The dreaded League of Assassins played a consistent role across all eight seasons of Arrow — here's a breakdown of everybody who assumed leadership over the infamous group. Starring Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, Arrow premiered on The CW back in 2012. It went on to spawn what's become collectively known as the Arrowverse. The show concluded its run in the wake of an ambitious adaptation of Marv Wolfman's seminal Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline. The event forever changed the landscape of the shared universe and the fates of several characters, including many of Arrow's own.
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Prior to that, Arrow served up eight seasons of adventure and pulled in villains from all across the lore of DC Comics. Recurring among them was the infamous League of Assassins. Created by Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams, the group debuted in 1968's Strange Adventures #215. On the page, they have established connections to several popular and lesser-known characters. However, they principally served as antagonists (or occasional allies) of Bruce Wayne (aka Batman). In that regard, they have been adapted multiple times across various mediums. A version of the group, renamed the League of Shadows, even featured in Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins. They were just one of many that retrofitted to be a thorn in the side of Team Arrow.
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The ancient order was teased as early as Arrow season 1, with their infamous comic book leader, Ra's al Ghul, even name-dropped by Oliver's mother, Moira. Across subsequent seasons, the League of Assassins were more directly weaved into the fabric of the show's mythology. Simultaneously, the group's own history and traditions were fleshed out and expanded upon. In the process, control of the League passed from one hand to another more than a kingdom in Game of Thrones. And the rewards that leadership afforded were pursued with equal passion and similarly ruthless intent. Here's every person that was confirmed on Arrow to have gotten a taste of such power.
Arrow season 8, episode 3, "Leap of Faith" delved into the earliest history of the League of Assassins. As Oliver Queen sought information on The Monitor, he visited Nanda Parbat and crossed paths with his sister, Thea, and Talia al Ghul. Together, they ventured to the tomb of Al-Fatih. With a name meaning "conquerer" in Arabic, Al-Fatih was revealed to have founded the League of Assassins in 1013. Visited by Mar Novu, Al-Fatih was bestowed primordial knowledge and tasked with maintaining balance in the world. To not do so would reportedly lead to the end times which ended up being the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Al-Fatih served as the group's leader until an unspecified time. After his death, he was buried with his sword — a revered relic that could grant its wielder full control of the League.
Ra's al Ghul
With his original name unknown, a man assumed the legacy title of Ra's al Ghul in 1609. It's unclear whether he inherited the mantle from Al-Fatih or an interim League of Assassins leader. Regardless, he was noted as extremely ruthless. In line with the tradition that one erases their former life in order to ascend, this version of Ra's unleashed Cholera and wiped out the entire city of Alexandria, Egypt. He was first mentioned in Arrow season 3, episode 16, "The Offer" and referenced twice more later that season.
This incarnation of Ra's was the one that recruited Talia and Nyssa's father. After his initial offer was rejected, Ra's allowed the then-unnamed man to build a blissful life— but only to have the leverage to force his eventual successor's hand. The current Ra's al Ghul tortured and killed his earlier wife and children in order to make him submit. This Ra's al Ghul also recruited Damien Darhk, turning the two men into his own apocalyptic Horsemen. He ultimately died and surrendered his title sometime before 1854.
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The Next Ra's al Ghul
The principal version of Ra's al Ghul was played by Matt Nable and debuted in Arrow season 3, episode 4, "The Magician". Though the offer was initially rejected, he assumed the mantle of Ra's al Ghul at an unspecified time before 1854. In order to ascend, he was tasked with killing everybody he had ever known. This also included Damien Darhk, who had become his best friend. As a result, Ra's hesitated, thus allowing Darhk to escape with water from the Lazarus Pit.
Regardless, as formidable and intelligent as in the comics, he ruled over the League of Assassins for well over a century. In that time, he survived several attempts to usurp his position — including a trial by combat in 1947. He also bested Oliver Queen in a similar trial in Arrow season 3, episode 9, "The Climb". This incarnation of Ra's al Ghul was personally responsible for training Malcolm Merlyn and Sara Lance. Despite his death, he was teased as possibly having been resurrected in a season 1 episode of Batwoman.
