In the Season 5 finale of Arrow, John Diggle was trapped on Lian Yu with no clear path for escape. And now that we’ve seen the island in ruins thanks to the trailer for Arrow Season 6, the likelihood of anyone surviving seemed extremely low. Speaking with the press at Comic-Con International, David Ramsey confirmed that Diggle does, in fact, make it off the island alive, but he will be a profoundly broken man when he returns to Star City.
Asked about Diggle’s greatest challenge going into Season 6, Ramsey replied, “We have to break Diggle. I think Season 6 we’ll see Diggle get broken in a way he hasn’t been broken before. It already starts in [the first episode], and I think there’s a certain amount of it that will continue throughout the season. I think it’s an arc for Diggle that we haven’t seen, even beyond his brother coming back to life and killing his evil brother and that leading to the death of the Canary.”
Diggle’s brokenness will — in part — come from the trauma of his island experience. “The explosion profoundly affects Diggle, emotionally and physically. I shadowed [director] James Bamford for episode 6.01. (If the gods allow it, and Greg Berlanti allows it, we’ll see if I direct.) In shadowing him, I went back to the island and was shown what happened in the explosion. You’re going to really like what happens to Diggle.” As for whether he’s experience something like Felicity’s back injury from Season 4, Ramsey wouldn’t say, though he did promise Diggle’s situation will “greatly affect the whole team.”
In addition to Diggle dealing with new injuries, he will also continue to grapple with the ever-changing world around him. “We’ve always kind of played with that, right? His reactions to Flash, his reactions to Supergirl. It’s always a place of humor we can go to with Diggle. I think comes from a real place. I think Diggle’s always been a nuts and bolts guy. The world kind of expanding into superpowers and aliens in the crossover — I think that’s all out of his element. It’s a place we can play with but it’s also ultimately a source of contention for him and his wife. How do you defend the world in a world where people can move faster than light? He struggles with that.”
This ever-changing world will further intensify his relationship with his wife, Lyla. “We’ll find out his wife is part of that problem. Because she has her finger on the pulse of some of these metahumans and the Suicide Squad. It’s our S.H.I.E.L.D. so to speak. He’s trying to bring some normalcy to his life, but being married to the leader of A.R.G.U.S., with more metahumans, even someone on the team, like Dinah.” Diggle’s struggles with metahumans may be too much for him to deal with this season because Ramsey also said, “The tables are going to turn” in Season 6, “and Diggle is going to start having secrets.”
Diggle is typically an open book — keeping both Team Arrow and Lyla informed about what’s going on in his life. With these “monumental” physical and mental changes happening to him, it sounds like we’re going to see a version of Diggle we have never seen before.
Arrow returns to The CW on a new night, Thursday, October 12 at 9 PM.