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Who's the ultimate Arrowverse villain?
From savage speedsters to angry aliens, vengeful archers, and immortal dictators, the villains of the Arrowverse have certainly left a mark on the Green Arrow (Stephen Amell), The Flash (Grant Gustin), Supergirl (Melissa Benoist), and the Legends of Tomorrow over the years. But who's the ultimate archenemy? EW has ranked the big bads of Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and DC's Legends of Tomorrow!
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16. Vandal Savage (DC's Legends of Tomorrow)
Built to be the villain to end all villains, Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) was first introduced in The Flash-Arrow crossover that ushered the Legends of Tomorrow into the Arrow-verse. An immortal threat created via a mysterious meteorite (later revealed to be futuristic technology from Thanagar), Vandal amassed power by cyclically killing Hawkman (Falk Henstchel) and Hawkgirl (Ciara Renée) every time they were reborn. But in truth, Vandal's desperate maniacal quest for world domination sprung from the jealous rage of Chay-Ara choosing Prince Khufu over him. Couple those motivations with the fact that his immortality meant the Legends spent the first season repeatedly trying and failing to thwart him until the finale, and Savage became a frustrating villain with a slog of a story.
Downfall: Vandal was ultimately killed across three different timelines, ensuring he could never return.
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15. Non and Indigo (Supergirl)
In the wake of his wife Astra's (Laura Benanti) death, Non (Chris Vance) took up the mission to essentially enslave humanity to prevent Earth's destruction in season 1. But where Astra was more of a desperate freedom fighter whose mission to save her world went too far, Non was a ruthless Kryptonian military commander who would stop at nothing to achieve their goals, even if that meant killing those who stood in his way. Non's lack of empathy, and the quick pace at which he teamed up with Indigo (Laura Vandervoort) — a supercomputer imprisoned in Fort Rozz for the attempted genocide of Krypton, with whom Non had a past sexual relationship — turned him into a mustache-twirling villain who ultimately wanted to destroy mankind just to spite Supergirl.
Downfall: Non was lobotomized, while Indigo was pulled apart by J'onn J'onzz.
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14. Flashback Villains (Arrow)
The flashback villains on Arrow have trended toward secondary roadblocks with no real consequence considering we knew Oliver would be alive within five years time and back in Star City. In season 1, Edward Fyers (Sebastian Dunn) worked for Amanda Waller to kill China White (Kelly Hu), ultimately serving as a hinderance to Oliver getting off the island. Season 2 stepped up with Dr. Ivo (Dylan Neal) trying to save his wife by finding super soldier serum Mirakuru on Lian Yu, accidentally turning Slade Wilson (Manu Bennet) into everyone's worst nightmare. But the subsequent two seasons dropped off again, with season 3 finding Oliver in Hong Kong, where the corrupt Army general Shrieve (Marc Singer) tried to unleash a bio-weapon, and season 4's flashbacks going off the rails, returning to Lian Yu for Baron Reiter's (Jimmy Akingbola) quest for magic. With season 5 being the final year of flashbacks, the ominous Kovar (Dolph Lundgren) has been physically threatening, sure, but the emotional weight of his presence remains to be seen.
Downfall: Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. TBD.
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13. Maxwell Lord (Supergirl)
It was never truly clear where Maxwell Lord's (Peter Facinelli) allegiances lied in season 1. The genius physicist and CEO of Lord Technologies had a Lex Luthor-like determination to find out Supergirl's real identity, testing her powers along the way in order to create a Bizarro version of her. Though he once assisted the DEO in saving Kara from the Black Mercy, he also preached against Supergirl to the public by calling her a criminal whose race would invade Earth. Alas, Max was left behind when Supergirl moved to The CW, so his ultimate goal may never be realized.
Downfall: Free, for now.
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12. Prometheus (Arrow)
A villain of Oliver's making, Prometheus was revealed to be the son of a man on the infamous list that Oliver killed in season 1, though his identity is still being kept under wraps. Also known as the Throwing Star Killer — do better, Star City reporters — Prometheus had been targeting victims whose names formed anagrams of the people on The List, so viewers should've seen this coming. Prometheus even wears a dark super suit much like Oliver did in the first season, hiding his face, which likely means that he is a character we already know. In a season exploring Oliver's legacy, Prometheus's identity offers tantalizing possibilities as each episode drops more clues as to what he ultimately wants from Oliver — you know, besides an arrow through his chest.
Downfall: TBD.Downfall: TBD.
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11. Hunter Zolomon (The Flash)
Hunter Zolomon (Teddy Sears) was basically a sociopath with a god complex who gained powers on Earth-2 when the particle accelerator exploded. As a result of creating a Velocity serum to go even faster, Zolomon was afflicted with an illness and searched the multiverse to find a cure, stealing the identity of Jay Garrick (John Wesley Shipp) and infiltrating Team Arrow to mentor Barry Allen with the nefarious plan to steal his speed. Desperate for leadership in the wake of Harrison Wells/Eobard Thawne's betrayal, the team was all too happy to listen to Faux-Jay — he even started a relationship with Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), making it more all the more heartbreaking when Zolomon was eventually unmasked as the big bad speedster Zoom, hell-bent on conquering the multiverse by destroying every other version of Earth in season 2.
