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|“||Why destroy a city... when you can take it over?||„|
|~ Ricardo Diaz to Cayden James.|
|“||Vigilantes? No, they're—they're hypocrites. They think that they're upholding the law, but they're breaking the law. They're not heroes. They're criminals. The only difference between me and them is that I'm smart enough to realize that the only person worth looking out for is yourself.||„|
|~ Diaz explaining his thoughts on vigilantes.|
Ricardo Diaz, also known as the Dragon, is the secondary antagonist of the TV series Arrow. He serves as the main antagonist of Season 6, the central antagonist (also the overarching antagonist) of Season 7, and a posthumous antagonist in Season 8. He also appeared as a minor antagonist in the Elseworlds crossover.
He was a powerful drug kingpin and ruthless criminal mastermind who plotted to take over all of Star City, becoming one of Oliver Queen's most dangerous and hated adversaries. He was also the Arrowverse's adaptation of the DC Comics villain, Richard Dragon.
Having grown up in a life as an orphan, Ricardo Diaz developed an inferiority complex due to being considered worthless, incapable of great achievements and, most notably, nothing more than a loser. To cope with his situation, he named his fear towards his childhood bully, the Dragon, imagining it as a separate entity he claims to be controlling. After becoming an adult, Diaz developed an extensive criminal record, in which he was sentenced to life imprisonment, only for his sentencing to be overturned due to a technicality. Desiring to take over Star City completely through bribery, blackmail and intimidation, Diaz began planning to achieve this goal, and even learnt about Oliver Queen's true identity as the Green Arrow. Not wanting to allow the vigilante to become a martyr, Diaz had Cayden James' son killed and publicly leaked Queen's true identity on the city news so he could get impeached, discredited and therefore imprisoned so he can take out the other Team Arrow members.
Before assisting Cayden James, he began trafficking and selling drugs to fund his master plan, which put him into conflict Team Arrow. He then joined Cayden and later killed him following the latter's defeat. Diaz then began enlisting multiple city officials onto his payroll, which then overall got Queen impeached. He then gained Black Siren and Anatoly Knyazev's loyalty to ensure his goals, and later joined the criminal syndicate known as the Quadrant. However, following Laurel's betrayal, his plans slowly falling apart as well as his mentality, making him overthrow the other Quadrant leaders. After the FBI gets involved and Anatoly later betrays him, Diaz's empire falls, forcing him into hiding alongside his new allies, the Longbow Hunters.
Months later, Diaz resurfaces to enact vengeance against the Team, as well as an imprisoned Oliver Queen. He leads the Hunters in several missions, including stealing several vials of experimental drugs that granted him enhanced strength. Later, after nearly destroying Star City with a bomb, he is finally captured and brought into custody. Taking this as an opportunity, Diaz escaped and took over Slabside Penitentiary to finally face off with Queen. Although, even with his new enhanced strength, Diaz was defeated by Queen and left for dead in the latter's cell, therefore finally defeating him for good.
A week later, however, he is approached by John Diggle and Lyla Michaels for his help after learning he is connected to a terrorist financier known only as Dante. They then have him as the first recruit for the Ghost Initiative, a new incarnation of the Suicide Squad, alongside China White, Joe Wilson and Cupid. However, after betraying A.R.G.U.S. and helped Dante escape, Diaz was placed back in Slabside only to be burnt to death by Emiko Queen, Oliver's half-sister, the new Green Arrow and the leader of Dante and the Ninth Circle.
Due to growing up in an abusive orphanage, Diaz took all of his fear and anger and compartmentalized it into creating a boogeyman he dubbed as "the Dragon", therefore becoming a ruthless crime lord with a very shallow and callous, as well as violent and psychopathic, demeanor. He also shut his emotions away and channeled them in his quest to take over Star City. Diaz exhibits most psychopathic traits: a complete lack of conscience, a lack of remorse and empathy, a shallow effect and callousness as he displayed no qualms for murdering Cayden James and his son, Owen Post.
