'Arrow' Star Manu Bennett Talks About Humanizing Deathstroke

Some DC Comics fans think of Deathstroke as nothing a badass mercenary, but Arrow actor Manu Bennett is happy to bring some humanity to popular villain.

Speaking at Heroes & Villains Fest San Jose, Bennett says he’s lucky that Arrow has supplied him and his character with a rich backstory to work with.

“I mean, I’m lucky because of all of the Slade origin story stuff,” Bennett says. “Every time we add on a little bit of a layer here and there it helps kind of draw that story out. Sometimes I’m missing Arrow and there’s been times when it's been a year and a half between getting back out there to film Oliver and the cast – Stephen [Amell] – but they made a really good job out of this last couple of episodes and that they humanized Slade rather than demonized the character was just such a relief for me because I’ve always been of the idea that Deathstroke from the DC Comics, Marv Wolfman’s character, has more integrity just being a crazy Mirakuru guy.

“So being able to sink myself back into the legend of Deathstroke and bring out some of the characters like his son, and a mention of his other son and a mention of his wife and whatnot gives us now the scope to open up to potentially other parts that could be explored.”

These comments are quite a change of heart from what Bennett said about Arrow’s direction for Deathstroke in a 2015 interview.

“I think Deathstroke had a lot of possibilities with Arrow but, I think they took it in the wrong direction,” Bennett said. “I think they should have honored the Marv Wolfman character who was literally unstoppable. I read the DC comic books and thought Deathstroke was so bad arse because they make it that nobody can stop him. He’s not even super-powered, he is just a mercenary. It took the Justice League to defeat him; it took an army to take him on. In Arrow, it took a while for Oliver [Queen/Arrow] to prove his point, but [season three] was just a beating of Slade, adding insult to injury.”


It seems that Bennett has adjusted to the villain decay and found something else to latch onto in Deathstroke’s history and humanity.

Arrow airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. Et on The CW.