Downfall: Barry summoned Time Wraiths, who transformed Zolomon into Black Flash, a Grim Reaper for speedsters.
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10. Doctor Alchemy and Savitar (The Flash)
When Barry Allen returned from the Flashpoint timeline early in season 3, a new villain emerged in the form of Doctor Alchemy, who used the Philosopher's Stone to grant people powers who had them in the Flashpoint timeline, including Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale). Doctor Alchemy was revealed to be Barry's meta-hating grumpy new CSI partner Julian Albert (Tom Felton) in the current timeline, but he's working for someone (or something) even more terrifying: Savitar, who is using Alchemy as a means to rise again. One of Savitar's acolytes has said that when his master rises, humanity will be judged, so while we don't know his ultimate plans just yet, that's certainly a bleak prospect considering Savitar considers himself a god. Savitar is also apparently able to share a vision of the future — one in which Killer Frost is very powerful. Both villains' presence are as a direct result of Barry meddling with time, which has divided the team and added a new layer of drama in season 3.
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9. Damien Darhk (Arrow)
A former member of the League of Assassins, Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) had mystical properties, including the ability to drain a life force as well as manipulate objects around him, making him a nearly unbeatable foe, which pushed Oliver to his limits in season 4. The sadistic leader of H.I.V.E. had grand plans to create a nuclear holocaust in order to rule the post-apocalyptic world — a bit too grandiose, to be honest — but Damien also hit Team Arrow close to home as he was responsible for ordering the hit that paralyzed Felicity, as well as killing Laurel in retaliation for her father Quentin's deception.
Downfall: Fatally stabbed by Oliver with an arrow.
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8. Legion of Doom (DC's Legends of Tomorrow)
So far, the Legion consists of The Flash villain Reverse-Flash (Matt Letscher), as well as Arrow baddies Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) and Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), with Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) set to join them in the new year — a who's who of nemeses who have had a lasting impact on their respective shows and on viewers. As of now, Reverse-Flash has enlisted Damien Darhk to abandon his future Genesis mission, and given Malcolm hope of a future in which his son Tommy (Colin Donnell) is still alive, gathering artifacts to create an amulet that provides a holographic map to the Spear of Destiny, which has the power to rewrite reality. But first, the Legion must find Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) for some nefarious reason. Once fully assembled, the Legion's presence should prove difficult for Sara (Caity Lotz), the newly minted leader of the Legends, considering nearly the entire team of evil has had a big impact on her life.
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7. Project Cadmus (Supergirl)
A research facility formerly associated with the DEO, Cadmus was previously tasked with experimenting on aliens. Under the leadership of Lillian Luthor (Brenda Strong), Cadmus went rogue, seeking to eliminate the threat posed by extra terrestrials by using genetically engineered villains, like Metallo (Frederick Schmidt) and Cyborg Superman, a.k.a the real Hank Henshaw (David Harewood), to do their bidding. Cyborg Superman even used the blood of Supergirl to obtain information from the Fortress of Solitude about the mysterious Project Medusa, with the season 2 winter finale set to feature Cadmus unleashing a virus that instantly kills any alien in the vicinity. So yeah, Cadmus isn't messing around, following through on their evil plans with conviction, deftly allowing the show to delve into social issues, and raising the question of where Kara's new ally Lena Luthor's (Katie McGrath) allegiances lie.
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6. Ra's al Ghul (Arrow)
The ruthless leader of the League of Assassins, Ra's al Ghul (Matt Nable) lived for at least two centuries, thanks to the Lazarus Pit, during which time the League carried out thousands of hits against those deemed a danger to society. In the wake of Sara's death — as she was the love of his daughter Nyssa (Katrina Law) — Ra's implored Oliver to turn over Sara's killer or the League would slaughter innocent civilians in season 3. While Malcolm Merlyn was truly to blame, having drugged Thea (Willa Holland) into firing the arrows that claimed Sara's life, Oliver protected his sister by challenging Ra's to a trial by combat, during which he nearly died. After Ra's killed Thea, Oliver was forced to succeed him in exchange for reviving Thea in the Lazarus Pit. On Ra's' orders, Oliver wed Nyssa, and was told to destroy Staring City with a bio-weapon in order to fully ascend to the title of Ra's al Ghul — though it was all in service of Ra's attempting to finally kill his former friend-turned-nemesis Damien Darhk. Ra's, it seemed, had destroyed the hero we knew as Oliver Queen, leading him down a path of darkness, shocking both Team Arrow and viewers — until it was uncovered that Oliver had tricked Ra's in return, saving his city and ultimately slaying the Head of the Demon.
Downfall: Stabbed with the sword he once used to nearly kill Oliver.