Diaz is outstandingly intelligent, a trait that made him one of Team Arrow's deadliest foes. He is an incredible liar and manipulator that he was easily able to fool, predict and manipulate James, his cabal and Team Arrow for months. Cruel and often silent, Diaz hid behind the mask of a brainless thug so well, his allies and enemies never suspected him, only quietly moving machinations to suit his advantage and striking only when necessary. Despite his (apparently) patient, intelligent attitude, Diaz is also smug and enjoyed taunting his enemies, such as revealing his true colors to James before killing him. He is virtually fearless in the face of death and danger. Diaz is highly sadistic, as he was willing to torture Vincent Sobel, Roy Harper and Anatoly Knyazev. His well-known cruelty is also incredibly feared, as a woman killed her lover due to her loyalty to Diaz. He also has a sort of contorted warrior-like life philosophy, stating that "fighting for trophies is different than fighting for life" and respecting everyone who managed to fight with him, granting them money and places in his organization depending on the skills they demonstrated. Also, Diaz seems to highly regard the concept of "family", as seen by his viewing his organization as such and becoming greatly angered whenever someone goes "against the family".
While he maintains a façade of always being calm, level-headed, patient and speaks with almost no emotion in his words, due to the trauma of being considered a loser in his orphanage, Diaz developed an inferiority complex and would show extreme signs of rage, anger and immense violence whenever he was losing, being disrespected and underestimated, especially by Remy Cartier and his son Eric, and become impatient whenever his plans were failing or lacking progress. When Eric revealed that his proposal to the Quadrant was never learned by the organization due to his father, who saw him as nothing, Diaz immediately and brutally beat him, something that even disgusted Laurel. He has a profound ability to feel and act on grudges, having held a grudge towards Jesse Federico, his childhood bully, for at least 32 years and when the time came, Diaz cruelly burnt him alive. After Oliver Queen and his team took everything from him, he swore to ruin all of their lives more than he already did, even with Queen imprisoned for his acts of vigilantism.
All of these traits spread absolute fear into his own subordinates and some of his enemies, especially Laurel Lance, who explained that he scared her more than Zoom ever did, who, unlike Diaz, was actually genuinely capable of loving someone. While the two were in a relationship, he showed signs of affection, but even before she betrayed him, he was ruthless towards her in order to get her to testify against Queen, and became even more so after her betrayal. Whenever his patience exceeds its limits, he would become frustrated to the point of being reckless in his actions as he declared open warfare on Team Arrow and their families, regardless of who gets in the crossfires, indirectly revealing how much of Star City he controls that allowed the FBI to arrest his people, destroying his empire. Even injured, Diaz displayed anger as Oliver publicly announced his defeat, therefore humiliating him in front of the world.
Diaz has absolutely no guilt or remorse for any of his actions, no matter how cruel they were. For example, he killed Owen Post and framed Oliver Queen for it, knowing that it would spark a war between him and Cayden James, regardless for the countless number of deaths in Star City. He also burned his childhood bully alive over a 32-year vendetta that Jesse let go of years before. When he shot (and fatally killing) Quentin Lance after threatening to kill Laurel, he showed no sympathy for the former's situation and was even willing to kill Laurel in front of him. Due to his traumatic childhood, Diaz, having experienced just how unfair life is, lacks any personal sense of honor, which he demonstrating when he deliberately cheated in his fight against Oliver for control over the city's freedom. Diaz also lacks tolerance towards failures, as shown when he mercilessly killed the judge who kicked the case that would imprison Oliver, even though it was actually an imposter.
Since childhood, Diaz has always been a dramatically failing pretender; for example, he tried very hard to make his father proud of him even if it meant pretending to be someone he wasn't, which never worked. After becoming a crime lord, the life he had, which was filled with nothing but bitterness and rage, made him so determined to finally win that he tried to take over Star City, to prove to the entire criminal underworld that he is a winner, only to once again suffer a far more debilitating failure, as his downfall at the hands of Oliver has instead proven to them that he is nothing more than a loser.
