Arrow fans were delighted when Manu Bennett reprised his role as Slade Wilson for the fifth and sixth seasons, Deathstroke costume and all. Sadly, that last two-parter may have to tide us over awhile, as Arrow bosses confirm DC once again rescinded access to the character.

For those unfamiliar with the character’s Arrow history, Manu Bennett’s Slade Wilson held a major role in the first and second seasons, before DC allegedly restricted access to both Deathstroke and the Suicide Squad in deference to their upcoming films. Arrow occasionally included variants on Deathstroke over the years, but it wasn’t until Season 5’s finale and a major Season 6 arc that Bennett formally resumed his role as the DC assassin.

That said – and beware minor Justice League spoilers from here on out – Joe Manganiello’s official DCEU debut as the character seems once again to have restricted access to Deathstroke. Said Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim in an ACE Comic Con interview:

These are DC’s characters, we’re just renting them, you know? So we use the characters that they tell us we can use when we can use them, and we work around whatever limitations are placed on us … For a time they were saying ‘you can’t use Deathstroke.’ Then that changed, and we were able to have Slade Wilson back on the show, and now we’re back to ‘you can’t use him.’ They’re working on the feature film version. Now that you’ve got … obviously Slade – spoiler alert – Deathstroke appears at the end of the Justice League movie. It was a great scene, I think Joe is a great actor. You know, Manu’s been very encouraging of his work. There’s these intervals, and we try and take advantage of our opportunities when we have them.

The line between DC movie and TV characters has never been easy to chart, as The Flash offered no conflict with Ezra Miller’s character, while Supergirl eventually got its own Superman, and even Arrow has taken to acknowledging Batman’s existence. It nonetheless remains unclear where Manganiello’s Deathstroke may pop up next, as DC is said to be rethinking its cinematic universe, while the character’s original place in Matt Reeves’ Batman standalone is no longer guaranteed. His own movie, perhaps?

No doubt Arrow fans will lament Deathstroke’s absence (his last appearances also seemingly winked at spinoff potential), but will the character’s next cinematic appearance make up for it?

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