Arrow star David Ramsey is returning to the Arrowverse as John Diggle for a five-episode run across Legends of Tomorrow, Superman & Lois, Batwoman, and Supergirl this spring and summer. On top of guest-starring in five episodes that explore what John has been up to since his cliffhanger ending in the Arrow series finale, Ramsey also directed three episodes of this season’s Arrowverse lineup. While Ramsey makes his Superman & Lois directorial debut on May 25, you’ll first see John in the flesh on the June 13 episode of Batwoman.
But will he be returning simply as John Diggle, co-head of ARGUS, or will fans finally get to see him put on a Green Lantern ring for the first time?
Let’s rewind for a minute. After years of speculation, forum theories, and wishful thinking, the final episode of Arrow finally teased what fans had hoped for all along: that John was destined to become the Arrowverse’s very own Green Lantern. If you recall, John’s story on Arrow ended with the former soldier discovering a mysterious box containing an object that emitted a very bright green light. The scene suggested that John had been chosen to become the new Green Lantern of his sector, setting up the fan-favorite character for a new adventure just begging to be told on screen.
But that isn’t the adventure fans will see when John returns to the screen this month, according to Ramsey in an interview with TV Line. In fact, Ramsey revealed that John has made a choice about his future that fans likely aren’t expecting.
“Whatever was in the box, he refused the invitation of. Let’s put it like that. But there are consequences to that,” Ramsey said.
Indeed, John may have been invited to become a Green Lantern by the Guardians of the Universe but that doesn’t mean he has to say yes. According to Ramsey, John declining the invitation is true to the character’s history, including what he went through with his family during eight seasons of Arrow.
“We’ve gone to great lengths over the years to make Diggle one of the more grounded characters. Any time he would go fast with Flash, he would throw up, and he was always amazed when he saw someone flying. All these things were kind of otherworldly to him, because he was a very earthbound hero.
“And after Crisis, he got back his wife, who was abducted by the Monitor, and he got back his daughter Sara, who was taken out of existence by Flashpoint. So part of Diggle’s story is that the last thing he would want to do right now is receive an invitation from something otherworldly, because he finally has his family back, and he lost his best friend to some otherworldliness. So he refused the invitation of whatever was in the box, but there are consequences to that, and that story, what he will do next, is part of what we tell throughout these four episodes.”
It’s true that in a TV superhero universe full of metahumans, aliens, and other supernatural beings, John has remained refreshingly human. Even the Arrowverse’s most human superhero, Oliver Queen, basically became the Spectre during Crisis on Infinite Earths.
So, if John chose not to become Green Lantern, what’s next for the character? We’ll begin to discover the consequences of his choice in his first Batwoman appearance.
“Headaches. Debilitating headaches. And he’s hearing voices,” Ramsey said when asked what brought John to Batwoman. “He goes to Gotham to get help with this, to see a physician there, and in the meantime, his A.R.G.U.S. story continues. His wife is still head of A.R.G.U.S. and he’s co-head, and that’s part of what he brings when he goes to these cities. He’s there to assist and help in whatever way he can with his access to A.R.G.U.S. That’s a very big part of who he is.”
While John’s choice to reject the cosmic powers and huge responsibilities of a Green Lantern might surprise (and even frustrate) some fans, the Arrowverse has long been known for the kind of drawn-out, melodramatic soap opera storytelling found in comic books. That John has rejected this path doesn’t mean that it’s closed off to him forever. Often in this universe, detours are just longer roads toward the same destination. John could still become Green Lantern down the line, it just sounds like it’s going to take a while. Perhaps Ramsey’s upcoming five-episode arc is even the beginning of the story of how John ultimately becomes Green Lantern.
In fact, John as Green Lantern is canon on at least one version of Earth in the Arrowverse: Earth-90. When John Wesley Shipp’s Earth-90 Flash met Diggle during Crisis on Infinite Earths, the speedster asked him, “John? Where’s your ring?” suggesting the Team Arrow member had already become Green Lantern on the alternate Earth.
So it’s possible that, just as Earth-90 John embraced his destiny, our Diggle may still get there, just the long way around.