After three seasons on the air, almost everyone on “Arrow” sports a super suit and goes by a codename. And when the Season 4 airs tonight, it’ll be David Ramsey‘s turn to join the club when Diggle gets geared up.
In the Season 3 finale, Oliver and Felicity drove off into the sunset to live a normal life. From there, it was up to Diggle, Laurel and Thea to pick up the slack. For Diggle, part of that required assuming a new alias. However, with Damien Darhk threatening Star City and Diggle’s mounting personal problems, Team Arrow’s united front may no longer be enough, not just to save the city, but to survive.
Ahead of tonight’s season premiere, Ramsey spoke with CBR News about Diggle taking charge of the team. We also talk about his character closing in on his brother’s murderer, potential conflict with Lyla, and his hopes for more time spent with the Arrowverse’s Suicide Squad.
CBR News: Team Arrow has functioned without Oliver before, obviously, though under different circumstances. At this point, how well-oiled is this machine, and what kind of leader is Diggle?
David Ramsey: Diggle has always been a competent leader. One of the best qualities of leadership is objectiveness. Diggle has probably been one of the more objective members of the team. His objectivity is what helps Oliver. He gets to see every side, see every angle, and see the weak links.
As a whole, the team — in the five-months of absence from Oliver since he’s been living the suburban life — has been a well-oiled machine. You’ll see that at the top of the premiere. They are a very competent team. They work well together — but they come against some things that are going to require a specific set of skills that they just don’t have. It’s going to require Oliver’s expertise. How they come together again and figure out this new paradigm, this new leadership shift, is part of the challenge. There’s also mending old wounds. That is part of the story in the first couple of episodes.
How does Damien Darhk stack up against past adversaries Ra’s al Ghul, Deathstroke or Malcolm Merlyn?
The writers have done a really good job this season. I don’t know what they are going to do next year. They are going to have to bring in Batman or Superman. Every season, they up the ante in terms of how formidable the enemies have been. I would say Damien Darhk takes it even a step further than Ra’s. There was some mention of that — there was a story between Ra’s and Damien that they had talked about last season. Ra’s al Ghul was very aware of how formidable Damien Darhk was. Damien has a legacy in terms of who he is and what damage he can bring to the table. The ante has been upped, even from Deathstroke and Ra’s.
We spoke in the past about Diggle possibly becoming Wildcat or Green Lantern. Now, he’s adopted a new secret identity. What motivates him into getting a costume?
I don’t think Diggle would call it a costume. Diggle would call it a necessary urban concealment of some sort. And it is. How does Diggle come about it? He has a child and a wife and there needs to be some kind of concealment in the field to protect the ones he loves.
It’s very urban. It’s not the assassin-y wardrobe of Oliver or Speedy or Black Canary. There’s Kevlar, there’s camouflage, there’s a helmet and a gun. There’s armor. It’s very connected to his military and Special Forces roots. It makes sense that Diggle would be dressed in this type of urban camouflage.
How pleased were you that they got Diggle’s heroic journey off the ground and running in the season premiere?
I’m very pleased. A lot of fans have been saying, “Oh, we want to see more Diggle.” Obviously, as an actor, I love getting stuff you can sink your teeth into. At the end of the day, I want to get into the game like any other player. I don’t want to sit on the bench. I don’t know if that’s fully the correct analogy — I don’t want to say Diggle was on the bench. His stories weren’t as prominent as other characters. Obviously, every character’s story facilitates our hero. Outside of Oliver, I think Diggle’s story wasn’t as pushed as other stories.
As an actor, and someone who has been in this business for a long time, I totally get that. Writers write for the long haul. They are writing for five or six seasons. We can only be so lucky to do something like “Supernatural” or “Smallville” with 10 or 11 seasons. Writers are writing for the long-haul story. I always knew Diggle’s time would come and there would be an evolution of his character that people have been waiting for.
I kind of relished in the fact that you got pieces of Diggle here, and pieces of Diggle there. It kept people’s appetite whet. Some of that will be sated this season. Not all of it, because Diggle has a long, complicated story. And, unlike the other characters that have canon, Diggle has none. There is no back story.
Speaking of Green Lantern and Wildcat, I was one who really kept talking about John Stewart. It whet my appetite as an actor. John Stewart and the Green Lantern Corps — are you kidding me? How awesome would that be? But, there’s something to be said about a character that we’re making up as we go along and is now part of the DC canon. Although I love John Stewart, I’m certainly proud I’m able to write the history of Diggle.
Characters don’t become a masked — or in Diggle’s case — a helmeted crimefighter without consequences. What changes are in store for Diggle? What is his arc this season?
H.I.V.E. has been big for Diggle. He’s been on the trail of H.I.V.E. because they were the organization that hired Deadshot to kill his brother. That story is coming to its closing and is part of Diggle’s arc. The other part is his relationship with Lyla and her relationship with A.R.G.U.S. We’re going to get deeper into that in the second half of the season, including where that goes in terms of Lyla’s involvement with A.R.G.U.S. and just how these different philosophies clash, like how Diggle and Oliver fight crime versus how A.R.G.U.S. fights crime with the Suicide Squad.
Lyla is going to have an interesting position with A.R.G.U.S. Where, exactly, that goes is part of Diggle’s arc as well. I would say his two pieces would be closing the chapter on tracking down his brother’s killer and the beginning saga of the conflict with his wife and her involvement with A.R.G.U.S.
Viewers can never get enough of the Suicide Squad. Why hasn’t Diggle used that ace in the hole more? Would you like him to step up as their leader again?
Excellent question. That is probably more of a producer question than it is for me. I would say, “Let’s see how the movie does.” All these things are wrapped up together. It’s all part of the DC family. One piece affects another in ways that are way above my pay grade. So, I’m not exactly sure.
For me, personally, Diggle as the leader of an organization he fundamentally disagrees with is great drama. Are you kidding me? And when he was on missions with the Suicide Squad, that was some of the best stuff that Diggle got to play with. He got to be with these guys he really didn’t agree with. We saw some humanity between him and Deadshot, who he always just saw as a rogue assassin. Diggle really got into his brain and saw that Deadshot was a military guy, just like him, who was troubled. All of that is meaty material. I would love that for Diggle.
“Arrow” Season 4 kicks off at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 7, on The CW.
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