Warning: this article contains spoilers for the latest episode of Arrow!
While this week’s Arrow shocked fans with confirmation that Bruce Wayne and Gotham City exist in the Arrowverse, that wasn’t actually the biggest development in “Tribute.” After five years in hell and five more saving his city, Oliver Queen finally seems ready to hang up the hood and pass the Green Arrow mantle to another. Now it falls on John Diggle to keep the legacy going.
The real question is how long this new status quo is meant to last. Is it really possible that Diggle is becoming Green Arrow on a permanent basis? Frankly, we find that hard to believe.
Even ignoring the fact that Diggle is suffering from debilitating injuries and operating at less-than-peak proficiency, we’re not convinced he’s qualified to be the new Green Arrow. Sure, he has plenty of combat and martial arts experience, but there’s more to being Green Arrow than knowing how to throw a punch and fire a gun. For one thing, he has to be able to actually use a bow and arrow, and there’s never been any indication that Diggle has the makings of an archer. But even ignoring that, Oliver Queen is a man of many talents honed over years of fighting on Lian Yu and other global hellholes. He speaks several languages. He knows how to blend into his surroundings and go places most ordinary people couldn’t. Diggle is a good soldier, but he just doesn’t have the skills and training necessary to do what Ollie does.
And that’s fine. There’s no reason to believe the writers actually intend for Diggle to become Ollie’s permanent replacement. If they did, why would they drop that twist two episodes into the new season and not during the Season 5 finale or another, more significant point? Most likely, we’ll see Diggle struggle in his new role for an episode or few before finally admitting to himself and to Ollie that he simply can’t do what needs to be done in his current condition.
But while Diggle’s new job is probably temporary, that doesn’t necessarily mean Ollie won’t continue to search for a permanent replacement. “Tribute” showed that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for Ollie to balance his dueling jobs as mayor and Green Arrow while also trying to be the father his son William needs. Ollie has to choose what’s most important in his life, and he seems to have done that. He’s ready to leave the vigilante lifestyle behind and focus more on his son. It’s a fitting evolution for the character, one that reinforces how much this series is driven by the relationships between fathers and sons. Oliver only became the Green Arrow because his own father sacrificed himself so Ollie could live. Now he is coming to realize that he can do more for his city and himself by being a good mayor and a good father.
So perhaps the real burning question in the aftermath of “Tribute” is who will wear the hood in Season 6 and beyond, if not Oliver or Diggle. Frankly, if Diggle isn’t cut out for the job, we’re not sure anyone else on Team Arrow is. Nor would these characters be well-served by forgoing their own costumed identities in favor of someone else’s.
But there are other options. One possibility is Vigilante, a character who proved he’s perfectly capable of going toe-to-toe with the greatest warriors in Star City. Vigilante may be at odds with Green Arrow, but at the end of the day, he seems to be looking out for Star City’s well-being. Perhaps Ollie could curb Vigilante’s more violent impulses and encourage him to choose a nobler path. This would be an especially interesting possibility if our theory about Vigilante’s identity is correct.
Another option is Richard Dragon, a character who has yet to appear but is poised to play a major role in Season 6. In the comics, Richard Dragon is among the most gifted martial artists in the DCU, and a mentor to everyone from The Question to Huntress to Lady Shiva. The show looks to be drawing inspiration from the more villainous New 52 version of Richard Dragon, but it’s always possible that the character is less an overt enemy to Team Arrow than he’s made out to be.
We can even hold out hope (however unlikely it might be) that Colton Haynes will return to Arrow as a series regular and make Roy Harper a permanent member of Team Arrow again. If any one of Ollie’s allies is cut out to take over the Green Arrow mantle, it’s the one who was most directly inspired by his crusade.
Let us know who you think might be qualified to become the new Green Arrow in the comments below.