Arrow will keep Manu Bennett’s Deathstroke around for a major arc in Season 6, though it’s worth remembering the character was off-limits for some time. Now, producers reveals how Deathstroke’s return was greenlit, and what to expect from a two-part Slade episode in Season 6.

Just as Arrow’s use of the Suicide Squad seemed to bottom out in advance of the Warner Bros. film, so too did Manu Bennett’s Slade Wilson seem largely retired from the series after Season 2. Bennett guest-starred out of costume in Season 3, while costumed stuntmen made appearances in Seasons 4 and 5, though all indications were that DC had similarly reserved Deathstroke for the big-screen, with Joe Manganiello taking the role in a Batman solo film.

So, what exactly happened? DC lifted the restriction for Arrow’s Season 5 finale, and now several episodes of Season 6, as executive producer Marc Guggenheim seemingly confirms to Collider that Warner Bros. dropped their plans:

They control these characters, and we went through a period where DC was like ‘We’ve got plans for Deathstroke that don’t involve Arrow.’ And then that changed at the end of this year. We knew we were going to Lian Yu, and we had to see Slade Wilson. So I went to DC and I said ‘Listen, I know you guys have plans for him and 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 need to be in the season premiere of Season 6, because that ties into our plans, and it would be really great if we could tell a Slade Wilson-centric story.’

Not only that, but Guggenheim also confirmed a two-part Slade episode, which other reports have since revealed will star Lucifer alum Liam Hall as Slade’s son, Joe:

We’ve never really truly done that, so we’re doing a cool two-parter – episodes five and six this year – where the flashbacks will be from Slade’s perspective, and it’s very much a Slade-Oliver two-hander.

It’s still unclear where divisions fall on certain other characters (Suicide Squad off-limits, while Flash has free reign), but might Deathstroke return to being a central character of the series?

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