After his plan to put Oliver in prison failed, Diaz became increasingly more unstable, erratic, cruel and paranoid as well as also more hungry for power, as he ruthlessly killed Lydia Cassamento, a leading member of the Quadrant under the suspicion that she was a spy for Team Arrow even though he had no proof and in order to gain complete leadership over the Quadrant. Diaz had no qualms killing another leader to prove he was serious in his desire to fully take over the massive organization, although he showed mercy towards the last member as long as he was loyal to him, demonstrating that he is, at his core, greedy and power-hungry.
Despite his intelligent and calculating traits, Diaz is extremely arrogant to the point of being delusional, which is his greatest weakness as it causes him to underestimate his enemies, like he did with Oliver, as he believed he defeated the latter (regarding his takeover of Star City) and his arrogance also caused him to be unable to truly learn from his mistakes, as seen by how Remy Cartier said that Diaz was just someone who couldn't prevent himself from going to prison the first time. Indeed, ultimately, his arrogance and ego led to his downfall; as it clouded his intelligence and caused him to believe that Oliver had no means left to save Star City, only to find out the hard way that he was wrong, as Oliver unexpectedly turned himself over to the FBI in exchange for their help in taking down Diaz, which caused Diaz to panic and desperately resort to any means to get the FBI out of the city but in the end, he was too late to do anything to prevent his inevitable defeat and his criminal empire began falling, his entire influence over Star City was completely destroyed, as he was forced into hiding and to add even greater damage, he had humiliated himself in the process; to the entire world, particularly to the entire criminal underworld.
Powers and Abilities
- Enhanced Strength: After injecting himself with a serum, Diaz is now stronger than a normal human. He demonstrated being able to put a huge dent into a concrete wall with a light punch and lift a full-grown man with ease.
- Drug Resistance: Diaz displayed an apparent immunity to drugs. Although this was only shown during a simulation projected by Curtis Holt, he explained that it would be unwise to give him any. Thus, it is possible that he was telling the truth.
- Genius-Level Intellect: Diaz is an extraordinarily intelligent man, which is perhaps his most formidable trait. An outstanding liar and manipulator, Diaz was capable of completely fooling and manipulating not only Laurel Lance and Anatoly Knyazev, despite their own great intellects, but he even managed to entirely outsmart the extremely intelligent Cayden James into believing he was a true ally while in actuality he had only joined his cabal to use James as a means for him to take over Star City, by letting James "thin the herd" for him, making it easier for him to take over, predicting every action of James and using it to his advantage. Although Anatoly managed to briefly convince Diaz he was not the traitor, Diaz was still suspicious and was able to hide it and when a slight proof was given to him, Diaz took it seriously and fooled Anatoly entirely into believing he was tricked and gave him a fake address to lure them to a trap. Extremely adept at many fields of science, particularly chemistry and biochemistry, Diaz proved capable of manufacturing drugs of formidable amounts of complexity and power, such as the one used to stabilize the tremors of John Diggle's hand. Diaz is also an exceptional strategist, as during the time he worked alone, he was able to spread his drugs effectively while remaining off-charts and covering his tracks completely. The most prominent display of Diaz's outstanding strategical mastery was how he was able to devise a highly sophisticated and effective plan to take over Star City starting by having a doctored video of Karl Iscove to make it seem like Green Arrow was the one that killed Owen Post as well as leak a doctored picture of Oliver Queen as Green Arrow to the public and the FBI in order to make the public suspect Oliver and James to try to get revenge for his son, entirely fooling James and giving Oliver great trouble in finding out the truth. Diaz is an extremely skilled investigator. He is among the very few who has managed to somehow deduce that Oliver Queen is Green Arrow, he was also able to find out that Roy Harper's death was faked and managed to track him down. Diaz is also always fully prepared for most situations that would put him in a disadvantage like when he wore a bulletproof vest in case Eric Cartier tried to have him killed which he almost did and later preparing for Diaz Diaz is also an extremely competent and experienced leader, managing to take over the Scorpions and effectively lead it in secret, and later upon taking full control over the massive criminal organization the Quadrant, effectively lead it single-handedly to the point of overwhelming the efforts of Team Arrow and A.R.G.U.S. respectively, backing Oliver so much into the corner that he was forced to resort to call upon the FBI in order to fight against Diaz's army. While Diaz did not go down without a fight, he was too late to do anything to prevent his inevitable defeat.
