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8 Reasons ARROW'S Diggle is NOT a Sidekick [Television]

Arrow (2013) - Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) John Diggle (David Ramsey)
Arrow (2013) - Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) John Diggle (David Ramsey)
"I'm not your sidekick." That's what John Diggle told Green Arrow when he agreed to help the crimefighter. Some have tried to call Diggle a sidekick, but they're wrong.

For those unfamiliar with the show, it's based on the DC comic book character known as "Green Arrow." Arrow tells the story of Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), who was stranded on a desert island for five years. He returns to fight a vigilante war on crime in Starling City to honor his late father's memory. John Diggle, played by David Ramsey, starts out at Oliver's bodyguard. After learning Oliver's secret, he becomes his partner and confidant.

A sidekick is usually a friend who's subordinate to the hero. Sidekicks like Don Quixote's Sancho Panza, Lone Ranger's Tonto and Batman's Boy Wonder Robin all make us think of the guy chasing after the hero providing backup. Which is why the smart, intelligent, former Army Special Forces guy named John Diggle is anything but a sidekick. It's a nice change for an African-American costar. Here are eight reasons why people need to stop calling Diggle a sidekick!

1. Diggle is a Warrior
Diggle is former Army Special Forces. He's used to live combat operations since he did three tours in Afghanistan. Sidekicks usually aren't great fighters, but Diggle easily handles his own.

2. Diggle Could Be Arrow 
In the episode "Damaged", Diggle put on the Arrow costume and dropped the pain. He did it again in "Darkness on the Edge of Town" and was perfectly comfortable in the role of the superhero. Marc Guggenheim says Diggle's Green Arrow's "equal in many respects." Who knows? Maybe one day Diggle will get his own costume and become a superhero. We can dream.

3. Diggle is Smart

John Diggle's military training means he's good at intelligence gathering and reconnaissance operations. He knows all about decoding ciphers and other coded messages, infiltration, and espionage. He can speak, at least, three languages. Most sidekicks are dependent on the hero to solve problems or only serve as a sounding board for the heroes thoughts.

4. Diggle is the Heart of the Hero

Diggle shapes Oliver's moral code. Over and over again Diggle questions the methods of Green Arrow and brings him back to his center. He's fought in wars and knows the emotional toll it can have on a person. Without Diggle, Arrow would just be a killing machine.

5. Diggle Isn't a Kid

Most sidekicks are younger than the superhero. But Diggle is definitely not a "Boy Wonder." Stephen Amell, the actor playing Oliver Queen is 32. David Ramsey, who plays John Diggle is 42. Diggle is 10 years older, and wiser, than Green Arrow.

6. Diggle Questions the Hero

Diggle doesn't agree with Oliver all the time. He's not Oliver's "Yes Man."

7. Diggle Has the Body of a Superhero

Diggle works out all the time and it shows. The dude is huge! He's bigger than Oliver.

8. Green Arrow Already Has a Sidekick

A hero can't have two sidekicks and Roy Harper (Colton Hayes) is Green Arrow's sidekick "Speedy" (later "Arsenal") in the comics. The show is setting him up to be Arrow's second banana.

He's older, smarter and a better fighter than any sidekick ever shown, but Diggle is a great partner for Oliver. John Diggle was created for the show, but the character is so strong that he's been introduced as a character in the DC comic universe in Green Arrow #24. Comic writer Jeff Lemire thinks of the character as "a mentor and a partner" and that's what he should be.

How do you feel about John Diggle's role on Arrow? Do you think he can be called a sidekick? What's the difference bewteen a hero and a sidekick?

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  1. Definitely not a sidekick. By that reasoning, Dorian in Almost Human isn't a sidekick either.

  2. You sold me. Not a sidekick. I've only seen the first 3 episodes of season one, so I have seen the character, but don't recall that much about him.

  3. It's too bad he doesn't have a better last name. Diggle makes me think of Dirk Diggler of Boogie Nights.

  4. Awesome post!
    Diggle is my favourite character besides Oliver.
    I think he is part of "Team Arrow", but he is not a sidekick. He could be his own hero.
    *Possible Spoilers*
    Roy is going to have to deal with his newfound strength, and Oliver will have to be his mentor.

  5. And I don't know when that MST3K is going live, but double bonus points to you guys, because that was the most awesome show EVER.

  6. Sorry, my bad. That's scheduled for Friday

  7. A hero can't have two sidekicks, well you should tell batman that.

  8. i question the last one because batman has two sidekicks (robin & batgirl) same with superman (super boy/girl)


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