Marc Guggenheim explains Deathstroke's return for Arrow season 6. The character played by Manu Bennett made his TV debut during the show's first outing and became the primary antagonist of season 2. Aside from a brief cameo here and there, the character hadn't really been seen until last season when Oliver (Stephen Amell) had no choice but to bring him back into the fold and join forces with him to take down villain Prometheus.
Now, Deathstroke is sticking around a bit longer this time, although the character still remains a villain and far from a willing ally, Arrow is diving deep into his storyline giving him a two-part narrative arc. While we do not know yet as to how this will all tie into Oliver's main narrative, Guggenheim shares some interesting tidbits on how the show was able to utilize the character again, given that the DCEU is supposedly crafting their own version of the comic book villain previously announced to be played by Joe Manganiello.
Speaking to Collider, Arrow's EP detailed how Slade Wilson will factor into the show's upcoming installment. Guggenheim also talked about the process the series had to go through to bring Deathstroke back into the thick of things:
"It was a function of - you know, DC control these characters. We went through a period where DC said, ‘We’ve got plans for Deathstroke that don’t include Arrow.’ That changed at the end of this year because I basically, you know, we knew we were going to Lian Yu and we had to see Slade Wilson, so I went to DC and said, ‘Listen, I know you guys have plans for him and, you know, that’s all cool, but you’ve got to give us this one because we can’t go to Lian Yu and not see Slade Wilson,' and as part of those conversations we also were like 'and he'll also need to be in the season premiere of season 6 because that ties into, you know, our plans, and it would be really great if we could tell a, you know, a Slade Wilson-centric story. We've never truly done that.' So we're doing a cool two-parter, episodes 5 and six this year and the flashbacks will be from Slade's perspective and it's very much a Slade/Oliver two hander. It's always great having Manu on the show, and, again, it's like, we just have to operate, you know, within the requirements of DC."
Based on Guggenheim's comments, Arrow's ability to use the character may be the result of the DCEU shelving their own Deathstroke plans for the time being. Over the last few months, various changes have been made to the Batman film he was to be a part of, with the film's production in flux following Affleck's decision to step down as director and Matt Reeves coming in to replace him. Since then, the assassin's future on the big screen has become something of a question mark.
Back in July, Manganiello revealed that he actually knows what Warner Bros. plans to do with his DCEU villain but cannot reveal anything about it. While we have not really heard anything specific about Deathstroke's cinematic fate, it seems the DCEU is still actively developing the character. It may just take a little bit longer for us to learn what those plans entail. Until then, fans can enjoy Deathstroke's return in Arrow season 6.
Arrow season 6 premieres Thursday October 12 @9pm on The CW.