Legends of Tomorrowrecently introduced us to an Arrow-verse version of the beloved comic book character Connor Hawke, played by relative newcomer Joseph David-Jones. Though the character strayed in some ways from comic book canon — most notably making him the son of John Diggle, rather than Oliver Queen — his turn as a future version of Green Arrow in “Star City 2046” was a most welcome addition to the Arrow-verse.
We had a chance to chat with actor David-Jones about the conception of this character, what his future in the Arrow-versemight look like, and his upcoming turn in the third film in the Divergentseries: Allegiant…
Den of Geek: Have you been getting a lot of fan reaction from people who finally have seen Connor Hawke in action in the Arrow-verse?
Joseph David-Jones: Oh, yeah. I didn’t really realize how big his fandom is … Made an Instagram, made a Twitter. My Instagram went to 5,000 in a couple of days. And I’m getting fan art. People made Legos of me. So, it’s overwhelming … It’s awesome, too. Everyone is super loyal.
Connor Hawke is such an iconic role from the comic books. Can you talk about what the process of getting the role?
It was serendipitous, actually. I met with CW just on a general meeting, and casting ended up liking me. And they were like, ‘We should get you on this show The 100.’They didn’t have a role at the time, they just said they’d keep me in mind. And then, like two days later, this role came through for Legends,and I ended up going in for it and everything. It worked out perfectly.
Once I did get this, though, everything was shrouded in mystery. I didn’t know who I was playing. I auditioned for Colin Offspray, who is some random, madeup character. The description was the exact same. He was the exact same person in the sides that they had. It was just ‘Future Green Arrow Guy,’ and I was like, ‘What? Who is this Colin Offspray guy? Never heard of him before.’
And so, when I got it, they called me and told me, ‘You’re playing Connor Hawke.’ They told we everything. ‘We’re gonna make you Diggle’s son.’ All this other stuff … and they said, ‘You can’t say anything for four or five months.’
And had you watched any of the Arrow-verse before that?
I had not, and I didn’t know what the tone of the shows were like. I asked them when we were doing it — because they have three shows now, but the tone for Arrowis very different from the tone for Flash— and I had seen episodes of The Flashso I didn’t know if it was going to be like that or if it was going to be darker or what.
So I asked them and they said, ‘The [episode] before that was a little bit lighter a little bit more comical. When we get to your episode, and you bring us back to Star City, you bring us back into this tone that is like Arrow.’ That’s why if you see that episode, the tone shifts back to Arrowseason 2 or season 1.
Yeah, it’s very dark. There are a lot of things on fire. But there’s so much implied backstory. The episode feels like it could launch its own show, you know if you could clone Stephen Amell.
Everyone has been saying that. They’re like, ‘Please make Arrow Beyond. Link up with Terry McGinnis.’
How much did you know about Conner’s backstory going into the filming of the episode? Are there details that didn’t really make it into the episode but that were really important for you when you were creating this character?
I think because it was a reimagining of this character, they didn’t really keep too many details from the comic book. The whole origin is different. But I read so much about Connor Hawke before that. I didn’t know that much about him when I first got the role, and I was like, ‘You need to start researching right now because comic book fans will eat me alive if I have no idea who this guy is.’
And so I started reading up on who this guy was and reading some of the comic books. He has a really compelling story. In the comic books, he’s rejected by the Green Arrow time and time again. At first, the Arrow doesn’t know that he’s his son, and then when he finds out, he’s like, ‘I’m not a role model.’ He blows him off all the time.
I think his story is a tragic one that gets to people. Well, that and the fact that he’s such a badass in the comic books, too.
What did you think of the decision to make Connor Diggle’s son? And how did that inform your take on the character?
Once I found out he was Diggle’s son, I watched the show. Diggle’s very, very military-oriented. He grew up that way. I wanted to have that aspect to him. I think a lot of people lost it when [Connor] goes, ‘Copy that,’ because Diggle says that so much … I wanted it to be like he is in his own sort of war, in a sense. Kind of out of respect for his father, try to be like him and his hero when he was younger, which is the Green Arrow.
