Will Arrow Introduce The Ninth Circle As The Next Major Threat?

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With all that’s been occurring on this season of Arrow, it’s actually kind of difficult to say just who the big bad is. After all, Ricardo Diaz is currently in ARGUS custody and Oliver Queen has his hands full with Emiko, though she’s hardly a villain. The Longbow Hunters proved to be a thorn in the sides of our heroes, sure, but they came off as glorified henchmen rather than chief antagonists in an overall narrative.

In fact, our biggest hint at what’s to come has been teased by John Diggle’s intensifying hunt for the mysterious terrorist known as Dante. At first, my brain admittedly conjured images of the lead character from the Devil May Cry series of video games, though I’m quite certain executive producer Beth Schwartz and company have been looking to more recent Green Arrow comics for inspiration, specifically those penned by Benjamin Percy near the start of the Rebirth era.

In those, Ollie had been forced to deal with a shadowy cabal known as the Ninth Circle, a clandestine group with a board of directors made up by the heads of various multinational corporations. Not only is this a criminal organization, but it’s also a bank funding dastardly operations around the globe. To offer an oversimplification of the concept, think of the Court of Owls on a grander scale, though not quite the same thing.

When it comes to Dante (you can check out his ugly mug via the accompanying image), he heads up the group. And to live up to his namesake, he does so from a complex dubbed “the Inferno.” Plus, he employs an elite squad known at “the Burned,” who look every bit as grotesque as they sound. Whether or not we see all this adapted for television remains to be seen, but I’m guessing the basics will be there because his live action counterpart has already been said to have links to Kobra, Basilisk and the Third World Liberation Army. Yes, he’s quite the mover and shaker.

Even with the evidence mounting, I’m not sure if Arrow‘s producers will go whole hog with the Ninth Circle – at least not until season 8. Don’t forget, Ra’s al Ghul, Damien Darhk and the Longbow Hunters were each teased the season before they were actually introduced. Dante, however, could show up later this spring, but my gut says more pertaining to him will be saved for down the line.

Truth be told, I think this Dante has his dirty fingers in more pies than one would assume at the moment. While Diggle takes the Ghost Initiative out for a spin in search of him (because this show isn’t allowed to use the phrase “Suicide Squad” anymore), I think Oliver and Emiko will arrive at the same destination from opposite ends.

Those of you familiar with Percy’s Green Arrow run will remember how Emiko was briefly affiliated with the Ninth Circle at one time, but I think it’s her mother who got tied up with them in this telling of the story. This is just speculation on my part, but we should consider that the bullet responsible for her death was bought and paid for by Dante. If so, expect for Emiko to pay back the debt for her late parent.

Like I said, not every element from the comics will carry over to screen, but the emergence of this new threat should make the remaining episodes of Arrow season 7 all the more intriguing. Until we learn more, be sure to keep watching on Monday nights on The CW.

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