- "Do you even know what this island really is? It's a prison. I mean this literally."
- —Edward Fyers to Oliver Queen about Lian Yu
Lian Yu (Traditional Chinese: 煉獄; Mandarin pronunciation: Liànyù; literally "Purgatory") is an island in the North China Sea where Oliver Queen was intermittently stranded for 5 years, between 2007 and 2012, before he was found by Chinese fishermen. The island is currently used by A.R.G.U.S. as a supermax prison.
Lian Yu houses herbs that are capable of healing almost any injury. These herbs are so effective, they were capable of healing almost any type of poison, including Floyd Lawton's Curare, and Sara Lance of snake venom almost instantly. These herbs became a necessary component to allow Oliver Queen to treat his poison-related injuries while at the same time, keeping his identity a secret. There is a large A.R.G.U.S. prison located underneath the island's beach. It appears they haven't explored much of the island, as many of Oliver's booby traps remain.
Having spent years on the island, Oliver learned how to be resourceful and set booby traps all over the island in the common event he ran into dangerous people. The island is also home to animals, including pheasants, wild pigs and wolves.
Oliver stranded on Lian Yu and encounter with Edward Fyers
After shipwrecking on the island, Oliver buried his father on a hillside using several large stones. At first it seemed that Oliver was alone on the island, however, he soon learned that was not the case.
Flashbacks revealed that the island had been used by the Chinese government to banish prisoners, including the former General Yao Fei. It was then used by Edward Fyers and his mercenaries for an operation for an unknown employer. This plan involved launching a missile strike on a Chinese plane, in an effort to cause an international incident and damage the Chinese economy. For this plan, Fyers wanted to use Yao Fei as a scapegoat.
Two ASIS agents were sent to free Yao Fei, but they were captured by Fyers as well. One of the agents, Slade Wilson, escaped with Yao Fei to the jungle, while the other agent, Billy Wintergreen, joined the Mercenaries.
Slade and Yao Fei got separated, and Yao Fei found the stranded Oliver and tried to teach him some survival skills. Oliver eventually got captured by the mercenaries of Fyers and tortured by Billy Wintergreen in an effort to tell them about the location of Yao Fei. Oliver refused to tell them, and Fyers ordered Billy to kill him. At that moment Yao Fei enters the scene and takes out Fyers before engaging into a brutal fight with the former ASIS agent. He managed to knock out Billy and fled with Oliver into the woods.
After locking Oliver up in a cave, he managed to take out some mercenaries and capture Fyers to force him to give them a way out of the island. While traveling to the plane they encountered Wintergreen and some mercenaries. Yao Fei engaged them in combat while he ordered Oliver to flee, he eventually got overpowered and captured.
Fyers then kidnapped Shado, Yao Fei's daughter, in an effort to force Yao Fei to continue working for him. Yao Fei captured Oliver and faked killing him, while handing him a map to travel to a crashed plane.
Oliver found a plane where he got confronted by Slade. The ASIS agent wanted to kill him at first, believing him to be a liability. He eventually realized Oliver had some raw potential for combat and survival.
Slade began to train Oliver for an assault on an air field to take over a cargo plane.
Slade and Oliver managed to clear an airfield and were about to capture a plane, but they missed their chance when Oliver came back for Yao Fei and was captured. Slade came back and saved Oliver, killing his former partner Billy Wintergreen in the process.
They then managed to free Shado. The three of them formed an alliance, as Shado trained Oliver in marksmanship.
The three of them ended up captured by Fyers and his mercenaries. And it turned out, Yao Fei had given them away after Fyers threatened to blow up the entire forest and kill them.
Yao Fei was forced to claim responsibility for the airstrike on a video. Fyers then shot and killed Yao Fei, leaving Oliver, Wilson, and Shado devastated.
They broke free from their bonds and began to fight and kill the mercenaries. Just in time, Oliver managed to change the direction of the missile aimed at the Chinese plane, and the missile landed on the camp, seemingly killing all the mercenaries.
Oliver found out Slade survived, but Fyers had Shado hostage. Fyers tried to negotiate, but Oliver used a bow and arrow to shoot him through his neck, killing him.
