Ask any Arrow fan, and many of them will say that one of the best aspects of Season 2 on The CW was Manu Bennett’s as DC supervillain Slade Wilson, a.k.a. Deathstroke. Bennett’s portrayal was lauded by both many hardcore comic book fans and general viewers who were introduced to the one-eyed assassin. While some might be looking forward to Deathstroke coming back at some point in a more recurring capacity, it looks like that might not be in the cards anymore, primarily because of Bennett not being pleased with how his character was treated.
During an interview with TheMusic.com.au, Bennett expressed his unhappiness with how the writers handled Deathstroke during Season 2 and his sole Season 3 appearance. According to Bennett:
I think Deathstroke had a lot of possibilities with Arrow but, I think they took it in the wrong direction.
Bennet believes that the show should have adapted how Deathstroke's creator Marv Wolfman wrote the character, i.e. the unstoppable mercenary. However, Arrow’s version slowly started to tone down Deathstroke’s toughness, and with his mercenary background only being touched upon, he was primarily driven by his vendetta against Oliver Queen for allowing the love of his life Shado to die.
It took the Justice League to defeat him; it took an army to take him on. In Arrow, it took a while for Oliver [Queen/Arrow] to prove his point, but [season three] was just a beating of Slade, adding insult to injury.
Beware that there are a few spoilers ahead in case you are not caught up on the current season of Arrow.
Slade Wilson was introduced midway through the Arrow Season 1 flashbacks as an ASIS (Australian Secret Intelligence Service) agent who joined forces with Oliver and Shado to take down Edward Fyers’ operation on Lian Yu. Season 2 chronicled Slade’s journey both in the past and present. In the flashbacks, viewers watched his insanity slowly degrade after being injected with the Mirakuru and hating Oliver for choosing Sara Lance to live over Shado. In the present-day storyline, he carried out his revenge on Oliver, which resulted in Oliver’s mother being killed and Starling City nearly being destroyed. Bennet reprised Slade in the Season 3 episode “The Return,” but at the end he ended up right back where he was left the last time: locked up.
While he didn’t outright rule out another appearance, Bennett’s dissatisfaction certainly doesn’t bode well for a return, especially since he also is working on a new series called Shannara. However, one also has to wonder if Deathstroke possibly not appearing on Arrow again might have something to do with fellow supervillain Deadshot recently being declared off-limits. Will Smith will be playing the big screen version of Deadshot in 2016’s Suicide Squad, and there have been reports that Joe Manganiello will be playing Deathstroke in the same film. With a few exceptions (such as Flash), DC doesn’t seem keen on having two different live-action iterations of the same characters, so with Deathstroke possibly making his cinematic debut, the Arrow version might have to be set aside, meaning that he won’t be escaping that prison cell on Lian Yu again anytime soon.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.