Thanks to Ben Affleck, we now know that we will soon be seeing yet another amazing comic book character hit the big screen in the next few years. Taking to his personal Facebook page this morning, Affleck posted a video of an unknown actor in costume as Slade Wilson a.k.a. Deathstroke The Terminator - seemingly confirming that we will soon get to see the orange-and-black mercenary/assassin in his very first live-action feature. It was a tremendously exciting announcement for those familiar with the talented one-eyed killer, but there are surely many out there who have no idea who Deathstroke is.
It's for those who exist in the latter group that we've decided to put together this little feature. With rumors swirling that Deathstroke will be the primary antagonist in Ben Affleck's upcoming solo Batman film, we figured now is the best time for us to give you a rundown on exactly what you need to know about the character before he hits the big screen. Read on and learn a little something!
Deathstroke was originally introduced in Teen Titan comics
Deathstroke was a creation of Marv Wolfman and George Perez, making his big comic book debut in the second issue of the newly launched Teen Titans series back in 1980. Originally called simply The Terminator (a name that would ultimately evolve/change due to the release of James Cameron's film four years later), he was introduced as being on a mercenary mission of vengeance trying to kill the Teen Titans, and quickly gained tremendous popularity. His own series of comics launched in the early 1990s, and between three volumes released between 1991 and this year, he has starred in over 100 single issues and annuals. The fourth volume of Deathstroke comics began this summer with the big DC Universe Rebirth event, with Christopher Priest writing and Carlo Pagulayan doing the art.
Deathstroke's special abilities are the result of secret military experiments
Like many, many, many other characters in the history of superhero comic books, Deathstroke's story is another one that begins with the military getting really jazzed about the idea of creating super soldiers. Slade Wilson served in the army for many years, becoming a master of every fighting style and earning the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and as a result was selected for a special program. After being treated with special formulas and chemicals, he gained superhuman strength, agility, senses and regeneration abilities. In combination with his deadly ways before the experiments, he was basically transformed into a perfect murder machine, and soon after became one of the world's most renowned killers.
Deathstroke is a father
Despite starting his career in the military at the age of 16 (he lied on the form), and living an extremely dangerous lifestyle, Slade Wilson has found time in his life to sire and raise children. Unfortunately, there isn't much happiness to go alongside this bit of trivia. His youngest son, Joseph, was held hostage by a criminal until Slade revealed the name of who hired him for an assassination job -- and while Deathstroke was able to ultimately save the kid, it wasn't before Joseph's throat was slit and he was rendered mute. Bad as that is, Slade's oldest, Grant, wasn't so lucky. After going through experiments similar to his father's, and taking on the name Ravager, Grant Wilson was hired to assassinate/capture the Teen Titans -- a mission that resulted in his death. Hoping to get revenge for his fallen son, Slade picked up the contract, which is the aforementioned vengeance story that unfolds in 1980's Teen Titans #2 where Deathstroke is introduced.
He has had many showdowns with Green Arrow and Batman
It should be pretty clear that Deathstroke isn't exactly in love with the young heroes who assemble and call themselves the Teen Titans, but he also has been known to have some key beefs with both Green Arrow and Batman. In both cases there is quite a bit of history between the characters, but some one of the former's key highlights includes sticking an arrow in Slade's empty eye socket (he lost his eye years earlier when his wife shot him in the face following the incident with his son, Joseph). As for the Caped Crusader, Deathstroke is actually one of the few individuals on Earth who can match up with Bruce Wayne in a one-on-one fight, and as a result fans have seen many epic battles unfold on the page over the years.
Deathstroke's signature weapon is an energy lance
There are oh so many ways that Deathstroke can kill an opponent. As mentioned, he is an extremely skilled martial artist (a master in basically every form), and he is also extremely skilled handling wide varieties of guns and swords. If any piece could be called his signature weapon, however, it would have to be his specially-designed energy lance, which he'll bring out typically late in a hard-fought battle. Not only is it practically indestructible and functions perfectly as a standard bo staff, but it also has projectile weaponry installed that fires both lethal and non-lethal energy blasts to incapacitate an opponent. So even when Slade appears to be down, he always has a backup plan.
He kinda-sorta inspired elements of Deadpool
Like many of his fellow DC Comics characters, Deathstroke is a pretty serious dude -- but he partially helped inspire one of the biggest cut-ups to ever grace the pages of Marvel magazines: Deadpool. While the two characters' personalities really couldn't be more different, the two share some key similarities -- not only in their shared lethalness but even in their respective names. When Fabian Nicieza was co-creating The Merc With The Mouth alongside Rob Liefeld, he made a note of the comparisons between Deadpool and Deathstroke, and gave him the name Wade Wilson as a result (a semi-parody of Slade Wilson).
Deathstroke has been a member of the Suicide Squad
This summer, comic book movie fans were introduced to the first Suicide Squad feature, and while that film didn't feature Deathstroke as a member of the ensemble (despite persistent rumors), there's certainly a chance that he could wind up being in a Suicide Squad 2. This is because Task Force X can be counted amongst the group efforts of which Slade Wilson has been a part. In 2014, DC Comics launched a new series called "New Suicide Squad," and members of the titular team included Deathstroke, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Black Manta and Joker's Daughter. It should be noted that he winds up leaving the team and winds up becoming an antagonist in the series after issue #1, but his membership card is still valid.
Deathstroke's been in live-action before
If Deathstroke is indeed the central villain of Ben Affleck's upcoming solo Batman movie, it will surely result in his popularity spiking... but the reality is that it won't exactly be the character's live-action debut. Instead, that happened all the way back in the year 2013 on the 13th episode of Arrow - titled "Betrayed." In total, he appeared in 30 episodes of show, which includes his time as the central antagonist of the second season. Due to creative conflicts between the Arrow staff and Bennett, it's seems unlikely that the mercenary/assassin will appear on the series again, but now that he's heading to the big screen, it's a definitely a pill that's easier to swallow.