Another year, another Arrowverse show is in active development over at The CW. Which isn’t shocking for one of the most popular franchises on television. According to Variety, David Ramsey will be reprising John Diggle as the lead in Justice U, the next chapter in DC projects.
The show follows Diggle embarking on a new adventure as a mentor to five metahumans, all of who are undercover as freshmen at a prestigious university. While the show has incredible teen drama vibes already, I think it could be one of the best shows in the Arrowverse.
Who is John Diggle?
David Ramsey has been in the Arrowverse since its conception. Introduced in the pilot of Arrow, John Diggle began as the muscle for the Queen family, but over time became the heart of the group as well as the guiding light for Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell).
As the show progressed, Diggle remained this stable, reliable, force that does absolutely anything for his family and friends. While he may have started as a bodyguard for Oliver, he became a moral mentor to all the heroes in the Arrow family.
Having lost Oliver and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) in the final season of Arrow, Diggle seems in need of another mission and family to protect. Last year across the Arrowverse, we saw Ramsey appear on the majority of the shows for one-off appearances, and the loss of his Arrow family was felt in every performance.
Throwing him into a situation where he oversees a group of college students with superpowers provides him with the structure and family he’s yearning for. The show also gives time to explore Diggle’s predicament with the glowing green object he found in Arrow’s finale.
A neglected storyline up until this point, but it is the perfect time to explore that again. As well, the show may be more comedic in nature, allowing Ramsey to flex his acting muscles in ways that weren’t present in Arrow. In this way, the show will join another DC show on The CW, one that embraced the comedy and threw away the rulebook.
The Legends Effect
Justice U has the greatest potential to be one of the strongest DC shows because it doesn’t have to follow specific source material some of the other projects have. Arrow, Supergirl, Flash, Batwoman, and quite a few more have a comic history, used to dictate the stories told on screen.
Shows like The Flash are based on characters who have an extensive comic book history that serves as the guidebook for storylines. For example, an iconic story for Flash that everyone loves is Flashpoint, so eventually, the showrunner is compelled to adapt that story. While they do have autonomy within their own shows and can make any changes they want, there is a certain precedent by the comic book stories that have come before.
However, Justice U doesn’t have a specific comic book counterpart, just like DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. When Legends first aired on The CW, it took itself seriously like the other shows. The first season was good, but it paled in comparison with what it became in its future.
After that initial season, the show became more lighthearted and less strict with its storylines. Because they lacked the groundwork with printed stories from decades past, it wasn’t held down by specific storylines.
Being able to explore whatever you want while also in a comic book work sounds super freeing. As a writer myself, exploring something I want to write about is much easier than writing something designated by another.
With that freedom, the show could flourish in the same niche as Legends, which will continue to breathe a new exciting life into a franchise heading into its second decade of storytelling. And with Diggle’s brains, heart, and supersized arms guiding the way, I’m sure fans will be in for something extra special with Justice U.