Deathstroke is headed to the DC Universe (streaming service, that is) as the flagship series Titans announces veteran character actor Esai Morales has been cast as the famed assassin. The man with the monocular mask has a long history with DC’s former teen heroes, and given the dark nature of the live-action series so far, it’s not hard to imagine he’ll be well suited to tussling with the likes of Robin, Starfire, Hawk, Dove, Beast Boy, and Raven. Though given how prone to violence this iteration of the team is, Slade Wilson may find himself switching tactics once he’s finally introduced to the world of subscription streaming television.
Deathstroke is also one of the more versatile and dependable villains in the DC Universe roster, which might explain why this is the third live-action version of the character. Morales will follow in the footsteps of Manu Bennett, who brought the character to life as more of an anti-hero and pseudo-mentor to Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen in The CW’s Arrow. More recently, Deathstroke made an all-too-brief appearance alongside Lex Luthor in a post-credits sequence following 2017’s Justice League. That version was, of course, played by Joe Manganiello, though the future of the character in DC films seems to be in question at the moment. But for fans who just can’t get enough of the enhanced super-soldier-turned-mercenary, they’ll only have to shell out about $75 a year for a super-niche streaming service.
As reported by Deadline, that service has found its newest Slade Wilson in Morales, who has played a wide variety of film and television roles since the early ‘80s. Morales has appeared in Miami Vice, NYPD Blue, Caprica, Magic City, The Brink, Netflix’s Ozark, and much more. It’s an interesting casting choice for the fledgling streamer, one that puts a recognizable actor in the role of a major new character, but not one who will necessarily overshadow the show’s already established cast.
Morales’s casting is also interesting because, though he’s been in plenty of action-oriented roles, that’s not necessarily what he’s known for. With that taken into consideration, it seems Titans' producers were looking for an actor who could grant the character some necessary gravitas and grit, while likely leaving some of the bigger and more complex action sequences to the stunt professionals.
Overall, the news that Deathstroke is headed to Titans season 2 likely won’t be too much of a surprise to fans of the show. And given how abundant the character’s appearances have been across film, television, animation, and video games, it’s perhaps not quite as big a bombshell as when the Slade was confirmed to appear on Arrow. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see what an actor like Morales does once he’s strapped on the costume and the eye patch.
Titans season 2 is expected on DC Universe sometime in 2019.