Joseph David-Jones made his first appearance in DC TV’s Arrowverse as Connor Hawke on Legends of Tomorrow, before returning as a different version of Connor (it’s complicated) three years later on Arrow.
But things might have been very different, with David-Jones telling RadioTimes.com that his Legends debut in the 2016 episode ‘Star City 2046’ was originally supposed to mark the beginning of Connor’s larger involvement with the show.
“Initially when I went in on Legends, it was under the guise that this character could potentially become a series regular,” he revealed. “But I think Legends was still trying to figure out their dynamic and how it worked, and they were changing out people on the ship so much, they just didn’t know if it was going to fit…
“The idea was that I was going to go back and join up with the Legends and be one of their crew members on the ship. But because the tone of that show has changed so much, I think that idea just got scrapped.”
But while his regular role on Legends didn’t pan out, a few years later David-Jones was approached about returning to the Arrowverse. “I got a call from their new EP [executive producer] Beth Schwartz – she reached out to my manager to see if I was interested in returning before she wanted to pitch to the network and to the studio the potential of bringing me back as this character.”
Once he’d signalled his availability and interest, the actor explains, Schwartz then “re-reached out with the network’s approval”.
There was another twist to the tale, though – the time-shifting shenanigans of the Arrowverse meant that the version of Connor he’d be playing on Arrow was actually a different character to the one he’d played on Legends. While the Legends variant was really John Diggle Jr. – son of Arrow’s Diggle (David Ramsey) and Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) – the version who now appears on Arrow is Diggle and Lyla’s adopted son and the biological offspring of Ben Turner/Bronze Tiger (Michael Jai White).
“Um… that was a bit interesting!” David-Jones said of the character switch-up. “They were still figuring it out when I’d signed on, so initially I’d heard different things than how everything played out, because they were still trying to figure out where they were going to go with the future storyline.
“They told me that I would no longer be JJ and that they had another JJ coming in that they were going to use, but they didn’t tell me the exact differences between the one timeline that I was on Legends and the timeline that I am now. They really keep everything close to the chest because a lot of it ends up changing. They’re coming up with these storylines and it’s constantly changing.”
The eighth and final season of Arrow, which sees David-Jones elevated to series regular status, has cast Russian Doll actor Charlie Barnett as the new JJ, Connor’s adoptive brother with whom he shares a fractious relationship. “He’s so bad!” David-Jones laughs. “He does a tremendous job as JJ, but he’s, like, the nicest guy ever! We spent a lot of time together because it’s pretty much the strongest bond that my character has and it’s one of contention, so we spent a lot of nights sitting down working through that, finding what our history is…
“A lot of that’s going to come out in the scenes that you see between us. I really enjoyed working with him, man. He’s definitely down to work and figure things out – we have similar processes, so it was very fun to work with him. I can’t wait for you to see that stuff, ’cause it’s gonna be good!”
Arrow season 8 begins on Tuesday, October 15th on The CW in the US. New episodes will air on Sky One and be available on NOW TV in the UK from Wednesday, October 30.