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5. Rogues Gallery (The Flash)
Much like in the comics, The Flash has an entire Rogues Gallery of villains determined to make the Scarlet Speedster pay. As de facto leader, Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) impossibly convinced several other Flash villains to team up over the first two seasons, including Heatwave (Dominic Purcell), Weather Wizard (Liam McIntyre), The Mist (Anthony Carigan), Roy G. Bivolo (Paul Anthony), Golden Glider (Peyton List) and Peek-a-Boo (Britne Oldford), with the mantra that divided they end up in the pipeline, but together they have a real shot at thwarting Barry Allen. Seeing their variety of powers work in tandem is about as exciting as the annual assembling of heroes for the crossover.
Downfall: TBD. Likely still active, though missing Cold as leader.
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4. Astra (Supergirl)
On Krypton, Astra (Laura Benanti) had deduced that their planet was dying because of its unstable core. Her mission to blow up a government building in a bid to get Kryptonians to save the planet ultimately landed her in Fort Rozz, which is why Astra vowed to save planet Earth from ecological destruction upon her arrival, even if it meant basically turning humanity into mind-controlled slaves. As the twin sister to Kara's mother Alura, Astra's presence on Earth added another emotional layer to the story — for Kara, that meant her foe had the face of the person she loved most in the world and lost, while Astra always had a soft spot for her niece — with both forced to weigh whether to kill their last living relative in battle during season 1.
Downfall: Killed by Alex with a Kryptonite sword in order to save J'onn J'onzz.
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3. Slade Wilson (Arrow)
A former Australian Secret Intelligence Service agent who washed ashore on Lian Yu, Slade Wilson (Manu Bennet) helped train Oliver, falling in love with Shado (Celina Jade) in the process. Wounded during Ivo's attack on the island, Slade was injected with the super soldier serum Mirakuru, transforming into Deathstroke and becoming mentally unstable upon learning that Oliver chose to save Sara (Caity Lotz) over Shado. Vowing to destroy Oliver's life in return, Slade eventually shows up in present day Starling City, causing Oliver to lose his family business, injecting Roy (Colton Haynes) with Mirakuru, killing Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson), and unleashing an angry mob of super soldiers on the city. The first case of Oliver's life on the island truly coming back to haunt him, Slade's mission of revenge has irrevocably affected Oliver in the ensuing years.
Downfall: Injected with the Mirakuru cure, Slade was imprisoned in an A.R.G.U.S. supermax on Lian yu.
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2. Malcolm Merlyn (Arrow)
A former member of the League of Assassins, Malcolm (John Barrowman) was the quintessential villain in season 1. In the wake of his wife's death in Starling City's seedier part of town, Malcolm plotted the Undertaking, a.k.a the destruction of The Glades by way of an earthquake machine that would go on to claim the lives of 503 citizens, including his own son Tommy (Colin Donnell). Making sure no one stood in the way of the Undertaking, Malcolm caused the Queen's Gambit accident that killed Robert Queen (Jamey Sheridan) and stranded both Oliver and Sara on Lian Yu, therefore kicking off the origin of both heroes. While Malcolm used his power and money to cause the large scale tragedies above, he also got his hands dirty as the Dark Archer, training his daughter Thea (Willa Holland) to become a killer, drugging her into slaying Sara in the hopes that Oliver would be forced to challenge Ra's al Ghul, leading to the Head of the Demon's death and therefore eliminating Malcolm's blood debt to the League. In short, everything Malcolm has done is always in service of himself, a master manipulator who will play both sides as long as he ends up the victor, hence Malcolm aligning with Damien Darhk in the wake of losing the power struggle for the League to Nyssa, indirectly leading to the death of Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy). But being Thea's father has made it especially difficult for Team Arrow to kill Malcolm, despite his continued amoral swaying allegiances.
Downfall: TBD, but he has now joined the Legion of Doom.
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1. Eobard Thawne (The Flash)
Barry's archenemy from the future, Eobard Thawne, a.k.a the Reverse-Flash (Tom Cavanagh/Matt Letscher), traveled back in time to kill a young Barry Allen, but was thwarted by The Flash, so he murdered Barry's mother instead. Stuck in the past, Eobard killed the real Harrison Wells and took on his appearance to build S.T.A.R. Labs, knowing the eventual particle accelerator explosion would turn Barry Allen into The Flash — also creating countless other metahumans, both bad and good. While simultaneously terrorizing Team Flash, Eobard spent months training the man he hated most in the world to become fast enough to send Eobard back to his own era — thus giving Barry the opportunity to travel back in time and stop Eobard from killing his mother in the first place, which ultimately opened up the breaches to Earth-2. The twist that the Reverse-Flash was responsible for both the creation and the nurturing of Barry Allen is truly devastating not just to Barry, but to the entire Team Flash — Reverse-Flash's death created a void that Zoom later exploited. But Thawne's decision to travel back in time in the first place destroyed more lives than every villain on this list combined, and his work is not yet finished.
Downfall: Though his ancestor Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett) killed himself, causing Eobard to disappear from the timeline, Reverse-Flash still lives as a time remnant, teaming up with Damien Darhk, and eventually Captain Cold and Malcolm Merlyn, to create the Legion of Doom.