- Master Computer Specialist: Diaz has sufficient specialization on computers and security systems to bypass Felicity's security with ease.
- Multilingualism: Being of Spanish descent, Diaz speaks the language fluently, as well as English and Russian.
- Master Torturer: Diaz is an effective interrogator and torturer. He is capable of inflicting a lot of physical pain into a target without killing them and is even capable of using mind games to worsen the discomfort. However, Diaz was unable to break Roy Harper (due his incredible indomitable will) as he tried to get him to testify against Oliver Queen in court (regarding the latter's identity as Green Arrow) even when Diaz threatened to torture Thea right in front of him, Roy still refused to betray Oliver.
- Peak of Human Physical Condition: Diaz is in incredible physical form which he maintains through extensive training, with his physical power ranking as among the deadliest among the many foes Oliver Queen has ever faced. He has extremely fast reflexes and great strength, able to swiftly incapacitate a much larger foe with ease, push grown men through a door and lift a grown woman with a single hand and toss her with enough force to crack a table, as well as immense resilience and durability. His physical capacities is stronger than even most seasoned martial artists, allowing him to instantly pin down Laurel Lance and Anatoly Knyazev despite their own physical condition with ease using only a single hand, with him about to choke Anatoly to death had he not tricked him, overpower the extremely strong John Diggle and quickly defeat Thea Queen even with an arrow in his leg, sustaining no injuries from any of their blows. Diaz has even been able to match and nearly overwhelm Oliver in combat twice, managing to knock him down, toss him to a wall with enough force to crack it, cause him to bleed with each of his attacks and dislocate his shoulder, only barely losing in the end and remaining mostly unfazed by the beatings Oliver put on him. He is durable and resilient enough to withstand being shot by a machine gun to the chest unfazed when wearing a bulletproof vest, sustain only minor injuries from being blown back by a nearby explosive, take out arrows stabbed in his shoulder and leg by Thea and Oliver without any strain, and even survive being blasted of a building by Laurel Lance's sonic scream and into a body of water despite having already been subjected to an extensive beating from Oliver, with Oliver finding the possibility of Diaz dying by the fall to be very little. He was unfazed from being stabbed by a knive in the shoulder and still proved unable to be overpowered by John. His conditioning also lets him recover from most injuries very quickly, though not super-humanly.
- Master Martial Artist: Diaz is an extremely accomplished hand-to-hand combatant, among the deadliest fighters in the series. He quickly trounced Thea Queen unarmed even though he had already been shot by an arrow and she was wielding her bow, instantly disarmed John Diggle of his gun and gain the upper hand, eventually managing to flee, later proving unable to be truly defeated by John despite John having increased his prowess as an ARGUS member and nearly beating him again, with John struggling to repel Diaz long enough to escape, and only being briefly kept at bay swiftly broke out of Curtis Holt's hold and quickly overpower and stab him, in which he would have killed him had the rest of Team Arrow not interfered, with Curtis and Rene Ramirez's ability to defeat and capture him only being most likely because he wanted to be captured to stop James from blowing up Star City, and effortlessly blind-side and restrain Anatoly and Laurel. Diaz's physical combat skills are so great that he can fight on par with and even nearly defeat Oliver Queen in both the times they fought as Diaz was capable of blocking much of Oliver's strikes and landing his own; he was able to push the vigilante back and either knock him down or restrain him in both their altercations before Oliver finally turns the tides. Diaz later on soundly subdued Felicity with a simple maneuver despite being briefly caught off-guard and beaten by her using a stick and would have killed her had ARGUS not arrived.
- Master Knife User: With knives being his preferred weapon, Diaz is very skilled in using them. He threw one at Thea Queen with pin-point accuracy and despite being restrained by Oliver, was able to stab Oliver's stomach with a knife.
