For those not aware, the upcoming DC Cinematic Universe films are coming at a price for fans of the DC TV Universe. Certain characters are now becoming off limits for shows like “Arrow“, “The Flash“, “Legends of Tomorrow“, and “Supergirl“, at least for the time being anyway. More specifically, I’m talking about characters like Amanda Waller, Deadshot, Katana, Captain Boomerang, the Suicide Squad, and…worst of all…Deathstroke.
Executive Producer Marc Guggenheim speaking recently on the latter’s continued absence…
“The character of Slade Wilson is currently tied up in another DC project.”
Deathstroke WAS in early drafts of David Ayer’s Suicide Squad film. That is one of the main reasons why Slade was barely used at all last year on “Arrow” and his eventual single episode appearance came because he was apparently ultimately written out of the Squad script before filming. There have been rumblings for a few years about a potential Deathstroke film, but given the stacked slate that Warner Bros. already has up through 2020 when it comes to DC Comics films, I doubt such a project is what is impeding the return of Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) to the show.
More than likely this means that the character has been earmarked for an appearance in one or more of the already-announced DC films. Given that 2020’s Cyborg is now expected to be a de facto “Teen Titans” film and Deathstroke is one of their main arch-villains, I’d say that film is a likely culprit. That said, it seems unlikely that they would bar the producers from using the character in 2016 if he wasn’t going to make his theatrical debut for another four years. Chances are now good that Slade will appear sooner than that, possibly in one of the Justice League films or maybe the oft-rumored solo Batman film that is expected to arrive before 2020.
I’ve complained about this often already, but it’s rather irritating that WB keeps getting wishy-washy about what supporting characters these shows can and can’t use. Last season, “Arrow” was forced to kill off Deadshot and sideline both Amanda Waller and Deathstroke. Katana, who had been a main player in Season 3, has now been all but pushed off of the series as well, outside of a single sequence scene last week. Captain Boomerang, who appeared in the 2014 crossover event for “Arrow” and “The Flash“, hasn’t been seen since then for the exact same reasons.
I’m not sure why Warner Bros. feels that the shows using these character might interfere with fan acceptance of the films. I severely doubt it will bother them or cause them to not seek out the films when they arrive. Regardless, that’s the way WB is operating in regards to these projects and characters. As a result, it is constantly impeding plans that the showrunners have for all of these shows and cutting certain subplots off at the knees by forcing them to be resolved in less-than-satisfactory ways.
Will WB ever grow up and stop messing about? I hope so, but there’s just no telling if or when they will come to their senses. I’d love for nothing more to see Deathstroke unleashed from his remote island prison and be out for vengeance once more. In the meantime, fans will have to get their fill of a sword-wielding Manu Bennett on MTV’s “The Shannara Chronicles” (or finally catch up on “Spartacus” on Netflix) instead. Also, don’t be surprised if these WB film division decisions start affecting shows like “Gotham” and “Lucifer” as well, fans. Should both shows last long enough for the planned Batman and Sandman films to arrive, meddling will definitely occur.
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