Did you get a chance to meet David Ramsey?
I did not.
But you obviously did get to film with Stephen Amell. What was that like?
Stephen was awesome, man. And he was just joking around most of the time with his bionic arm. He was hilarious. And he kept telling me about all of the other stuff I could kind of expect from the arrow, as well as different tips. I don’t know if you realize this, [but] a lot of the scenes where we’re holding this bow, even though it’s a lighter draw weight, we are holding this bow that’s like 25 pounds draw weight that we’re just holding back.
So we’ll have scenes where it’s like seven minutes, and I’m just standing there, holding the bow, and my arm’s about to fall off. And he was just like, ‘Oh, yeah. No. Arrowseason 1, that is exactly how it was.’ And, his new bow, it locks into place, so he can hold it there, and there’s no draw weight on it … He knew, man. He was like, ‘Trust me. I’ve been doing this Arrowthing for a while.’
I think the big question that a lot of viewers had after watching this episode is: Will we get to see Connor Hawke in the Arrow-verse again?
I don’t know, man. It’s all up to where the writers and producers want to go with it. Things have been hinted at towards me, but I can’t say anything for sure. We just gotta hope that this isn’t the last time we’ve seen Connor Hawke.
Do you have any dream scenarios, personally, about how or where Conner Hawke would pop up in the Arrow-verse next?
I think, ideal situation, Legendsneeds his help for something. He goes on the ship with them. They end up in 2016 where he realizes his father’s still alive and maybe he can go back and save him … And then Diggle doesn’t know I’m his son, so it’s kind of a nod to the comic books, like Oliver doesn’t know he’s his son. And then I go around making sure he doesn’t get knocked off.
It was pretty cool to see not one, but two superheroes of color on The CW last week. We had Connor and we had Vixen on Arrow. I was curious if you think it’s getting easier to find these sorts of roles as an actor of color or if the Arrow-verse is a particularly diverse place to be on TV?
I think, right now, CW’s kind of killing it. As far as diversity, they’ve been doing such an awesome job. Unfortunately, there are definitely larger aspects of Hollywood where it’s not that way, but I’m really happy with what The CW has done. All their shows are really, really diverse.
You have another big role coming up in the Allegiant film, part of the Divergent series. Can you tell us a little bit about your role in the movie?
This movie takes place two weeks from where the last movie left off. So, in the last movie, everybody’s happy, they’re going: ‘We’re all gonna go over The Wall. It’s gonna be great.’ And this movie kind of has that wake-up effect of there’s still a whole bunch of problems going on with our shattered society now.
My character, personally, I am Factionless. As we saw in the last movie, the Factionless have this huge army, and it’s being led by Evelyn [Naomi Watts]. So now that Evelyn’s in charge, you get to see more of her regime and who her heads are. I’m one of the generals in the Factionless army, and my character’s name is Hollis. In the last movie, you saw Jonny Weston playing Edgar. I’m directly under Edgar.
Basically, I’m carrying out orders in this kind of — I don’t even know how to describe this government now because everything’s fallen apart. They’re trying to piece together what they should do, but Evelyn is in control, and we’re carrying out and executing her orders and chasing down what would be our heroes. So, I’m not a nice guy.
So you’re at the other end of the villain-hero spectrum… Did you like playing the villain?
It’s so much fun. They did great shooting some of these scenes. I’m really excited to see the movie come out. I don’t want to give too much away, but it gets pretty dark right off the bat.
So far, a lot of your roles have been within this action-adventure category. Is this a genre that you really enjoy and you want to stay in, or are there other kinds of roles and genres that you’d like to try out as well?
My favorite kind of movies to watch are psychological thrillers, but I definitely think that action movies are the funnest to shoot and the most badass to watch. I do have this desire to do more psychological thrillers and deep dramas because … if a movie can make we question what’s happening and what’s real and what isn’t, [it] has me. I think those are my favorite types of movies.