According to co-showrunner Marc Guggenheim, Deathstroke is off limits for Arrow. Slade Wilson used to be an important part of Oliver Queen’s world, though slowly the character’s presence diminished to no presence at all. Manu Bennett was able to return to Arrow in the season 5 finale as well as an abbreviated season 6 arc. Though that will be the last time fans get to see the character for awhile.
You might have forgotten that this isn’t the first time that character has been labeled off-limits by DC. The show actually had plans to build a Suicide Squad arc surrounding the character John Diggle. There were even hints of Harley Quinn being introduced at one point. That’s so crazy to think about because I can’t imagine anyone but Margot Robbie playing the role.
Their plans were put to a halt when David Ayers’ Suicide Squad movie was put into production. Now, once again Arrow has run into a similar roadblock. This is what Marc Guggenheim had to say:
These are DC’s characters, we’re just renting them ya know, so we use the characters that they tell us we can use when we can use them, and we work around whatever limitations that places us … For a time they were saying ‘you can’t use Deathstroke’, and that changed and we were able to have Slade Wilson back on the show, and now we’re back to ‘you can’t use him’. They’re working on the feature film version, it really is sort of now that you’ve got obviously Slade, spoiler alert, Deathstroke appears at the end of the Justice League movie.
So the reason you won’t be able to see Manu Bennett is because of the DC cinematic universe. There seems to be no room left considering Joe Manganiello is now Deathstroke on the big screen. Arrow did give some closure by managing to give Slade Wilson a send-off in season 6. Deathstroke parted ways with his on-again and off-again archenemy, Oliver Queen, to locate his son, Grant. Deathstroke’s most recent Arrow episode did imply that the character could be back. Hopefully DC will consider reversing their decision.
Arrow returns with new episodes on January 15, 2018.