Those fond of DC Comics' supporting characters and lesser-known villains are eagerly awaiting the chance to see Deadshot brought to life in Warner Bros.' Suicide Squad - but Will Smith's upcoming portrayal may have another version to thank when all is said and done. Long before the live-action film started gaining speed, the Squad proved that a villain team can do some good in the world of The CW's Arrow.
Unfortunately, the version of the DC Comics assassin - who is famous for "never missing" - portrayed by Michael Rowe may not be seen for some time. That's according to executive producer Marc Guggenheim, who delivered some bad news to fans hoping the Suicide Squad member would play a larger role in Arrow's future.
To this point, the development of Floyd Lawton (Rowe) has stood as one of the more surprising accomplishments of the CW series. After being introduced in the show's first season as an assassin responsible for the murder of John Diggle's brother, the character would go on to become merely the trigger man for a larger conspiracy - and a key member of Amanda Waller's Task Force X.
Despite his villainous introduction, Rowe's cynical operative became a fan favorite, with many hoping to see a full-fledged Suicide Squad spinoff with him at its center.
When the Squad's return in a recent episode of Arrow left the character's fate in the series unclear, the viewers sent their questions Guggenheim's way. In response to one fan complimenting the show's casting, and wondering if Floyd Lawton would be made a regular in the future, the producer didn't mince words:
First, thanks for the kind words. I agree with you, our casting people — in Los Angeles and Vancouver — are the best. Unfortunately, Deadshot is off the table for the nonce.
The idea that Deadshot may be out of the picture "For the nonce" (for the time being) may not seem too strange, given that the character has come and went as he pleased. But knowing the line the producers at The CW and WB are intent on walking with shared characters between film and TV, there is a chance something more substantial may be at play.
While the TV and movie worlds of DC Comics characters may officially be "separate," there is already evidence that the split is being debated on a character-by-character basis. When Harley Quinn's presence in Arrow was limited to a cameo, WB's plans for the character were offered as an explanation for her absence. More recently, rumors of a Green Lantern twist in John Diggle's future were ended when Guggenheim himself explained that WB also had "other plans" for the hero.
Rowe had previously voiced his own happiness with seeing Deadshot get a higher profile, but a star like Will Smith could urge executives to put all their eggs into one basket - particularly one with his box office potential. There isn't any hard and fast rule they may choose to follow or ignore, since Grant Gustin and Ezra Miller will both be playing The Flash in a few short years. But with a supporting character likely unknown to casual viewers, is the studio better off giving audiences just one version - and silencing comparisons before they take place?
The obvious question that follows is the fate of Amanda Waller's Task Force X in the Arrow universe. If the plan is to move Amanda Waller - set to be played by Viola Davis on film - and her task force out of the spotlight, then the show's third (and ongoing) season has done a commendable job of seeing them off. Where A.R.G.U.S. once seemed like the go-to shadowy government agency in the Flash/Arrow universe, recent episodes have introduced a far more extreme antagonist in Oliver Queen's past.
For the modern half of the show's story, the introduction of Waller and A.R.G.U.S. seemed to offer the only lead into the death of John Diggle's brother. Now that H.I.V.E. has been explicitly revealed as the actual cause of Andy Diggle's death - with rumors of the organization playing a larger part in Season 4 - the purpose of Waller and Lawton's presence may have already been served.
That may be a tough pill for Arrow viewers to swallow, and could be the first of many downsides to DC Comics characters being spread across two different media. But it's all speculation for now. Do you think the film version of Deadshot (and any sequels he could appear in) are worth the price of the small screen version? Or do you wish both could be allowed to coexist?
Arrow airs Wednesdays @8pm on The CW.