After two consecutively disappointing seasons, The CW’s Arrow has had a comeback of sorts. Season 5 received a solid critical reception, and with only a few more episodes to go until the season finale, Arrow looks to close out the five-year anniversary of Oliver’s return from exile with a bang. Much to the excitement of both diehard and casual Arrow fans everywhere, it first appeared the finale meant the return of Manu Bennett’s beloved Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke, but now that has been called into question.
Stephen Amell himself recently confirmed the return of Deathstroke to the series earlier this week, while posting behind-the-scenes photos from the season finale’s production in Vancouver. Titled ‘Lian Yu’, the finale looks to finally wrap up the story once and for all of how Oliver returned to returned to the island he was “marooned” on, before being discovered like he was in the opening moments of the show’s pilot episode.
However, it looks as though things might not all be as they appear, because following Amell’s confirmation earlier this week, Bennett took to his own Twitter account to cast doubt on his return to the series. Spread out across two tweets, Bennett said that he will not be coming back for Arrow after all, and that he never was going to, since he’s currently in Auckland filming The Shannara Chronicles:
For the record - I'm not going back for Arrow! #assumptionisthemotherofall...— Manu (@manubennett) April 10, 2017
BTW, the return of @manubennett is only the first of a few exciting announcements about Arrow's sixth season finale...— Marc Guggenheim (@mguggenheim) April 10, 2017
Now, it’s hard to know what exactly this means. Was Amell jumping the gun by tweeting that photo welcoming Bennett back to the show? Or was it a ruse the whole time? Amell has always been honest with his fans on his social media accounts, which means that it’s possible this was nothing more than just a product of some miscommunication somewhere along the lines. Adding to the confusion is Arrow co-showrunner Marc Guggenheim, who tweeted about Bennett’s return for season 6 — which was either a typo, a very early announcement, or a weird joke.
If Bennett is not returning for the season finale, though, then that throws Deathstroke’s entire role in the episode into question, since it had all but been confirmed that Oliver would be turning to him for help in taking down Prometheus. Considering just how beloved Bennett’s take on Slade Wilson is amongst the fan community, it’d be a strange move for the series to make — featuring a version of the character not played by him. What that means is Deathstroke’s appearance in the finale may be entirely wordless, with Slade keeping his mask on at all times. Literally, anything is possible at this point, and the only thing that appears to be certain now is that if Deathstroke does indeed appear in the Arrow season 5 finale, he won’t be played by Manu Bennett.
Arrow returns Wednesday, April 26 with ‘Dangerous Liaisons’, at 8 pm on The CW.