Did Affleck Choose Deathstroke As The First Batman Villain To Appeal To Fans Of ‘Arrow’?

arrow batman deathstroke

When Arrow first premiered on the CW, many critics wrote it off saying it was a watered down, less interesting television version of Christopher Nolan’s realistic Dark Knight trilogy. Fast forward five seasons later, and it looks as if roles may have reversed: Arrow may now be serving as inspiration for the next generation of Batman movies. It’s no secret that Manu Bennett absolutely killed it (sorry, Moira) during his run as Slade Wilson. Bennett brought Deathstroke to life in a way that was unmatched by any other comic television villain at the time. Most fans agree that Deathstroke the Terminator is the reason Arrow took off the way it did, and it’s no wonder that a lot of fans’ opinions of the show have declined since the end of his story-arc. Deathstroke raised the bar too high, and now Arrow is struggling to live up to itself. That, however, is a topic for another day and another editorial.

The main takeaway from the previous paragraph is that Deathstroke appearing so prominently on Arrow made the character extremely well known, and helped propel the show’s popularity to the point it was able to launch its own shared universe. Let’s go back to 2012 when the Arrow pilot aired, one year after Ryan Reynolds flopped as Green Lantern, and still almost an entire year away from WB’s newest endeavor: Man of Steel. Would Man of Steel start a new DC film universe? Would it connect with Arrow? Would it even be any good? At a time when DC’s movies were still trying to figure themselves out, Arrow was the only thing DC fans had (besides for the animated movies – big shout out to DC’s animated movies). But because of the awesomely entertaining conflict between Slade and Oliver, that was more than okay. Arrow didn’t just contribute to DC’s television success, it single handedly carried that success on its back until The Flash spun out of it and took over as the team MVP. At a time when Batman was on a hiatus, we had the next best thing: Oliver Queen.

When it was announced by TheWrap and Heroic Hollywood’s own Umberto Gonzalez that Deathstroke would be the main villain of the first Batman solo flick in the DC Extended Universe, my initial thought went right back to Arrow. As soon as I saw the test footage Ben Affleck posted to social media, my mind immediately went to Manu Bennett and Arrow‘s second season, and I instantaneously got more excited for Batfleck’s first solo flick. The more I thought about it, the more I thought that Affleck may have done that on purpose – with the intention of appealing to Arrow fans. From my time in the DC TV fandom, which now accounts for over two years of my life, I’ve learned that Arrow fans are some of the most loyal, excited, and vocal fans on the internet. One look at the Arrow Reddit back in 2013 would prove my point: Arrow fans are diehard. It’s the reason the show was able to spawn its own television universe without even meaning to in the first place.

Unfortunately, not all fans of Arrow and The Flash are fans of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Man of Steel, or Suicide Squad. Like I mentioned above, Arrow fans are vocal. If they don’t like something, they will let you know. I used to run a Facebook page devoted to ‘DC TV Universe’, and I can tell you from first hand experience there are a significant number of Arrow fans who do not like the DC movies we have been given. Thanks to the current state of both Arrow and the DCEU, now would be the perfect time to try and bring old-school Arrow fans over to the movie side. And what better way to do that than with Arrow fans’ favorite villain, Deathstroke?

Next Page: The Current State Of Arrow


Josh Behr

Josh Behr

Jack of some trades, master of some others. That saying never really made a lot of sense to me.

  • SergeantLiteral


  • Jake Bucsko

    “Unfortunately, not all fans of Arrow and The Flash are fans of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Man of Steel, or Suicide Squad”

    Whaaaaaaaat? Inconceivable! We all know that if you didn’t like BvS or Squad, you’re just a DC HATER and a Marvtard zombie who only likes movies made for little kids! It doesn’t make sense at all that people who don’t like the current movies can spend 4 hours a week watching DC characters on the CW, or buying their comics, or watching Young Justice and JLU on Netflix. How can we even sit on the couch to watch TV being so BUTTHURT all the time?

    • I like the DC movies. The truth it a lot of people didn’t though.

    • I hope this comment is satirical.

      • Jake Bucsko

        I’m not sure how I could have lain on the sarcasm any thicker.

        • That’s good. Several regular commenters here (most of whom I’ve blocked by now) talk just like that, so it’s a little hard to tell.

          • Jake Bucsko

            Sadly, I’m now fluent. I get it all the time. The real lesson here is don’t comment on the Internet, which I’ll learn one of these days.

          • Or just find a place with really good moderation. The quality of the commenting community is directly tied to its moderation.

            I find that BirthMoviesDeath is mostly terrific, although they don’t tend to moderate articles after the first day or so of posting.

        • SAMURAI36

          He’s an idiot, don’t mind him, he can’t help himself.