- Master Gun User: As a crime lord, Diaz was highly trained in the use of many types of firearms. He was able to systematically take out a team of F.B.I. agents in a firefight., Even being able to shoot an agent behind a wall before he could open fire.
- Expert Explosive User: Diaz is highly skilled in planting and detonating explosives, planting great amounts of explosives in the false location he gave Anatoly and rigging them to explode and destroy the whole building if anyone even moved a bit. Even Felicity Smoak was not able to effectively stop it, despite this, she was still able to delay the explosions from going off long enough for Rene Ramirez and the FBI to escape the blast.
- Mental Instability: Although Diaz's savagery has made him feared by both his allies and most of his enemies, it has also proven to be his greatest weakness; as he has become increasingly arrogant, erratic, cruel, unstable, paranoid and delusional, openly displaying his psychopathy and true cowardice, evidenced by the fact he beat up on Oliver pointlessly while he was chained and later unhesitatingly cheated to win even though it revealed to his men that he is truly just a self-serving coward.
- Lack of Empathy: Due to being a profound psychopath, despite all of his intellect, Diaz is unable to understand or calculate the possibility of other individuals' emotions, particularly their morals, causing them to refuse to do his bidding, as he completely believes that even if they wanted to stop working for him, their fear towards Diaz would be more than enough to cause them to still follow his orders, which has proven to not always be the case.
- Owen Post (Caused)
- Karl Iscove (Unknown if Caused or Direct)
- Jerry Bertinelli
- Sheck (Indirectly Caused)
- Vincent Sobel/Vigilante (Caused)
- Cayden James
- Officer Martin Hurst (Caused)
- Eric Cartier
- Remy Cartier
- Jesse Federico
- Judge C. McGarvey
- Lydia Cassamento
- Dragos Ibanescu
- Quentin Lance
- Derek Sampson (Caused)
- Danny Brickwell/Brick (Indirectly Caused)
- Several U.S. Marshals
- Several Quadrant Henchmen
- Several Bratva Members
- Innumerable Slabside Penitentiary Guards (Both Caused and Direct)
- Multiple Auction Guards
- Bell (Indirectly Caused)
- Noor Harjavti (Indirectly Caused)
|Appearances of Ricardo Diaz|
|“||Fighting for trophies is a lot different than fighting for your life.||„|
|~ Diaz to one of his henchmen following their combat training.|
|“||I always wondered why nobody just does that, kill you straight! Turns out, it would be a waste of time! You're more dangerous as a martyr than you are as Green Arrow! But before that happens, there's a lot left of you that I want to break...||„|
|~ Diaz as a hallucination to Oliver.|
|“||I have known a lot of bad men, and they have been filled with anger and with hate. But not Diaz. He's not filled with anger inside because he's not even human inside. I watched him burn a man alive over a childhood grudge.||„|
|~ Black Siren fearfully explaining to Quentin Lance about Diaz's true nature.|
|“||Think you're so tough because you spent five years in hell? I was born in it.||„|
|~ Diaz before his fight with Oliver for Star City's freedom.|
|“||This is MY city! You want to stop me? You're gonna have to kill me!||„|
|~ Diaz's final words to Oliver Queen before his escape, during the Season 6 finale.|
|“||Oliver Queen took everything from me. I'm going to enjoy taking everything from him.||„|
|~ Diaz during Oliver's nightmare.|
|“||Ever since I was blown off that roof... all I've felt is pain. The pain of betrayal, the pain of having every bone in my body shattered when I hit the water... but I didn't panic. I was patient. And that patience, helped me to find a way to transform that pain... into something else... strength.||„|
|~ Diaz to Red Dart and Kodiak.|
|“||I'm a lot stronger now. Prison's made you weak. Go on. Go on. Get up. Yeah, yeah. You're not surviving this.||„|
|~ Diaz arrogantly taunting Oliver while overpowering him during their final fight in Slabside Penitentiary.|
|“||Vigilantes? No, they're--they're hypocrites. They think that they're upholding the law, but they're breaking the law. They're not heroes. They're criminals. The only difference between me and them is that I'm smart enough to realize that the only person worth looking out for is yourself.||„|
|~ Diaz during his interview in the Emerald Archer documentary.|
|“||Diaz: I'll always find you. Both of you.
