrow Season 4 big bad Damien Darhk.
Neal Mcdonough was very excited after many calls to Arrow producer Marc Guggenheim to play Damien Darhk. McDonough said he was excited to stretch his comedic muscles, but not exactly funny “ha ha,” but something much darhker.
“I like entertaining on the screen and I love comedy, which I never get to play, so my villains are always a little comical because that’s the only time I get to get my comedy jones out of my system. So we’ve really built this kind of nine-year-old kid who just wants that toy and if he doesn’t get that toy, he’s going to throw that monumental temper tantrum. That’s kind of the mindset for Damien Darhk. It’s not ruling the world; it has nothing to do with ruling the world. It’s “This is my plan, and I’m going to get it. And if I don’t get it, I’m going to be really mean to you. And I’m going to enjoy it”
McDonough’s approach to playing Damien Darhk seems a little bit unorthodox, until you hear his explanation, which includes the understanding that he literally knows nothing about Legends of Tomorrow villain Vandal Savage.
“Well, I’ve never watched it. The first time I sat down and watch an episode of Arrow for the first time was the [Season Four] premiere. I didn’t want to have any preconceived notions of who Ra’s al Ghul was, of who [Vandal] Savage is, who Malcolm is. I didn’t want to know anything about any of those characters and how they play them. I told that to Marc and Marc was like, ‘Oh! That’s kind of a great idea.’ Even when I read the scripts, I try not to read much more about the other characters because when I meet the other characters, I want it to be fresh. So it’s a different take on the villain. If you’re the good guy, you have to know everything. The villain is just so about himself that everything else doesn’t really matter.”
According to McDonough, Damien Darhk’s 122 years of life will be explored, but not completely in Arrow Season 4, as some will show up in Legends of Tomorrow. Though Ra’s Al Ghul in Arrow Season 3 had some human moments to him, McDonough say that Damien Darhk will have very little that is human about him. Though, in his past, Damien Darhk is far less darkly humorous and confident. Speaking of Ra’s Al Ghul, those who have seen Arrow Season 3 know there is a new Ra’s Al Ghul and his name is Malcolm Merlyn.
According to TV Line, Arrow producer Wendy Mericle says that Malcolm Merlyn is not going to be keeping the truce with Green Arrow for too long. Mericle said that Malcolm Merlyn will be returning to a “season 1 Malcolm Merlyn”, while being a good father and contending with Nyssa Al Ghul.
[Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Golden Trailer Awar]