Ivo's arrival on the Amazo
With no means to escape, the three of them were forced to stay on the island. Recovered from their wounds Shado and Slade continued to teach Oliver in combat, archery, and Mandarin Chinese. They then were confronted by a small group of intruders who captured Shado, and their leader threatened her with a knife. Slade and Oliver took them out quickly, and Oliver brutally killed their leader with a stone. It was revealed a huge ship had landed on Lian Yu and they were looking for some mysterious graves.
The ship known as the Amazo began to launch explosives off on the island while looking for the ruins of the plane in which Shado was inspecting the dead bodies found in one of the graves. This alerted Oliver and Slade who raced back to find Shado only to be caught in the explosions causing Slade's hands to burn and Oliver to black out. Oliver was then transported to the ship and is kept prisoner by Dr. Anthony Ivo and his interrogator Sara Lance who survived the Queen's Gambit sinking.
It was revealed Japanese soldiers had visited the island during World War II and had hidden a submarine on the island containing a serum with the ability to turn humans into super-soldiers, drastically improving their strength, speed, stamina, durability and ability to heal, but also changing their personality. It turned out the crew of the Amazo was looking to collect this serum.
Shado and Slade managed to rescue Oliver and Sara, and they went on to find the serum to save the badly burned Slade. Using the serum on a dying Slade, Slade seemingly died. The group was then captured by Dr. Ivo and the crew, who led them away. An angered Ivo executed Shado in front of Oliver and Sara. Slade turned out to have been revived by the serum, and now possessed superhuman strength, speed and durability. He tracked down the crew members keeping Sara and Oliver captive, and killed them all in seconds.
The group then buried Shado. During the mourning Slade gave Oliver the hood Shado wore after she took it from her late father. Later Oliver began to spot Slade displaying unusual and violent behavior. Sara informed Oliver that the reports of the Japanese soldiers mentioned that the soldiers changed by the serum experienced severe behavior changes, Slade then sneaked off and intended to destroy the ship using a missile launcher from Edward Fyers, destroying the ship and killing the crew and the prisoners alike.
Oliver and Sara confronted him after which he threatened to kill them, and he wanted to destroy the ship to avenge Shado. Oliver managed to convince him that destroying the ship would take away their only way out. Slade realized the serum was changing his mind and managed to calm down. The group then began to converse how they could take over the ship.
The group noticed a plane crashing after it had been shot from the ship. The group found a heavily injured pilot (Sin her father), Slade and Oliver went looking for first aid gear, while Sara tried to comfort him. The dying pilot begged Sara to take care of his daughter before he passed away - just before Oliver and Slade came up with the first aid kit.
The group devised a plan based on deception to get on the ship without being spotted. Oliver was seen practicing his archery and agility to prepare himself for the fight on the ship. During the night Oliver was haunted by a dream of Shado blaming him for his death. After he woke up he put on the hood she and Yao Fei had been wearing on the Island. Slade Wilson was seen taking his mask. The group packed an then created a fire (Oliver lighted it up wit a arrow silimair to the pilot).
The crew came to investigate and found and captured Oliver. He was then taken to the ship. Here, Ivo used a truth serum to make him reveal were Slade and Sara were. Oliver told they were already in the ship and in the engine room. Panicked Ivo used the entire crew to search the ship underdeck. It was revealed Oliver had taken a drug making him immune to the truth serum. The upper-deck was now unguarded and Sara and Slade used a parachute to land on the deck. Here the group split up, Sara went to free the prisoners, Oliver went to find Ivo, Slade began killing the crew members below deck.
Oliver successfully reached Ivo and was about to shoot him. However Ivo began taunting Oliver that he made him choose to kill Shado, and that therefore Oliver was also to blame for her death. Oliver said he would kill him anyway. But it was then shown Slade had heard the conversation.
