Deathstroke returned to Arrow earlier this year at the end of season 5, and that's definitely not the last the show's fans will see of Manu Bennett's Slade Wilson. In a new interview with Collider, Arrow executive producer and co-showrunner Marc Guggenheim revealed that the first half of season 6 will include a "Slade Wilson-centric" story, a two-part episode heavily featuring the high-profile DC Comics antagonist, complete with flashbacks told from Deathstroke's perspective.
"We're doing a cool two-parter where the flashbacks will be from Slade's perspective," Guggenheim told Collider, revealing that the episodes will be the fifth and sixth installments of the upcoming season. "It's very much a Slade-Oliver two-hander."
As seen at the end of this past season, Slade Wilson is now free from the Mirakuru serum that both enhanced his physical abilities and thoroughly drove him off the deep end. While he was considerably more sympathetic in his most recent appearance, Guggenheim notes that a Mirakuru-free Deathstroke isn't necessarily a hero, either.
"We basically showed the audience at the end of season 5 that the Mirakuru is out of his system," Guggenheim said. "Now we're dealing with a Slade Wilson who sort of is in possession of all of his marbles. But to me, what makes the character so interesting is, he's never black or white. He's never pure good or pure evil. He's complicated. It's not that he's beyond redemption, it's that you never know what you're going to get with him."
Deathstroke, as played by Bennett, has been a presence since the early days of the DC Comics-based series, and was the primary villain of Arrow season 2. In September 2016, actor Joe Manganiello was announced as playing Deathstroke in the upcoming Ben Affleck-starred Batman feature film. That film has publicly been through a number of behind-the-scenes shifts in the past year, and Guggenheim appears to reference the situation in his interview with Collider, mentioning the character's former absence from the show.
"It was actually a function of, DC controls these characters, and we went through a period where DC was like, 'We've got plans for Deathstroke that don't involve Arrow,'" Guggenhiem said. "That changed at the end of the year." Guggenheim shared that he went to DC specifically to ask to use Deathstroke for the conclusion of season 5, given the show's return to Lian Yu and the character's connections to that location.
Deathstroke was introduced in 1980 and created by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez as part of their legendary New Teen Titans run, and is notable for not only serving as a villain for many of DC's heroes, but also frequently starring in his own series (including in DC's current Rebirth publishing initiative).
Returning Thursday, October 12, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, Arrow stars Stephen Amell, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards, Willa Holland, Manu Bennett, Echo Kellum and Paul Blackthorne.