The future will have a new villain in the form of John Diggle Jr., played by Charlie Barnett, in the eighth and final season of Arrow. Starring Stephen Amell in the titular role, Arrow first hit screens in 2012. Though it began life as a standalone show, it went on to spawn what's commonly known as the Arrowverse, and features multiple crossovers with The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow. The next crossover event will see the shows bring to life the ever-popular Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline, in which collective heroes join forces to save parallel universes from the villainous Anti-Monitor in their own Endgame-level adventure.
In season 7, Arrow eschewed its traditional flashback format and instead turned its attention to the future, potentially setting up the perfect spinoff. In a world without Oliver Queen, Star City had become a police state that hunted down vigilantes. Though Oliver was seemingly long gone, he wife Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and various members of Team Arrow continued the fight in his honor. The disparate heroic factions were ultimately joined by his grown-up son, William, and the daughter he'd fathered with Felicity, Mia Smoak (Katherine McNamara). With Rickards leaving the show, William and Mia bid farewell to Felicity in the season 7 finale - but not before vowing to continue their father's work and protect Star City. They were joined by John Diggle's adopted son, Connor Hawke (Joseph David-Jones).
That idea of familial legacy will be further explored in season 8. With the flashforwards set to continue, and with McNamara, Jones, and Ben Lewis (who plays William) once again returning as regulars, fans will learn what became of John Diggle's other son, John Diggle, Jr - otherwise known as J.J. Though originally a girl, Sara, the character was changed to a boy as a result of Barry Allen's Flashpoint actions. According to Warner Bros, the character will be played by Barnett and will also be a regular. The character was teased in season 7, mentioned as being the leader of the villainous Deathstroke Gang. Season 8, however, will see him in full action as he clashes directly with Mia and Connor.
Barnett was most recently seen in Netflix dark-comedy series, Russian Doll. Barnett played Alan, a man who, like Natasha Lyonne's Nadia, found himself stuck in a time-loop. The series was not only recently renewed for a second season but also scored a host of nominations for the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards, including an acting nod for Lyonne. Though Barnett was a substantial part of the first season, it's unclear whether he'll return for the second. The actor is also known for his role on Chicago Fire.
One of the remaining loose threads lingering in Arrow is what became of John Diggle. Where season 7 served to mostly wrap up Oliver's story ahead of the impending crisis, the fates of Diggle - and his wife, Lyla Michaels - remain unclear. That was no doubt intentional on the part of the writers. It leaves them with a wealth of material to work with on a thematical level, but also adds substantial tension for the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover. Last seasons flashforwards, after all, revealed that Roy Harper, Laurel Lance, Rene Ramirez, and Dinah Drake were all alive in the future. With Diggle serving as such a fan-favorite, fans will be on the edge of their seats waiting to see not only what happens to him but become of his vastly different sons, thus closing the loop on the show a little more fully.
Arrow season 8 premieres October 15 on The CW.
Source: Warner Bros.