David Ramsey‘s return to the Arrowverse is nearly upon us. And by the time the Arrow alum wraps his multi-pronged, five-show run, “earthbound hero” John Diggle should have a greater sense of what his cosmic destiny is — and whether he wants any part of it.
Ramsey’s spring/summer trip through the Arrowverse officially kicks off Tuesday, May 25, with the episode of Superman & Lois that he directed. As for his series of on-camera appearances, he first will be seen on the Sunday, June 13 episode of Batwoman.
TVLine spoke with Ramsey about his upcoming visits to a quintet of Arrowverse series, shedding much-needed (green?) light on the “mystery role” that has fans speculating….
TVLINE | First off, are you directing every episode you’re guest-starring in, and guest-starring in every episode you’re directing?
Close. I am guest-starring in about five different episodes, and I am directing three — but it doesn’t work out that I’m directing all the episodes I’m guest-starring in. On Legends, for example, I’m guest-starring and I’m also directing; same with Supergirl. The third one I’m directing is Superman & Lois, but on a different occasion I will be guest-starring; I won’t be directing the one I’m in.
TVLINE | Was directing Superman & Lois pretty different than the others? It is quite a bit more cinematic, more “16:9” over there.
One-hundred percent. You’re floating between three anamorphic lenses, to get that aspect ratio – that’s the technical stuff — and it’s just a different pace. Tonally, it’s a different pace.
I don’t think it’s a small secret that it’s a family show that has Superman in it, and you feel that. You feel that in the scope, in the way it’s shot, you feel that in the writing, and obviously in the performances. And that’s not taking away anything from the other shows. It’s just a different type of pace, and a different look. I mean, the pilot was incredibly cinematic, and it set the tone. We were all playing catch-up in the sense that the pilot had months to shoot it, while each episode has 10 days. So, you’re trying to keep that scope, that look and that pace that the pilot had, and I think every episode has done a great job of that. But that show was very different than most of the Arrowverse. Can we say “Arrowverse” now? Or is it “Berlanti-verse”? [Chuckles] I don’t know. Either way!
TVLINE | Some Arrowverse fans may be assuming that your Legends mystery role is the one to watch for as far as any “green” matters, but from what I’ve heard it’s your other guest appearances that really tell that story.
That’s true. There was some press that was out there that I’m playing a mystery character on Legends, and from that kind of wording there was an assumption that because obviously Legends has a time ship, and they go through time and space, fans connected that to the Green Lantern Corps…. Also, the last time you saw Diggle, he was on his way to Metropolis and was intercepted by a glowing, green box, so it was a logical step in assuming that…. But on Legends, there’s a different character all together. It’s a historic character, a historical Western character (see exclusive photo above). UPDATE: Ramsey is playing Bass Reeves, a onetime enslaved Arkansan who grew up to the first Black Deputy U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi River.
To your other point, which is exploring what has happened to Diggle since encountering that green box, that will be explored in the other episodes – on Batwoman, Flash, Superman & Lois, and Supergirl. Whatever was in the box, he refused the invitation of. Let’s put it like that. But there are consequences to that.
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.
TVLINE | Of all the characters that Diggle runs into on the four shows, does anyone possibly have insight into exactly what he’s been dealing with? Has anyone “heard tell of a corps of galactic law enforcers” or anything like that?
No, we don’t get into that. This is a very, very, very preliminary [look at] what happens from this refusal, and what it means to his destiny. We simply get into the preliminary physical effects of his refusal of whatever it was in that box.
TVLINE | Your first guest stop is on Batwoman. What takes Dig to Gotham, because best that I recall, he doesn’t know anybody there, right?
Headaches. Debilitating headaches. And he’s hearing voices. 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.
TVLINE | So we’ll at least get a mention of Lyla, even if we don’t see her.
Without a doubt. Life for Diggle post-Crisis continues in the sense that he is a father and he continues to be an earthbound hero, but his duties at A.R.G.U.S. have multiplied. But within that, he’s hiding something, and that’s part of what we’re telling in these stories.
TVLINE | Will there be any other Arrow mentions? Like, will we hear that Laurel is now doing NFT paintings…?
[Laughs] How did you know that? Uh, no. We mention Oliver and his relationship with Oliver in these stories, but that’s the extent of mentioning the past and his life with Arrow. We really are trying to show that John Diggle has moved on from that, yet there’s something that’s pulling him — something that’s a lot more bigger, and far more cosmic — than he’s letting on.
TVLINE | What was one of the “biggest” things you had to direct, among the three shows?
You mentioned Superman & Lois, the scope of which is unlike anything we’ve seen in this Berlanti-verse, and Supergirl, like Flash, is one of our older stalwarts, so they are very dialed in. But you want to know something? Legends.
Some people may or may not be like, “Really? Legends?” Yes. Legends is one of those shows that is very indulgent, if you will, as a director. When you come into any show, they have a tone — “You do this, and you don’t do that. “On some shows, it’s like, “Hey, I want to do this with the camera.” “I want to put this with him,” and it’s like, “Ohhh, we don’t really do that.” On Legends? “Where do you want it? What do you want to do? Absolutely, go for it!” Personally, I think if Legends was on a major network and had a little more money thrown into it, it would be nominated for art director, for set designer, because it’s that crazy, and that big. Every week is Deadpool.