Much to the chagrin of Nyssa al Ghul, Oliver was chosen to assume control of the League of Assassins in the latter half of Arrow season 3. Ra's picked him due to his survival of what should have been a fatal strike during their duel — believing it part of a prophecy. Though Oliver initially rejected the offer, Ra's al Ghul forced his hand. He did this by first trying to out him as the titular vigilante. When that was foiled by Roy Harper donning the costume and taking credit, Ra's went a more brutal route and killed Thea. To see her resurrected via the Lazarus Pit, Oliver surrendered himself to the League.
Inducted under the name Al Sah-him, Oliver underwent the harsh training and seemingly had his psyche broken down. The final step of his ascension would have seen him unleash the Alpha/Omega virus on Star City. The level of Oliver's conditioning was eventually revealed to be a ruse on his part and he instead engaged Ra's in combat to protect the city. After he killed Ra's and emerged victoriously, Oliver officially became the leader of the League of Assassins. However, he immediately ceded control to Malcolm Merlyn.
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Malcolm went to great lengths in pursuit of becoming the Demon's Head. He even drugged his own daughter and forced her to commit murder. When everything paid off, Malcolm Merlyn relished his time as Ra's al Ghul, as well as the near-immortality the title afforded. However, his reign was far shorter than many of his predecessors, clocking in at less than a year. While he was in charge, he allowed Sara Lance to be resurrected via his Lazarus Pit. He also attempted to help Thea Queen with the side effects of her own resurrection. He sacrificed several League members in order to satiate the bloodlust that was consuming her. Malcolm also used his new forces to aid and then secretly betrayed Oliver and Barry Allen as they clashed with Vandal Savage.
Soon after, the animosity between Merlyn and Nyssa al Ghul deepened when she rendered the Lazarus Pit ineffectual. Though Malcolm had her locked away, she soon escaped and acquired the means to cure Thea's worsening condition. She made a deal with Oliver to hand it over in exchange for killing Merlyn. Oliver manipulated Malcolm into challenging Nyssa to a duel, which she accepted. Due to Oliver and Nyssa having been married in the eyes of the League, Oliver used to a rule that allowed him to fight in her stead. However, rather than kill him as Nyssa wanted or would have, Oliver chopped off his hand and claimed the ring of Ra's al Ghul (and League leadership) on Nyssa's behalf.
Nyssa al Ghul
Nyssa al Ghul's tenure as the Demon's Head was even shorter than Merlyn's. After Malcolm's injury had been healed, he visited Nyssa alongside both Oliver and Laurel Lance. Nyssa immediately took off the ring of Ra's al Ghul and tossed it into a fire. She announced that she had disbanded the League of Assassins, freeing each of its members from their former vows. The choice shocked each of those present. However, it affected Malcolm most of all — who swore an ultimately ill-fated oath of vengeance. Nyssa, meanwhile, would later be recruited to pass on some of her League of Assassin skills to Felicity and Oliver's daughter, Mia.
In the wake of the group's dissolution, several off-shoots were created. Talia al Ghul formed one such splinter faction, while another named the Thanatos Guild was led by a woman named Athena. The latter would become something of a nemesis for Thea Queen. The Thanatos Guild were ultimately defeated in Arrow season 8 when Thea successfully claimed the Sword of Al-Fatih. Talia had also attempted to gain the sword but was similarly defeated in combat.
Already considered an heir due to her relation to Malcolm Merlyn, possession of the sword afforded Thea a chance to resurrect the League. Officially partnering with Talia, Thea decided to do just that. Rather than assassins, though, Thea reformed the group as the League of Heroes. Nothing has been heard of the group since. However, though Arrow has since concluded its run, several corners of the wider Arrowverse have continued to thrive. As such, there's always a chance that the group could return — be it as heroes or assassins.
