"Pain's just another prison. And I'm a free man."
—Derek Sampson on his powers and freedom[src]

Derek Sampson is a former drug-dealer, specializing on Stardust drug, as well as a former crime boss that opposed the Green Arrow and a rival crime lord Tobias Church. After being thrown into a vat of chemicals, Sampson experienced a mutation, losing his sense of pain and gaining a certain degree of advanced healing. Later, he becomes an ally of Prometheus' team to destroy Green Arrow and his team.[1]


Derek Sampson was one of Stardust drug dealers in Star City that was targeted by the District Attorney Adrian Chase as a potential snitch on the other dealers in the city. At the same time, he was being hunted by Team Arrow, and especially Rene Ramirez, for his series of crimes related to spreading the drug. [1]

Unhappy with Green Arrow's patient methods, Wild Dog took Evelyn Sharp on a "recon mission", which quickly turned into an attack on the drug dealers' hideout, as Wild Dog wanted it to. Sampson managed to successfully fight Ramirez back, to the point the brawl was now on the matter of life and death. With Evelyn distracting him with gunfire, Rene pulled Sampson off the catwalk they fought on. Sampson then fell into a vat of Stardust and other assorted chemicals and was left for dead. [1]

The next day, Derek's condition was so messed up by a mix of chemicals, altering him on a molecular level, that he was mistaken for dead by the police, the prosecution, and the coroners. By the time he woke up from his condition, Derek was about to be sliced on the coroner's table for an autopsy report. Derek attacked the coroner, killing the man, and commenting on how he didn't feel anything. Now regenerating with great speed and ignoring all pain, Derek assaulted the hospital's security, invulnerable to bullets. The security guards were eventually saved by the Green Arrow, who tried to stop the mutated criminal, but was now overpowered by Sampson. The vigilante escaped, while Derek decided to return to his organization. [1]

On his way to his gang, Sampson killed a police officer that tried to shoot him down, then re-introduced himself to his partners in crime, referencing Mark Twain in saying that the reports of his death were greatly exaggerated. Derek announced that drug dealing was too small of an operation, and decided to start thinking big: creating an army of meta-humans with the same formula that gave him superpowers, to topple down Tobias Church and take Star City back. Derek's gang then went on a raid of Allman Industrial, stealing a Molecular Transmodality Processor to refine the formula that would allow to create new mutated thugs. [1]

Team Arrow targeted Sampson's hideout once again, with Curtis Holt setting up an explosive to destroy the gang's supply of the refined Stardust and the Molecular Transmodality Processor. Sampson fought the Green Arrow once again, taunting him with the mention of his newfound powers. However, he was defeated when the vigilante sliced through his tendons, making Derek unable to walk. The next day, he was apprehended by the police and finally arrested. [1] With his superhuman traits, Sampson was placed in the metahuman wing of Iron Heights. Later he is freed because Chase's prosecutions are discredited, and allied with Prometheus against Green Arrow to release Claybourne's weaponized tuberculosis in Star City. He is finally defeated and incarcerated once again.

Powers and abilities


  • Meta-human physiology/Enhanced physical condition: Due to the molecular mutation caused by a mix of chemicals related to the Stardust drug, Derek's natural physical limiters have been greatly reduced.[1]
    • Accelerated healing factor: Derek's enhanced metabolism has a higher rate of self-healing than normal humans. He is able to heal burn marks and projectile holes wounds heal in hours.
    • Enhanced endurance: Derek has high-immunity to pain from any injuries and highly augmented resilience to damage in general. This allows him to be able to take more damage than a normal human. Furthermore, he has also shown a seemingly limitless stamina able to endure even most fatal wounds with no reduction in his performance.
    • Enhanced strength: Derek can exert much greater muscle power than normal humans. He is shown able to choke man and break their neck with a single hand. He was also able to quickly injure Green Arrow with only a few blows, which was enough to force the vigilante to flee.


  • Expert hand-to-hand combatant/Brawler: Derek was an experienced and incredibly powerful hand-to-hand brawler, alone among his gang who was able to overpower Rene Ramirez, a similarly trained fighter; and required a two-on-one and the use of (potentially) lethal force to bring him down one. [1]
  • Expert tactician/Leader: Derek was a charismatic leader, able to unite the gangsters under his command, who at first considered him dead and a lost cause, into a force with purpose, to take the city back from Tobias Church.


  • Standard Anatomy: While his overall physical performance is seemingly relentless, he still has the same general anatomy limitations as a normal human, such as needing his tendons intact to move. Upon Green Arrow slicing the tendons in his arms and legs, Derek was effectively paralyzed, losing the fight.



Season 5

Behind the scenes

  • Derek's last name, Sampson, may be a reference to the Biblical character Samson, one of the last Judges of the Israelites, who was granted superhuman strength by God.
  • The character was originally going to be called Garret Runnels, which is a combination between Cody Runnels' middle and last name, before it was changed to Derek Sampson. However, some TV guides still billed Sampson's original name.
  • Derek was referred to as a new zombie, referencing Tony Woodward on The Flash.
  • Derek's villainous origin story has similarities to that of the Joker, falling into a vat of chemicals after a struggle with the vigilante at the above level.
  • The Stardust drug that Sampson deals with is a reference to his actor Cody Runnel's WWE Ring name Stardust.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 "A Matter of Trust"