Deathstroke, DC Comics’ ruthless, cycloptic, sword-swinging mercenary-turned grizzled anti-hero, is currently in the midst of a long-overdue pop culture surge, and it’s not stopping anytime soon, with the The CW’s latest adaptation plans, an animated series!
The announcement arrived during the CW’s upfront presentation in May, where, amongst a treasure trove of CW/DC news, network president Mark Pedowitz revealed the existence of the CW Seed-bound Deathstroke animated series. A streaming platform, CW Seed launched back in 2014, designed as a complementary platform to its Warner-based network cousin. Besides some non-DC original content, the Deathstroke series will join the streamer’s array of Arrowverse-connected animated series such a Vixen, Freedom Fighters: The Ray and Constantine: City of Demons.
The series is called Deathstroke: Knights and Dragons, and it will feature the voice of Michael Chiklis as Slade Wilson. Check out the trailer!
Originally known as “The Terminator” until a certain 1984 movie about an Austrian-accented killer cyborg from the future came around, Slade Wilson, the character who would adopt the name, Deathstroke, made his comic book debut in The New Teen Titans #2, dated December 1980. For the comic title, which sported a laughably-unimpressive rogues gallery lineup, Deathstroke was a bull in a china shop; a stylish deviation introduced under the book’s legendary tenure of writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Perez, to whom DC would eventually hand the continuity keys with 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths (which, by no coincidence, The CW will adapt in a transformative Arrowverse crossover event this fall). However, in a character shakeup that’s familiar to fans of Marvel’s Deadpool, Deathstroke would undergo an evolution over the years, notably starting with his first solo series, 1991’s Deathstroke the Terminator (a little nomenclature synergy with summer smash hit Terminator 2: Judgment Day didn’t hurt at the time), later retitled Deathstroke the Hunter, followed by several iterations.
The character made his first live-action appearance in a somewhat indirect, non-comic-adherent form on ABC’s 1993-1997 series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, played by Antonio Sabato Jr. He also made animated appearances, notably in the 2003-2006 Teen Titans animated series, as voiced by Ron Perlman. However, The CW’s Arrow introduced the first real live-action version of Deathstroke, as played by Manu Bennett, who went from tough-love-instilling mentor to Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen, becoming a super-drug-imbued revenge-seeking nemesis, back to being a reluctant ally. The DCEU movies saw Joe Manganiello get a cameo as Deathstroke at the end of the Justice League movie, and Esai Morales plays another iteration of the character on the second season of DC Universe’s Titans.
We’ll keep you updated here on CW Seed’s Deathstroke animated series as the news arrives!