While many of the DC’s big screen superhero projects have struggled, the small-screen versions have prevailed because they’ve had more room to explore characters and relationships. Both iterations have their various strengths and weaknesses, but it could be argued that the TV versions — specifically, the Arrowverse on The CW — have more successfully embraced their own shared universe and they’ve also achieved a better balance between lightness and darkness.
One of the key successes in the Arrowverse in undoubtedly the depiction of super-villain Deathstroke, played by veteran character actor Manu Bennett (The Hobbit, Spartacus). Deathstroke has primarily appeared on Arrow, as both ally and adversary, as far back as the show’s first season. Bennett brought depth and intensity to his role, selling both sides of his broken, conflicted character.
Related – Arrow: Who Does Slade Choose?
Deathstroke has come and gone from Arrow many times since Season 1, but in Season 6 he’s returned as a major character — the jury is still out regarding his true allegiances (or lack thereof) to Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell). In Arrow Season 6 we learn quite a bit about Deathstroke via backstory flashbacks that reveal a complicated relationship with his son, Joe (aka Kane Wolfman), as played by Liam Hall.
Deathstroke is suddenly a trending topic all across DC’s film and TV properties. Most recently, he popped-up in the post-credits of Justice League (played by Joe Manganiello), he also was rumored to be the big-bad of Batman’s next film (though that’s likely been thrown out the window since Affleck left the director’s seat), and he’s been a major adversary of the Teen Titans (via comics and animation) — leading to speculation that he might appear in the live-action Titans series headed to DC’s upcoming streaming service.
It’s hardly unusual for DC to have multiple versions of same character portrayed concurrently on TV and film (see: Superman and Flash). It is, however, still weird. Bennett spoke with ComicBook to get his assessment of Manganiello playing the big-screen version:
“To be honest, when he was announced to do this role, I was very very happy for him. Of course, I was a little bit disappointed that I wouldn’t get to do such a wonderful opportunity of getting onto that big screen with Deathstroke. But listen, I have had the wonderful opportunity to be a TV actor, and to spend the time it takes to cook a character. And sometimes, I don’t think you get that chance when you’re on the big screen. But as for Joe’s ability to get up there and do this character, I’m behind him, I hope, as much as everybody else is behind him.”
Bennett, who is descended from the Maori peoples of New Zealand, cites the Maori word, “tatoko,” which means to give someone your best feeling of support. Bennett also has a long-standing relationship with Manganiello, which got started at San Diego Comic-Con many years ago.
Do you think that Bennett should portray Deathstroke in Titans? Let us know in the comments down below!
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