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Deathstroke DC Comics

The casting of Deathstroke for DC Universe’s Titans is officially here. In a stroke of genius, Titans has cast NCIS: Los Angeles’ Esai Morales as Slade Wilson, a.k.a. Deathstroke. Here is what you need to know.

Titans’ Season 2 is moving full steam ahead with another important casting under its utility belt. Esai Morales will take on the role of Deathstroke in the second season of the DC Universe series, per Deadline. The character is the archnemesis of Dick Grayson. So, if you thought Dick’s angst over Batman was intense, you may have seen nothing yet.

On television, Deathstroke has been portrayed by Manu Bennett on The CW’s Arrow. Although the character started out as a flashback ally to Oliver Queen, he became a ruthless villain who would strike terrible blows to Star(ling) City's superhero. Titans’ take will feature an alternative story for the character. The description provided by Titans’ producers makes no mention of an island.

Their description focuses heavily on the Slade Wilson side of the character’s identity. Wilson is assigned the title of DC’s deadliest assassin, starting out as an already “elite soldier,” who served his country. Then government testing got involved, altering him physiologically to enhance his prowess. The result? It elevated him to “superhuman levels.”

NCIS Los Angeles Esai Morales Deputy Director Louis Ochoa CBS

His strengths were not the only things affected by the testing. As a result of it, Slade embarked on a dark path of revenge. In his Deathstroke persona, Wilson acts as a hired gun. He is said to be "ruthless" in his pursuit of the targets he is hired to kill as a privately commissioned assassin.

As with many complex villains, there are two sides to him. There's the one the world knows as Deathstroke and the one his family loves as Slade. He is a father and a husband, so you can see where this will get complicated.

There is no better actor to take on this complex role than Esai Morales, in my book. His acting acumen is especially attuned to play the dueling sides of Slade Wilson. He has the skill to elevate Slade past straight-up villainy, portraying his softer side as a dad and husband. Titans undoubtedly wants a multi-dimensional portrayal of the character and Morales has the skill to nail the balance.

For fans curious to find out who Titans would get to fill the role, there is now an answer. The announcement has been in the making longer than some may realize. Ahead of the series’ Season 1 premiere, Titans’ writer and producer Geoff Johns teased the eventual introduction of Deathstroke. At the time, he said it would be a “new version” of the character, and that is not all he said.

Geoff Johns added that Titans would be foolish not to adapt The Judas Contract. Could Titans deliver Deathstroke and that storyline in Season 2? Time will tell the tale. For now, this casting news gives fans a jolt of excitement to consider as they await the second season. Considering what Young Justice is up to, could there be two Judas Contract adaptations unfolding on DC Universe at the same time?

The first season of Titans is currently available to stream on DC Universe. A premiere date for Season 2 has yet to get set.

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