Between the seeming death, paralysis, and recuperation of Felicity Smoak, and the return of Diggle’s brother Andy, life has been a real roller coaster for fans of Arrow. The CW show has also witnessed the sudden exit of other favorite characters, such as Michael Rowe’s Deadshot and Cynthia Addai-Robinson’s Amanda Waller. And of course, there’s the announcement by DC bigwigs that their TV universe won’t intersect with the film universe, fueling rumors that certain characters will be placed on a moratorium from DCTV, to be used in the movies.
One of the series' most popular villains is undoubtedly Deathstroke (Manu Bennett). The DC merc, popularized in Batman comics, made his presence felt as one of the main baddies during season 2 of Arrow – to the point where even Stephen Amell (who plays Oliver Queen) expressed his wishes for the character’s return. Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim has discussed the possibilities of just that - though after rumors of an appearance in Suicide Squad surfaced, Deathstroke’s resurgence on Arrow remained in limbo.
And now, new comments from Guggenheim's recent Tumblr Q&A (h/t Heroic Hollywood) shed further doubt as to the popular villain returning to action on the show. Asked about the continuing role of Deathstroke on Arrow, one fan, clearly upset over the pilfering of characters from the show for the DC film realm, asked about the future of the character, claiming that Guggenheim said Deathstroke “was safe.” Guggenheim denied saying Deathstroke was off limits (he merely didn’t think the character was “off the table”), but his response to another fan’s question about “Slade or Walter returning” during season 4 sounded far more definitive:
“The character of Slade Wilson is currently tied up in another DC project. Walter is more likely.”
Guggenheim’s statement fueled the rumor mills in a big way. Despite the lack of confirmation, sites like Reddit exploded with talk of potential movie roles for Deathstroke. The buzz likely stems from the circumstantial evidence mounting that Scott Eastwood is playing Deathstroke in Suicide Squad – including a rumored sighting of a ‘Wilson’ name tag on Eastwood's movie costume. There was also speculation that Slade Wilson would be the main antagonist in the failed Teen Titans reboot.
At this point, though, there certainly isn’t enough proof to confirm or deny any role for Deathstroke -- either in Suicide Squad or any other DC films currently in development. Nonetheless, the subtle hints at Slade Wilson’s involvement in David Ayer’s villain opus are certainly good news for DC’s big screen fanatics, although potentially disappointing news for Arrow fans. Despite being already overloaded with bad apples, an appearance by Deathstroke in Suicide Squad would be a great cameo for the menacing mercenary.
Even if Deathstroke doesn’t show his blue and orange facemask in the upcoming Suicide Squad, assuming Guggenheim’s comments are accurate, the antihero will likely wind up in another DCEU film down the line. Could he wind up battling it out with a Ben Affleck in a Batman standalone? Given his past history with the Dark Knight, it wouldn’t be surprising.
Arrow airs Wednesdays @8pm on The CW.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will be in theaters on March 25th, 2016; Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman – June 23rd, 2017; Justice League – November 17th, 2017; The Flash – March 23rd, 2018; Aquaman – July 27th, 2018; Shazam – April 5th, 2019; Justice League 2 – June 14th, 2019; Cyborg – April 3rd, 2020; Green Lantern – June 19th, 2020.