Let’s hope that the DCEU can do Deathstroke justice, as according to co-showrunner Marc Guggenhein, the character is once again off-limits to Arrow.
Slade Wilson began as a huge part of Oliver Queen’s story, but over the seasons we have seen the character less and less. However, Manu Bennett was able to return at the end of Season 5, leading him into an abbreviated Season 6 arc involving his estranged son – evidently, it seems that this may be the last time Arrow fans see Bennett in the role of the masked assassin, due to Joe Manganiello’s Justice League appearance.
This isn’t the first time that Arrow has been told that characters are off-limits to them by DC. The series had plans to build a Suicide Squad arc around John Diggle (David Ramsey), with hints at the introduction of Harley Quinn – then those plans were quashed when David Ayer’s Suicide Squad went into production. And we all saw how that went.
Now, Arrow has run into the same issue with Deathstroke.
At ACE Comic Con, Discussing Film interviewed Guggenheim, and when the topic of Deathstroke’s return was breached, the co-showrunner responded:
“These are DC’s characters, we’re just renting them ya know, so we use the characters that they tell us we can use when we can use them, and we work around whatever limitations that places us … 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, 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.”
This is a little strange, however, as in the past DC and Warner Bros. haven’t been particularly consistent in which characters can and cannot be used in the Arrowverse. Grant Gustin plays Barry Allen in The Flash TV series, yet in the DCEU the character is played by a completely different actor. Not to mention the fact that Superman often shows up as a supporting character in Supergirl. So, it’s weird that Deathstroke should be singled out in this way, especially when he isn’t a main character.
The one solace for fans is that Arrow did give Slade Wilson a decent send-off in Season 6, as he parted ways with Oliver in order to locate his other son, Grant. This end to his arc did imply that the character could return, however, if this isn’t to be, the episode also works as a retroactive farewell.
Let’s just hope Warner Bros. doesn’t mess up again.
Arrow returns on January 18th.