      • Peter James

        ‘Sarcastic’ would be the word you’re looking for.

        • I debated over the choice between those words. Don’t you think both can apply?

          • Peter James

            Sure they can.

            But they’re not interchangeable terms, and his post leans more on the sarcastic or sardonic rather than just being satirical – which would be purely for laughs and not meant to sting as that one is.

            Furthermore, something satirical makes fun of an already existing thing, whereas a sarcastic comment like the one he has made can be of a completely made up scenario and not referencing anything actually prior existing.

  • A Realist

    You should have your posting privileges revoked, Josh. This is one of the stupidest, BS speculative, most irresponsible posts made to this site yet.

    • Jake Bucsko

      I don’t think the decision to use Deathstroke in The Batman (assuming reports are accurate) was made solely on the basis of his popularity in Arrow, but I’m sure it was part of it. The last few years have seen a big push for the character. He was the main villain in the Batman and Son animated movie, had a big role in Arkham Origins, has a solo book now written by none other than Christopher Priest, and of course was a major character for two years on Arrow.

      He might be exaggerating a little, but I’m sure it hasn’t exactly gone unnoticed that he was such a huge hit on the show.

    • It’s only a theory. And you’re right, it is pure speculation. That was the purpose of writing it :)

      • A Realist

        Then label it as an editorial. Lest someone come to the news site, expecting this to be news…

        • The primary category is already editorial :)

        • It’s currently listed under the editorial category on the website.

          • A Realist


            LEAVE IT THAT WAY.

            I’ve got nothing. It’s hard for me to maintain faux outrage.

          • SAMURAI36

            Just because it’s an “editorial” (more & more “journalists” abuse that term these days), doesn’t alleviate it from having to be factual.
            BTW, the term you are looking for, is “op/ed”.

          • I appreciate the comment, Samurai. Most people do realize that when “editorial” is said, it typically refers to an opinion. Which is why it’s called an “op/ed”. The opinion piece was based on facts that Arrow has declined over the past two years, Manu Bennett was a fan favorite, and DCEU movies are not getting unanimous praise at the moment. Since it was an op/ed though, there is a hefty amount of opinion in there as well. It was just meant as a fun speculative read.

          • SAMURAI36

            My issue with the article, is that ignores the basic facts, that if acknowledged from the onset, would’ve rendered the piece moot. For instance, your opening premise:

            Did Affleck choose Deathstroke as the first Batman villain to appease the fans of Arrow?

            Falls under several facts. As I’d stated above, Affleck doesn’t have the final say; his co-writer (& DC Films CCO/President) Geoff Johns does. The same person that’s also the CCO & exec producer of Arrow, & all the rest of the DCTV shows.
            Not to mention the fact that Deathstroke as a character had been planned for the DCEU while the character appeared on Arrow in the first place. DC had been grooming his popularity before the TV show, in the comics & animation.
            None of which got mentioned in your article.
            As a fellow DC fan, I appreciate your enthusiasm. But articles like this are what add to the rumor mill, rather than correcting it.

          • Chris Schroeder

            My only question to that is where is it said he was being groomed for the DCEU? They pulled the plug on every other DC tv character that they planned to use in movies

      • SAMURAI36

        Not while ignoring the facts as they are, which completely renders your “speculation” moot.

    • Eobard Thawne

      I wouldn’t be quite so harsh, but yeah, it was pretty ill informed/reached a mile.

      • I agree there was stretching in there, but by no means do I think ‘Arrow’ is the sole purpose for the decision. I do think that Manu’s success was a factor. It makes sense.

        • Gintoki79

          To be honest, if it wasn’t for Manu, Deathstroke wouldn’t be this much of a popular character. Before Manu, he wasn’t really that hyped.

          Though Geoff Johns should have cast Manu Bennett in the DCEU. I doubt Joe Manganiello can top Manu.

        • Eobard Thawne

          I don’t agree at all.

  • Calum Sanderson

    I’m a CWverse fan and loved the thre DCEU movies so far, so don’t tar all arrow fans with the same brush

    • Not at all. I’m personally a fan of both.

  • Soumya Dham

    Now we know for sure that Deakstroke is not coming back on Arrow. Same what they did with Suicide Squad. :/

  • Soumya Dham

    Btw, Arrow ‘fans’ are a thing of the past now.

    • Darthmanwe

      I dunno, the aftershows and the many fans still commenting on boards suggest otherwise.

      … I still like Arrow. Kinda. I watch it ( mainly to supplement FLash, but hey.) I’m a fan.

      So don’t generalize.

      • Soumya Dham

        I used to watch Arrow, loved it. But the show got too melodramatic and monotonous. I know loads who share my opinion, but yes i’m aware there are loyalists. :)

  • flavortang

    Nothing wrong with speculation. I liked the article.

