The character of Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke, has been one of the most compelling supporting players to grace the Arrowverse — but DC’s big-screen plans have apparently sidelined the character for the foreseeable future.
In an interview at ACE Comic Con, Arrow producer Marc Guggenheim revealed that the pending plans by Warner Bros. to use Joe Manganiello’s big-screen version of Deathstroke mean Arrow’s take on the character will be off the board. Manu Bennett has played Slade on The CW the past several years, bringing a nuance and ruthlessness that most fans loved. The character was brought back for an extended arc in the current season, where he teams up with Oliver, though it seems that story may be the last Deathstroke tale fans get to see. At least for now.
Guggenheim noted these shows are simply “renting” these characters from DC, so they try to use them as they’re made available to benefit the story they’re telling, than make the necessary adjustments when the studio’s film plans change or evolve.
"Yeah, I think you know as a result we've been on and off. For a time they were saying 'you can't use Deathstroke,' and that changed and we were able to have Slade Wilson back on the show,” he said. “And now we're back to 'you can't use him.' They're working on the feature film version, it really is sort of now that you've got obviously Slade, spoiler alert, Deathstroke appears at the end of the Justice League movie.”
As fans are well aware, this isn’t the first time DC’s film slate has affected the Arrowverse. Arrow introduced its own version of the Suicide Squad before the film version hit, which led the small-screen version to be shelved to avoid any potential confusion. The series also had its own version of Deadshot (played by Michael Rowe on TV and Will Smith in the DC film), who was written off around the same time.
Arrow returns to The CW on January 18.