An enraged Slade then tried to kill him. Oliver managed to escape and reach upper-deck where he used archery to take out several of the armed crew members. Sara, Anatoly and other prisoners managed to jump overboard and swim to the island. Slade managed to grab Oliver and locked him up in a cage. He then killed the captain and forced the crew to accept him as their new leader. He then chopped off Ivo's arm while making him mimic how he executed Shado. After this he made a promise to Oliver that before he would kill him he would destroy everything he cared about and take away everything he loves.
Slade eventually left Sara, Oliver and the other prisoners on the island as a punishment. He promised Oliver he would kill his family. The group managed to get the stranded submarine operational again they also found antidote for the mirakuru. Oliver went on board to confront Slade and ordered Anatoly to shoot a torpedo at the ship if it took too long. Slade captured Oliver and prepared to kill both him and Sara. Anatoly hit the ship after which it partially exploded and began to sink. A enraged Slade threw Sara into the hole where she got pulled under water. He then fought Oliver. A huge pile of metal hit Slade and pinned him on the floor. Oliver was furious as Sara had seemingly drowned. Slade was mocking him and Oliver stabbed an arrow through his eye and believed to have killed him. He then tried to escape the ship in which he passed out and got saved by A.R.G.U.S agents. A injured Slade managed to swim away from the island.
Baron Reiter's operation
In 2011 after being cornered in a trap set by A.R.G.U.S. in a Coast City bar, Oliver was drafted once again for a mission that would send him back to Lian Yu to investigate a unknown occupation on the island. When he landed, Oliver infiltrated in a military operation run by a man named Reiter who recruited him for recreative purposes.
Oliver then became one of Reiter's mercenaries. After a parcel of drugs went missing, Oliver helped a woman named Taiana, who was responsible for the incident. To prevent her from getting killed, Oliver convinced one of Reiter's finest man, Conklin, to have her murdered. Afterwards, Oliver took the woman to Yao Fei's cave, and used a skill he learned from Yao Fei to make it look she was dead. While roaming around the woods of the island, Conklin discovered Oliver's communication device he had from A.R.G.U.S.
Upon returning to the base, Conklin tried to convince Reiter that Oliver was a mole, bringing the device as proof. Baron doubted Conklin's accusations, as he was dealing with the guy who was really spying on them, this being John Constantine, who had recently arrived on Lian Yu in search for a secret object. After learning that Oliver Queen knew the way around on the island, Constantine performed a spell to free himself from the handcuffs and took Oliver as a hostage. When Oliver led John to one of the places Constantine was searching for, the exorcist uncovered a hidden passageway, in which led them to the mystical object Constantine was so curious about. The chamber had a trap that was set off by the latter, but Oliver saved his life, concluding he was not one of Reiter's men.
As a gift for saving his life, John broke off the crystal off the rod so Oliver could give it to Reiter, and transferred another spell onto Oliver's torso, which he revealed to be something that would come in handy in the future. He also warned him about Reiter's true motives, and insisted that drugs isn't the only thing that appeals to the leader of the operation.
Oliver later brought Reiter and Conklin to the cave. Baron found out some writing on the wall, which leads it to body of water on the island. Baron sent Oliver and his Slam workers to the location in order to find the object that Reiter calls "gift". In the beach, Conklin plotted a plan against Oliver, using a worker named Vlad on the cultivation operation to kill Oliver, who winded up being killed by the latter.
Much to his astonishment, Oliver found out that Vlad was actually Taiana's brother. Meanwhile, Baron used a "spell" to uncover the true liar, and sent his men to take Conklin away, while Oliver stole the map from Reiter's table and was met with the task to torture Conklin for his betrayal. Oliver then returned to the cave and told the shocking news to Taiana, and said he needed her help to gain a detailed map of the island.
With the instructions of Taiana, Oliver returned to the shipwrecked Amazo and recovered the map he was looking for. However, shortly after he came back to the bay, he and Taiana were ambushed by Conklin and Reiter's men.
Conklin returned to the camp with Taiana and Oliver, and presented the latter as a traitor, offering the maps as proof to Reiter. Given the option to kill Oliver, Conklin chose to whip him instead. However, while torturing him, Baron found the spell on Oliver's abdomen, and made a deal with him. Oliver and Taiana were then placed on a prison located on the island.