    The fact that in the last three years I’ve seen a Superman movie, Supes, Bats and Wonder Woman in a movie vs. Doomsdaym a Suicide Squad movie, Justice League Dark has a director and Deathstroke is now a part of the DCEU makes me very happy as a DC fan. Every other day is like my birthday with cool DC movie news dropping left and right.

    Bring on Deathstroke!

  • JNAZ

    Editor: “Hey guys, we need one more article about Deathstroke!”
    Josh: “Ooh! I got this theory, it’s a stretch but…”
    Editor: “DO it!”

    • fox

      Editor: “Make the article total ridiculous conjecture. I want our site to be more like moviepilot.com”
      Josh: “You got it Boss, nothing like fresh click baits in the morning”

      • SAMURAI36

        Precisely this.

        • My next article: Deathstroke is actually Jason Todd. Look for it on Moviepilot.

          • SAMURAI36

            I know you think that’s funny, but it’s really not. Look around you. You only had ONE supported for this poorly written attempt at clickbait. If that was your goal, then congrats!
            Otherwise, doubling down on the silliness doesn’t make you a winner. But hey, feel free to get it how you live.

  • Gintoki79

    I don’t think they choose Deathstroke, to appeal to Arrow fans. Arrow is dead anyway thanks to Guggenheim, who ruined Slade’s character in Season 3. and Greg Berlanti only focuses on The Flash, and doesn’t care about Arrow anymore.

    But if it wasn’t for Manu, Deathstroke wouldn’t be this much of a popular character. Before Manu, he wasn’t really that hyped. I’m guessing Ben Affleck and Geoff Johns were impressed by that.

    Though Geoff Johns should have cast Manu Bennett in the DCEU. I doubt Joe Manganiello can top Manu. I’d love to be wrong, but to me Manu Bennett is Deathstroke.

    • Jake Bucsko

      I was hoping he’d be Shazam to go up against the Rock, but now I suspect that movie will never actually happen.

  • Marquis de Sade

    Just more proof that BERLANTI-VERSE should be settin’ the tone and runnin’ the hapless and rudderless dceu.

  • Quiet_Righty

    I don’t like the way ARROW is consistently lifting and stealing from BATMAN mythology.


    Wow, what a silly article.

    First off, Deathstroke has been in the cards for a DC film for YEARS.

    Second, this wasn’t just Affleck’s idea. Clearly you guys suffer from amnesia, since you’re obviously forgetting that Affleck is co-writing the film with Geoff Johns. The same Geoff Johns that exec produces the DCTV shows.

    • Axxell

      First off, Deathstroke has been in the cards for a DC film for YEARS.

      You say the same thing for every DC decision…we all know it’s not true.

  • Peter James

    The real reason Deathstroke was brought on is because he’s going to be a big part of Suicide Squad 2 (with a mostly revamped line-up), after Batman gets him and throws him into Arkham Asylum in the Batman movie.

    I’m surprised no one’s seen this play already.

    It’s the beginnings of DC trying to tie their universe together (stronger than they have so far)

    • SAMURAI36

      I saw it. And you’re absolutely right.

    • Chris Schroeder

      Was that in an article or something? I haven’t been able to get on as much and feel like I missed all the latest news haha

  • NostradennASS

    ” what else can the DCEU even try to do to win over critics and audiences at this point?”

    Nothing. The money the films are making prove they don’t need to win over the audience, and most people won’t care about critics.

    This is a moviepilot level of “article”.

    • While I agree most people (including myself) don’t care about critical reviews, you can’t deny that studios make decisions based on both profit and reception. The movies are making enough money to continue the universe, but the low reception is making WB scramble every time a new movie gets panned.

      • SAMURAI36

        Where are your facts that support this? What was the “scramble” after SS’s low reviews?
        See, this is precisely the problem with the articles here. All you’re doing is espousing what others have espoused. Not a shred of journalistic integrity.

  • cultstatus

    Yes, Affleck is definitely trying to draw in the crowd that has made Arrow the ratings smash hit that it is.

  • cultstatus

    This article still isn’t as bad as this site trying to claim an exclusive over the Deathstroke news hours after the film’s director released a video tho.

  • German Correa Rios

    What a dumb and pointless article. If you trully follow and like DC of any kind. You know Arrow is still a terrible Batman copy.

  • jollybrah

    Affleck probably could give a crap about Arrow, his using Deathstroke cause thats who he wants to use lol. Odds are most of the people who watch Arrow watch the DCEU movies already.

    • SAMURAI36

      It’s not Affleck’s job to care about Arrow, anyway. It’s Geoff Johns’.