U.S. Markets closed

Why does DC keep trying to make Deathstroke happen?

David Opie
Photo credit: DC Universe / Warner Bros / Cartoon Network / The CW

From Digital Spy

From Darkseid and The Joker to Reverse Flash and Lex Luthor, the DC universe is positively teeming with villains, so why did Titans choose Deathstroke to be the Big Bad of season two?

Since he first appeared in The New Teen Titans #2 (1980), Slade Wilson has fought the Titans time and time again in the comics, establishing himself as their arch enemy above all others. It's only natural then that the Titans TV show would incorporate him into future episodes, but actor Esai Morales has a mighty big legacy to live up to.

Aside from battling the team already in two animated shows and multiple movies – including Teen Titans: The Judas Contract (2017) and Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (2018) – Deathstroke has fought a bunch of other DC heroes on screen too.

In other animated projects, Young Justice and Justice League have also encountered the mercenary and then there's Deathstroke's many, many live-action appearances to consider, starting with his one-off role in the '90s show Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

Since then, further appearances in Smallville and the various Arrowverse shows have cemented Slade as a fan favourite, so it wasn't too surprising when Warner Bros decided to introduce him in a Justice League (2017) post-credits scene.

Photo credit: Warner Bros.

Joe Manganiello was cast as Deathstroke with the intention of pitting him against Batman in a new movie and potentially his very own solo film as well, although shake-ups at the studio have now left his cinematic future uncertain.

Matt Reeves is rewriting the original Batman script and potential Deathstroke director Gareth Evans hasn't had talks about the film in a while now. Even so, that's a whole lot of Slade, whether these films end up including him or not.

It's easy to see why DC is so enamoured with Slade. While most villains are hellbent on destroying the world and very little else, Deathstroke is far more interesting than that.

Comic book legend Christopher Priest once described Slade as "the first modern supervillain" in the sense that he's not really a villain at all, and creator Marv Wolfman clarified this further in a later interview, saying: "I saw him as a character who was getting sucked into a system that he couldn't get out of."

Shifting allegiances over the years have placed Deathstroke firmly into the category of 'anti-hero', making him far more relatable than the evil Darkseids of the world. It's this flexibility as a character which lends itself so well to other storylines that move beyond just his typical arch-enemies.

Photo credit: The CW

A major highlight of Teen Titans Go! To the Movies was Will Arnett's comedic take on the mercenary and Manu Bennett's turn as Slade remains a favourite among Arrow fans who still hail his season as the best one yet.

It's no wonder then that the likes of IGN have ranked Deathstroke as one of the greatest villains ever, but that doesn't mean he should star in every single DC show and movie.

While people are quick to bring up the notion of superhero fatigue, it's entirely possible that 'supervillain fatigue' can be a thing too, and if anyone's at risk of that, it's Deathstroke.

No matter how varied and unique each interpretation of Slade might be, there are plenty of other DC villains who also deserve a chance to take centre stage and then destroy said stage as they bring about the end of the world.

DC Comics has just killed Deathstroke off in his very own comic and while we doubt he's gone for good, maybe DC TV can learn a lesson from this and kill off some of his upcoming roles on screen too.

Sure, Deathstroke might be the most feared assassin in all of DC and his strength has been enhanced far beyond typical human limits, but even he needs a break once in a while. Let Condiment King take the slack, for once.

Titans will return to the DC Universe streaming service for season two on September 6 in the United States. Netflix carries the show in the United Kingdom.

Want up-to-the-minute entertainment news and features? Just hit 'Like' on our Digital Spy Facebook page and 'Follow' on our @digitalspy Instagram and Twitter account.

You Might Also Like