Felicity: You stay away from me. You stay away from me and my family!
Diaz: You can't protect your baby.
|~ Diaz during Felicity's nightmare after she learns of her pregnancy.|
|“||What are you doing here?||„|
|~ Diaz's final words in Slabside Penitentiary before his death by fire at the hands of Emiko Queen.|
- Diaz sports tattoos of dragons around both sides his neck, his left shoulder and his back a reference to the look of his comic book counterpart, Richard Dragon, after The New 52.
- Diaz choosing the name "Dragon" for his internal hatred and fear, and later for himself, as well as his tendency to set things and people on fire, could have been caused by the tortures inflicted to him by Jesse Federico, who burned his forearms and attempted to destroy the only picture he had of his late father forcing him to reach into the flames of the burning bucket to get it back, resulting in extreme burns and blisters that made his arm scaled (like a dragon's skin) for weeks.
- Ricardo Diaz has similarities to the late villains Malcolm Merlyn, Ra's al Ghul, Damien Darhk, Adrian Chase, and the still living former villain Slade Wilson (who was under the influence of the Mirakuru at the time);
- Like Malcolm, he is intelligent and calculating.
- Like Ra's, he commands an army of people who are absolutely loyal to him, who would die before betraying him. He also has allied with the Longbow Hunters, a group of the world's deadliest warriors that the League of Assassins feared. This trait is the same as Ra's being the leader of the League of Assassins, who are also a group of the world's deadliest warriors feared everywhere.
- Like Damien, he controls a large criminal empire (such as Damien's H.I.V.E.) with reaches beyond a city through taking control of the Quadrant.
- Like Adrian, Diaz is mentally unstable and considered a psychopath by even other criminals such as Anatoly Knyazev.
- Like Slade (who was under the influence of the Mirakuru at the time) he is extremely arrogant and overconfident to the point of underestimating his opponents, like he did with Oliver; as he believed that he had defeated the latter.
- Currently, Diaz himself is the only Arrowverse primary antagonist that escaped punishment after his respective season was over. He later returns in Season 7 as a series regular.
- Diaz is the first main antagonist in the shared multiverse to be presented as a secondary antagonist as he appears in "Promises Kept" as a drug dealer and enemy of the week for Team Arrow, later being revealed to be a member of Cayden James's criminal cabal in "Irreconcilable Differences" and the real puppet master behind everything happening in Star City since the beginning of the season in "The Devil's Greatest Trick".
- In notable aspects, Diaz is arguably more dangerous, and far more evil, than any other main antagonist on the show.
- His motives were never selfless, as he never intended on avenging the death of a loved one, unlike Malcolm Merlyn, Deathstroke, Prometheus and Emiko Queen; or for the greater good of the world, unlike Ra's al Ghul and Damien Darhk.
- He lacked any form of honor, unlike notably Ra's and Emiko.
- He had utterly no empathy for anyone he hurts or kills, unlike notably Merlyn, Deathstroke, Darhk (particularly towards killing Sara Lance's sister) and Emiko (in her final moments before her death).
- He is incapable of any form of love unlike the other main antagonists, including Ra's, who regretted leaving his first family to the League of Assassins.
- Diaz was coincidently based on a character from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, both are ruthless drug kingpins that were ultimately brought down due to their greed. However these traits are particularly in criminals with the Hispanic drug lord stereotype.
- Diaz's comment to Oliver about being in born in Hell is presumably a direct reference to Bane's similar comment to Batman during their first fight in The Dark Knight Rises.
- Diaz is the fifth antagonist on Arrow to be credited as a main character, after Slade Wilson, Malcolm Merlyn, Adrian Chase and Black Siren.
- He is arguably one of Oliver Queen's three archenemies, with the others being Malcolm Merlyn and Adrian Chase.