Everyone seems to have a costume in Arrow Season 3, everyone that is except for David Ramsey’s long-suffering no-nonsense ass-kicker John Diggle. We spoke exclusively to Ramsey about Ra’s al Ghul, Suicide Squad and those rumours that he might be stepping into another set of green chaps as Green Latern…
Arrow has gone on to be a massive hit. Did you expect this level of success?
I think we all had our fingers crossed at first. When we first hit the air in the first season, we really were in the shadow of Smallville. So everyone was comparing our show to whether or not really we could come out of their shadow.
The level of success was a surprise, yeah, but we did think that people were going to tune into the different take we had on the superhero genre on television in general, of the Christopher Nolan, more sombre, gripping, down to earth dark tone that The Dark Knight took.
That had not been done on network television, so we weren’t quite sure how people were going to take to it, but I think we had hope for that because we it worked in the feature world. This has been the stuff that dreams are made of, really.
In addition to appearing on Arrow, you also crossed over into The Flash. Was the experience of working on a different show any different?
The Flash is a completely different animal. The sets are a lot brighter, there’s a lot of sun in Central City, and there’s a lot of humour on Flash. In Starling City, it’s a lot darker, there’s a lot more rain, very Gotham-y. It’s a different feel altogether, both in the writing and the atmosphere.
Diggle’s gone from taking a backseat role to getting back in the field after Oliver goes missing. Was it nice to don the green outfit again?
Every time I put on that outfit, I get a bit more confident. It’s always fun when Diggle puts on the outfit – it’s always a ruse, as a decoy of some sort. It’s always fun to do, I love doing it.
In Oliver’s absence, Diggle suits up again. Was it Oliver’s suit, or one specially made for you?
I think if I actually put on his suit, I probably couldn’t get my arm in, it’s that skin-tight! He’s a big guy, but I’m a little bigger. It’s a totally new suit, redesigned just for Diggle.
Just over a year ago, Diggle became a character in the Green Arrow comics. Are you proud that you’ve had that kind of impact?
Absolutely. It’s also a testament to what the fans have tuned into; it didn’t happen in a vacuum. I’m thankful for the accolades I get, and I’m grateful for that, but at the same time the writing is really there for the character, and I think the fans tuned into the everyman nature, tone and quality that Diggle has.
People can tune into the regularness of Diggle, so I’m really glad that DC, Warner Bros and the powers that be took notice and put me into the canon. 20 years from now, if Diggle’s still in the comics, someone might play him again. He might live on for years to come, so it’s a great honour.
Were you a big comic reader before Arrow, or has the show converted you?
I was! I was very aware of Arrow and Oliver Queen, but I wasn’t as strong.. there was Batman, Superman, Aquaman, Justice League, Green Lantern…
There were characters I tuned into as a comic book reader as a youngster, I was always in a comic book store, but I really was a Marvel boy; X-Men really resonated with me and kids my age generation. And the Hulk, Spider-Man, I grew up during the Bill Bixby Incredible Hulk series, and the whole Marvel genre was ingrained in me, I didn’t tune into DC as much; that was more when I was an adolescent.
Can we expect to see Diggle take on his own costumed identity?
There’s been a lot of talk about Diggle becoming a superhero – Guardian, Green Lantern, stuff like that – but it looks like the creators want to explore Diggle’s relationship with ARGUS and HIVE; maybe Diggle becomes part of it. These are the things they want to explore, and perhaps out of that, maybe he does wear some kind of concealment in the field.
It’s a bit of a challenge, because part of the appeal his his everyday-ness. He’s dealt with his crucible, which was Afghanistan; everyone else is still adjusting. Oliver has the Island, Black Canary has the death of her sister, Roy has the Mirakuru and killing the cop – everyone’s dealing with their own thing.
Diggle did two tours in Afghanistan, and he’s probably the most well adjusted character on the show, at least of Team Arrow. So to cover that accessibility with a mask is a challenge, but something’s coming, and we are talking of some kind of artillery gear he has when working with Arrow in the field.
What can we expect to see from the rest of Season 3?
The League of Assassins, and Ra’s Al Ghul. He’s the big baddie, it’s going to ramp up to a showdown, and Ra’s at the centre of it. I don’t know all the things that are going to happen, but as a fan I’m interested to see what Diggle’s role in that is, and I’m sure he will most likely recruit some of the Suicide Squad – I’m only guessing, but I hope he will. In answer to your question, this season will end on a note that involves Ra’s Al Ghul, and I’m looking forward to that.
Arrow is currently airing on Thursday nights on Sky 1. For more on the comics that inspire the series, pick up our 100 All-Time Greatest Comics bookazine now!