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Who is the leader of the League of Assassins in Arrow? ›
Ra's Al Ghul, leader of the League of Assassins, says this to Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins (2005).Who are all the members of the League of Assassins The Arrow? ›
Known members of the group are Ra's al Ghul, Talia al Ghul, and Ubu. The League of Assassins (under its League of Shadows name) appears in Young Justice. Known members of the group are Ra's al Ghul, Ubu, Sensei, Cheshire, Professor Ojo, Black Spider, Hook, Onyx, Rictus and Shade.What did Ra's al Ghul say to Oliver? ›
Ra's al Ghul : You should take pride. You survived longer than most. Don't be afraid, my son. Death comes for us all.Does the arrow become the leader of the League of Assassins? ›
The level of Oliver's conditioning was eventually revealed to be a ruse on his part and he instead engaged Ra's in combat to protect the city. After he killed Ra's and emerged victoriously, Oliver officially became the leader of the League of Assassins.Did Arrow become Ra's al Ghul? ›
After Ra's death, Malcolm Merlyn succeeded him as the new leader of the League of Assassins, the next "Ra's al Ghul", however, Oliver Queen was chosen to be the true Ra's al Ghul and leader of the League of Assassins; as he not only survived Ra's blade in a death match, but he also killed Ra's.Who becomes the next Ra's al Ghul in Arrow? ›
Oliver swiftly defeats Malcolm and, instead of killing him, cuts his hand with the League's ring, knocks him out and gives it to Nyssa. He is finally given the elixir and Nyssa becomes the new Ra's al Ghul.Who is Green Arrow biggest enemy? ›
Years later, Merlyn became a mercenary for the League of Assassins and became the archenemy of Green Arrow.
Talia is the daughter of the late Ra's al Ghul, the paternal half-sister of Nyssa al Ghul, and the mentor of the late Yao Fei Gulong, the late Oliver Queen and the late Adrian Chase.Who is the imposter Arrow? ›
“Unmasked,” season 7's midseason finale and the strongest episode of the season, revealed that the new Green Arrow is none other than Emiko Queen (played by Sea Shimooka), Robert Queen's secret daughter and Oliver's half-sister.What did Oliver whisper? ›
Oliver claims to have said "please" to the Russians, though a close approximation was actually, "If you do this to my people, I will make your children orphans".
What is Ra's al Ghul's real name? ›
Matt Nable: Ra's al Ghul.Why did Oliver reveal his identity? ›
He then made a decision to reveal his identity to the world so that Chloe could return to him and called a press conference to announce he is Green Arrow. After revealing himself to the public, Oliver began to be harassed by the media.Who kills Ra's al Ghul in the arrow? ›
Oliver disarmed him with the same move Ra's had used to defeat him and ended up impaling his chest. Oliver told him the men would bow to the new Ra's al Ghul. Oliver then says the same prayer Ra's did.Is Shado alive in Arrow? ›
In season two episode "Three Ghosts", Shado is killed by Anthony Ivo, who tells Oliver to choose between her and Sara Lance. Though Oliver does not make a verbal choice, he steps in front of Sara, resulting in Ivo shooting Shado in the head.Does arrow leave League of Assassins? ›
Oliver Queen once again makes an enemy out of Malcolm Merlyn, and it's his son who will pay for it. The League of Assassins are no more.Who saved Oliver after Ras al Ghul? ›
After six weeks plus 58 minutes of waiting, it was revealed that Oliver Queen was rescued from the ravine ledge on which he landed, bleeding to death, by Maseo. The League member then delivered his mostly dead friend to the care of wife Tatsu, who (somehow) brought him back to life.Is Ra's al Ghul immortal Arrow? ›
Ra's Al Ghul was the corrupted father figure. Most other Batman villains were around the same age as Bruce, and dealt with him as an equal. Due to both his immortality and his tremendous power, Ra's Al Ghul is immediately dominant over Bruce in a way that no previous Batman villain had been.Is Batman ever mentioned in Arrow? ›
The Arrow Season 8 premiere included a handful of references to Batman, up to and including an explicit mention of Bruce Wayne.Who kills Malcolm in Arrow? ›
However, before he could admit to his son his alter ego of the Dark Archer, Malcolm was shot from afar by Deadshot, who had been assigned to his assassination.Who is more skilled green arrow Batman? ›
' Batman may have more skill than Green Arrow in a lot of ways, but Oliver has surprised all kinds of foes over the years. He's worked with Batman, so he knows how The Dark Knight operates. If anyone could figure out a way to beat Batman, it's Green Arrow.
