Arrow's David Ramsey Talks S5, The Diggles, Team Arrow and more!

By Prutha S. Patel (@PSPatel)

Vince Trupsin

Vince Trupsin

With Arrow's John Diggle freshly exonerated of his crimes because of an (extremely) appreciated last minute assist by Felicity's hacktivist "friend," David Ramsey discusses the back half of season 5, Diggle's relationship with Lyla following *the news* Barry Allen drops on him from the Invasion! crossover, Team Arrow (both original and new) and more!

Congratulations on the S6 renewal! That’s huge!

I know! Thanks for that! I’m always thinking about the days waiting for that ring. The way it usually works is that the show gets picked up but the actors get their renewal letters later. The actors aren’t picked up with the show. So most times, as a formality, you normally know if you’re leaving a show before that. But I’m just thankful and hopeful that nothing happens to me.

Oh man. You’re a fan favorite so I don’t have any thoughts on that in that regard. And as a fan favorite, what’s something you hope the show goes deeper into for Diggle next season? 

Lyla and Diggle. The Diggles! I think we should have a spin off, what do you think about that? For me, that’s a story in waiting. I think most people would agree he’s basically second in command of Team Arrow and he’s married to the leader of A.R.G.U.S.. He’s married to the new Amanda Waller, the woman who has her finger on the trigger for the Suicide Squad. What does dinner look like for them? What do they talk about? Their child, who is now a son, they find out in Flashpoint was once a daughter. Oliver knows this, but nobody else does. That relationship, I’d really love to see what happens.

Clearly Diggle is probably the most evolved of the characters, he’s had his catharsis with the wars, being overseas and having been betrayed by his commanding officer. He’s a very evolved soldier -- he’s a vigilante, a husband and a father. Last season we saw that his morality was questioned with not only his brother’s death, but also Black Canary’s (Katie Cassidy) death, and what that did to him. It’d be interesting to see how he compromises with Lyla every day.

With Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson), and how we see in the crossover episode, Barry (Grant Gustin) tells Diggle the news about their daughter. Will we be seeing scenes of him sharing that news with her and her reaction and whatnot? That’s quite a bomb to have been dropped.

Now we know that was all through Flashpoint and we’ve got these multiple universes. So far we’ve been abducted by aliens, seen other people’s mothers and met some doppelgangers, but we also haven’t seen Diggle’s doppelganger. It’d be interesting to see if baby Sara is alive on another earth and timeline, if through time with the Legends (of Tomorrow) she’s a hero too. Maybe she comes back through time and knows who her father is but he doesn’t, that’d be interesting to play with. We know what happens to John Jr. in one of the timelines, is she there with him in that timeline? Even beyond his children, who is he in the other timelines? I’d love to play with those things.

Would you want to be a villain in one of those other multiverse characters?

It’d be nice to see that. Hey, let’s put Diggle as a Yellow Lantern. That’s what I think, let’s go there. Everyone talks about John Diggle being John Stewart and that was the big rave for many seasons. But John Stewart, a Yellow Lantern? How fun would that be? But who knows? That’s just my thinking. Whatever it is, I’d love to see him play that heavy bad guy. Diggle has such a strong moral character, the only time we’ve see him shaken was with the rebirth of his brother and the death of Black Canary. The first part of this season was “Dark Diggle,” he was so internal, introspective and dealing with the grief. Thankfully he’s out of jail now and we’ll see more of the Diggle we know. It’d still be nice on these other earths to be completely different and have a dark and evil Diggle doppelganger.

Speaking of getting him out of jail and returning to the team, we’ve just seen that Felicity has the information she needs to get him exonerated. This season we’ve been introduced to a few new team members to join Team Arrow, most recently Dinah Drake (Juliana Harkavy) as the new Black Canary, what are your thoughts on the new team so far?

He came to know somewhat the new team members when he was in hiding, he served as a kind of mentor to Rene (Rick Gonzalez) and I think you’ll see him serve in that same capacity with Dinah. Dinah is just now understanding how to put her powers to good use. She’s just been through a major trauma of having lost her lover/partner, she’s been tortured by a new meta. Diggle is really the one who rolls out the welcome mat for her and that’s a part of Diggle’s strength too. Even in these strange situations, when he’s in jail, he’s overseas or away from the team, when he’s talking to Oliver (Stephen Amell), it will inevitably always go back to in the conversation to something about Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), or getting back to some sense of normalcy in Oliver’s life - because Diggle has made that transition. He can be a vigilante, a husband, a father, a tax-paying contributor to society. He’s made that jump. He joined the team and told Oliver that Oliver needs him whether he knows it or not and how killing takes a little piece of your soul off. Diggle is the one who reminds everyone of their humanity and you’ll see that with Dinah in the first few episodes. He helps the new team make adjustments.

With the introduction of these new characters, many fans have also been asking about the return of more OTA scenes as well. Anything you can tell us about that? 

A lot of people are asking that. I don’t think it’s too much to say that has really been the backbone of the show and it has been for 5 seasons. There’s a big story to tell this season, there are lots of new characters and a lot of moving parts. A lot of new faces were brought in and everyone has a story, so you’re trying to do all these characters justice. But thankfully - Yes. I can say yes, we will get back to OTA, to the backbone of the show. Those three particularly, watch each other’s backs like no other team members can and you’ll see how Diggle particularly helps Felicity in the coming episodes. Yes, a lot of the coming episodes will have OTA scenes. 

Over the years, we’ve always had the “My name is Oliver Queen…” intro to the episodes, I’d love to hear your version for Diggle.

[Laughs] Let’s do this on the spot, I haven’t practiced this.

“My name is John Diggle and for the past 5 years, I’ve been protecting and saving the life of one Oliver Queen. I’m a father and husband by day, a vigilante by night. I, along with the rest of Team Arrow, must now become someone else, we must be…something else…”

That’s all I got.

[Started a one person slow clap] That was great! They should use it.

[Laughs] I wanted to say, “John Diggle, protecting this idiot Oliver Queen.” How many times does this man have to save Oliver’s life? How many times does he have to say, “Oliver, don’t. No.”

Oliver’s like, “YES!!”

Oliver’s like, “You know I’m going to do it anyway.”

We all remember season 1 Oliver. It’s fine.

He’s a lot better than season 1 Oliver. With season 1 Oliver, Diggle was doing that literally every episode. 

That’s so true. And lastly, anything you’d like to say to those reading and watching?

Prometheus is our “big bad” this season and we aren’t done with that. We aren’t done with Slade Wilson. How Prometheus manipulates the team to slowly destroy and break down Oliver Queen is going to be very interesting and I hope people enjoy it.

Dun dun dun!

Dun dun dun!

Follow David Ramsey on Twitter: @David_Ramsey

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Above photo, through no fault of our own, was previously miscredited but has now properly been credited.