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The Arrow Season 5 finale marked the end of an era, and fans have known for a while that the show would look different in Season 6 now that Oliver's flashbacks have come to an end. What we haven't known is just how the gigantic cliffhanger will affect all the characters moving forward. We can bet that they won't escape scot free, and it has been confirmed that the Season 6 premiere will catch us up with what happened right after the giant explosion. David Ramsey, who plays John Diggle, revealed some of what will happen in Season 6, and it doesn't bode well for Digg:
The explosion profoundly affects people in the show, particularly Diggle. I shadowed James Bamford, our esteemed stunt choreographer turned director turned now producer/director on the show, to look at directing and all the other stuff. I'm not directing an episode. We went back to the island and we shot what happened on the island in terms of that explosion. Diggle is profoundly affected by it and we'll see the repercussions of what happened to him on the island throughout the season. Diggle particularly. There are other people that are affected, but Diggle specifically.
Well, at least we know now that Diggle survived the cliffhanger. David Ramsey explained that the explosion on Lian Yu in the Season 5 finale will have lasting ramifications for his character during a press roundtable at San Diego Comic-Con. Given the extent of the destruction on the island, it was practically a given that the survivors of Team Arrow would need some recovery time after they made it back to Star City. Apparently, Diggle won't be bouncing back from this catastrophe quite as well as he's bounced back from other catastrophes in years past.
Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like David Ramsey is simply referring to emotional ramifications, although those will factor in. John Diggle may have suffered a terrible injury in the explosion. Arrow star Stephen Amell revealed at Comic-Con that there will be injuries coming out of the cliffhanger, and Ramsey had this to say about the types of trauma Diggle will be dealing with moving forward:
Both [physical and emotional], and what that does to him, what that does to the team or does to his family will be very interesting... John Diggle, sergeant major, four tours in Afghanistan, married, divorced, married again, has a child, vigilante, father, husband, is probably the most evolved character on the show, arguably. I was talking to [executive producers] Marc [Guggenheim] and Wendy [Mericle], and we all seem to agree. I think you're going to see Diggle in a way, unlike his brother coming back from the dead and killing his brother and leading to the death of Canary and going to jail and getting out, unlike all those things where we see things that Diggle can recover from. I think in Season 6 you're gonna see Diggle be broken in a way he's never been broken. And it starts in 601. It starts in the first episode. So I think you're gonna see a dramatic change in what Diggle really has to deal with on an emotional and physical level in a way we haven't seen.
David Ramsey clearly couldn't spill too many details about what's in store for John Diggle in Season 6, but it certainly sounds like Digg was seriously injured in the cliffhanger explosion. In all of those traumas that Ramsey listed, including Andy Diggle's death, Laurel's murder, and his own imprisonment, Diggle was not physically hurt. As a man who has been a skilled soldier and crime-fighter from the very beginning, an injury that takes him out of the fight would definitely be difficult to recover from, and it would likely change him permanently.
If Arrow does go the route of injuring and perhaps even crippling Diggle, it wouldn't be the first time that a major character was taken out of commission. Felicity was shot and lost the use of her legs back in Season 4, and it was only thanks to a piece of advanced tech that she was able to walk again. I'm not sure Arrow would try to pull the same move of crippling one of Oliver's original teammates and then restoring their abilities within a handful of episodes, so I expect poor Diggle really will struggle with whatever happens to him for quite a while.
Whatever happens, we can only hope that the storyline is fully explored. David Ramsey has proved that he can tackle whatever Arrow throws at him, and a lasting arc about the repercussions of the explosion could showcase him in a pretty fascinating way. Considering the nature of the new bad guys in Season 6, Diggle likely be anxious to get back in the game. We'll have to wait and see.