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'Arrow' star Manu Bennett: Oliver's 'about to meet his maker'

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Arrow 02
Cate Cameron/The CW

It was the handshake heard around the world.  And yes, I mean heard. Let’s just say Slade put a little bit of his Mirakuru-induced strength into his re-introduction to Oliver Queen during last week’s Arrow. But when we left the friends-turned-enemies, Slade had just uttered the words, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Queen.” So what now?

Obviously, by making his way into the living room of Starling City’s own Moira Queen, it’s safe to say that Slade has worked his way up society’s ladder. “He hasn’t arrived with an army. He’s arrived by himself and he’s well aware of everything,” Manu Bennett, who plays Slade, said. “He’s taken that time to prepare himself to come to Starling City. The fact that he arrives in a Hugo Boss suit and is able to be put into the company of an elite person of the city like Moira Queen means that he’s taken the time since the island — however long that’s been for him — and executed his master plan to be able to slip on into Starling City as somebody wealthy and influential. He’s been devising this arrival in Starling City for some time. It’s a military operation for him, but he’s obviously managed to get money and resources and influence.”

But putting the new Slade aside, much of tonight’s episode will focus on the island and Slade potentially discovering the truth about Shado’s death. “It gets us to the freighter and aboard there, everybody knows that was Ivo’s laboratory, and I think that’s going to take us deeper into the storyline involving Mirakuru, which of course Slade has ingested, and it’s brought him back to life with obvious side effects,” Bennett said. “He’s trying to deal with the Mirakuru because the effects of it have been making him a little bit irrational with his behavior. He’s hoping, as well as Oliver and Sara are hoping, that they’re going to get out to this boat and be able to get out of there, but there’s a lot of secrets on this boat, and I think we’re getting ready for a good old Shakespearean tragedy. I obviously didn’t arrive at his house because we got on that boat and escaped to safety.” [Laughs]

So about that secret: “The whole thing is based on secrets, even the modern city. The whole thing is about what people don’t know. And one of the great things that’s enabling itself in this storyline is the fact that that key piece of information about what happened with Shado that hasn’t been exposed to a rather unsettled Slade who’s on Mirakuru. That’s very instrumental in what’s going to happen between Oliver and Slade, but in that lies this great tragedy. It’s like Othello. It’s kind of like once Iago starts whispering in his ear, tells Othello that Desdemona is being unfaithful, it kind of drives Othello mad. And I think in this scenario, the death of Shado is this key piece of information that hasn’t been delivered to him properly. If it’s delivered in the wrong, it’s going to be taken very personally; it’s going to cast a huge shadow upon what has to this point been a friendship between the two of them. It’s what they say: War’s are waged over money and land and women.” [Laughs]

And if a war is waged over Shado’s death, Bennett seemed confident that Slade could hold his own. “I was his teacher, you know? It’s like putting Luke Skywalker up against Yoda on Mirakuru,” Bennett said with a chuckle. “He’s going to be a bad little green thing, isn’t he? Bu you know, Slade’s no little green thing; he’s actually a fully trained soldier. He knows weapons and fighting. He taught Oliver everything he knows, so if Oliver turns in a fight against Slade, he’s up against himself plus more. He’s a very youthful version of the abilities of Slade, but Slade’s a war-torn soldier as well. And then once all of that darkness that has been in the past with Slade is skewed at all, then you got a very, very dangerous opponent, and that’s why I think Slade arriving in Starling City. Oliver’s in all kinds of trouble, as is his family and friends.”

However, now that Slade has joined the ranks of Starling City’s villains, don’t expect him to be interacting with the Suicide Squad anytime soon. “In that regard, I don’t think the cards are being played that quickly, Bennett said. “I think there’s a very strong storyline happening right now, which we’re going to deal with the very personal conflict between Slade and Oliver. I think the writers are taking their time to punctuate this eye-for-an-eye story, and I think that’s going to be what’s going to be happening for the foreseeable future on this season. Of course there’s the tie-in of the Suicide Squad and everything coming in, but I wouldn’t expect that to be happening as quickly. I think there’s still plenty of storylines just through what Slade is planning on doing, what he’s going to do, what the repercussions of him doing something in Starling City’s going to mean for Arrow, where that’s going to take Arrow as a character, Oliver as a character.”

But whether he’s on his own or not, Slade will get his revenge. “Somebody’s gotta pay,” Bennett said. “Some people are going to pay. It’s as simple as that. That’s the way it’s going to play out, but who and when and what’ll that mean to both the world of Slade Wilson and the inherent antagonist of the DC comic world and to Arrow and his need to call upon others? We know that Deathstroke is a man in the DC comic world who can’t be fought alone. I mean Batman couldn’t beat him, so there’s an inherent strength and danger to this man that’s going to change everything that Oliver sees himself as, in terms of protecting this city. At this stage, he thinks he can do it hands down, but he’s about to meet his maker … and he took the eye of his maker out.”

Arrow airs tonight at 8 p.m. on The CW.