Sometime before the fall of 2016, an unknown group of individuals modified the narcotic Vertigo in order to create a new drug with a more powerful high. They dubbed their creation Stardust and proceeded to manufacture and distribute the narcotic throughout Star City. The District Attorney's office, under the leadership of D.A. Adrian Chase, caught wind of a distributor named Derek Sampson that they intended to arrest in the hope of learning the identity of his suppliers. Before they had a chance to move on Sampson, however, the vigilante Wild Dog tracked him to his base of operations. During the ensuing confrontation, Wild Dog threw Sampson over the railing of a catwalk and into a vat of unknown chemicals. Sampson was believed to have died, and his body was sent to the morgue for autopsy while the D.A.'s office pressed on Mayor Oliver Queen to double down on the vigilantes that had ruined their operation. Miraculously, the vat of chemicals that Sampson fell into in his Stardust distribution center managed to mutate his DNA instead of kill him, giving him enhanced strength and healing abilities among other powers. He murdered the mortician who had begun the autopsy and returned to his Stardust facility, with a new vision of creating his own gang of mutated thugs.
- As well as the Star City link, "Stardust" is a dig at Cody Runnels' former employers, WWE. Stardust was the name of the wrestling gimmick which, according to reports, was pushed on Runnels against his will, although it is the identity under which he wrestled against Stephen Amell in a tag team match at Summerslam 2015. Amell and his partner Neville picked up the victory.