What happens to Nyssa in Arrow? ›
Nyssa was killed when the remainder of the multiverse was destroyed by antimatter.Who is Nightwing's arch enemy? ›
Blockbuster is the name of four supervillains and a criminal organization appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The first one was primarily a foe of Batman and Robin, while the second was the archenemy to Nightwing.What is Arrow's secret? ›
It's a secret that Oliver is unable to tell even those closest to him, and it's become the reason that everyone's lives are pretty much as messed up as they are. The dark secret that Oliver finally comes to term to is that he enjoys murder.Who is Oliver's best friend arrow? ›
Tommy Merlyn is introduced as the son of Merlyn (Arthur King). Tommy is best friends with billionaire playboy Oliver Queen.Is Blackstar Oliver's daughter? ›
Monday's new episode of Arrow, “Star City Slayer,” dropped a bombshell in the show's future timeline to reveal that the bad*ss cage fighter Blackstar is actually Mia Smoak – the daughter of Felicity Smoak and Oliver Queen.Who is older Nyssa or Talia? ›
In the DC comics, Talia is a daughter of Ra's al Ghul and lover of Bruce Wayne, also known as Batman, and the mother of their son, Damian Wayne, the fifth Robin. Though Talia is Nyssa's older sister in the Arrowverse, in the DC comics Nyssa is the older sister.Who is Olivers half-sister? ›
Emiko is the paternal half-sister of Oliver Queen/Green Arrow who is the illegitimate daughter of his father Robert Queen and the assassin Shado. Kept secret from the Queen family by her mother, as an infant Emiko was kidnapped by Simon Lacroix/Komodo, Robert's former associate.Is Malcolm Merlyn the leader of the League of Assassins? ›
He is the father of Thea Queen and the late Tommy Merlyn, and is also the archenemy to Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, being the one responsible for his shipwreck on Lian Yu. He is the mastermind behind the Undertaking and the former leader of Tempest and League of Assassins. He is also a member of the Legion of Doom.Who kills Ra's al Ghul in the Arrow? ›
Oliver disarmed him with the same move Ra's had used to defeat him and ended up impaling his chest. Oliver told him the men would bow to the new Ra's al Ghul. Oliver then says the same prayer Ra's did.Who kills Ra's al Ghul? ›
Ra's was able to finally make his vision of Gotham's destruction come true when he allied with Jeremiah Valeska. Together, they killed Gotham's mayor and destroyed bridges leading out of the evacuated city, turning it into a lawless No Man's Land. However, he was then killed by Barbara Kean and Bruce.
Is Oliver Queen Ra's al Ghul? ›
This title applies to all Ra's al Ghul successors, but Oliver Queen was chosen to be the next Ra's al Ghul because he survived a battle against the Ra's al Ghul that still operated by 2015.Who is the best archer in DC Universe? ›
Merlyn (Arthur King) has been established as one of the greatest and most accurate archers in the DC Universe. His archery and marksmanship skills exceed those of Green Arrow, Emiko Queen, Shado, Roy Harper, Connor Hawke, Celestial Archer, and his own son, Tommy Merlyn.Who is Green Arrow's main villain? ›
A young Oliver Queen idolized the archery skill of Merlyn (Arthur King/Malcolm Merlyn) which helped inspire him to the bow. Years later, Merlyn became a mercenary for the League of Assassins and became the archenemy of Green Arrow.
He later became an uneasy ally of Team Arrow, despite their constant qualms. After Oliver defeated "Ra's", he gave Ra's' ring to Malcolm, making him the new Ra's al Ghul (Arabic: رأس الغول; for Demon's Head).