The result of Oliver's injuries led to an hallucination of Shado, which itself formed a magical stone on Oliver's hand. Telling Taiana that he was responsible for her brother's death, Oliver found himself in a dire position, as Taiana, infuriated, betrayed Oliver and gave Baron the stone. Hours later, Reiter returned to tell Oliver that the rock was the last piece of the puzzle he needed to find what he wanted, and that they would be start digging up beneath the surface of the island.
Days later, Oliver and Reiter found a giant cave which possessed an idol that could suck the life force out of the dying. Oliver and Taiana created a diversion and stoled it, running off to the tunnels of the cave. They also gained guns, making an advantage against Baron.
Taiana and Oliver began to kill all Reiter's men while Baron was searching the tunnels for the idol. After freeing the island prisoners, Oliver decided to set up some bombs in order to keep Reiter trapped in the caves.
Reiter, however, escaped the tunnels and went after the two prisoners, who had been leading the Slam workers to Reiter's plane located on the island. The idol's mystical powers began to affect Taiana, making her experience darkness. She began reacting differently, being more cold and ruthless. After killing one of the prisoners, Oliver tried to keep the idol away from her, however Baron showed up, seemingly alive, and began to suck the life force out of Taiana. The latter was able to counteract the magic, which prompted Oliver to kill Reiter. After realizing the darkness she had in her, Taiana asked Oliver to kill her. Reluctant, Oliver snapped her neck, destroyed and lost for what he had done. Hours later, he contacted Amanda Waller through the A.R.G.U.S. radio, freeing all the prisoners who were still alive. Amanda offered a position for Oliver around the globe, but Oliver refused it, determined to go to Russia and fulfil a promise that he made to Taiana.
Oliver's brief return
In 2013 after the quake in Starling City, Oliver Queen had come back to Lian Yu and was living there again in the forests. Diggle and Felicity came over and convinced him to return. The wreckage of a huge ship was spotted in front of the island.
After the confrontation with the vengefull Slade he managed to beat him and locked him away in a maximum security prison A.R.G.U.S had build on the island.
The former ASIS agent Digger Harkness was locked up in this prison after being caught by The Arrow.
Oliver returned to Lian Yu with Thea after it was suggested by Malcolm Merlyn that they should train together if they were to go up against the League of Assassins. Unknown to both Oliver and Thea, Malcolm had set Slade Wilson free as part of their training. While Slade managed to escape he was once again subdued by the Queen siblings.
When Eobard Thawne reactivated the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator, rather than letting the Meta-human criminals locked up in the pipeline die, Barry Allen wanted to relocate them to the prison on Lian Yu, implying that the prison had been equipped to contain meta-humans. However Leonard and Lisa Snart sabotaged the operation and the meta-humans escaped before ever making it to the island.
An A.R.G.U.S. maximum security prison is located on Lian Yu. It is accessed by a hatch door. It currently holds Slade Wilson and Digger Harkness.
- Taiana Venediktov (deceased)
- Vlad (deceased)
- Alan Durand (deceased)
- Yao Fei (deceased)
- Thomas Flynn (unknown)
- Edward Fyers (deceased)
- Anatoly Knyazev
- Sara Lance
- Peter (deceased)
- Oliver Queen
- Shado (deceased)
- Hendrick Von Arnim (unknown)
- Billy Wintergreen (deceased)
- Amazo prisoners (unknown)
- Edward Fyers' men (all deceased)
- Malcolm Merlyn (unknown if he really visited on Lian Yu in Season 3 to free Slade)
- Amanda Waller (deceased)
- Baron Reiter (deceased)
- Conklin (deceased)
- Barry Allen (not shown)
- "The Butcher" (deceased)
- "The Captain" (deceased)
- John Constantine
- John Diggle
- Nyssa al Ghul
- Anthony Ivo (deceased)
- Thea Queen
- Sin's father (deceased)
- Felicity Smoak
- Amazo crew (all deceased)
- "Legends of Today" (mentioned)
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
Behind the scenes
- In the DC comics, the island is named Starfish Island.