The DC Extended Universe has had a rocky time trying to get itself up and running. People are still screaming "Not my Superman!" about Man of Steel; Batman v Superman's theatrical v director's cut debate is still raging; and even though Suicide Squad is an Oscar-winner, a lot of people still hate it.
After seeing the latest footage, we have high hopes that Wonder Woman will start a new era for the DCEU, and Aquaman test footage looks pretty awesome, but the real pivotal movie on DC Films' horizon is no doubt The Batman. After Ben Affleck dropped out of directing the DCEU Batman solo film, War of the Planet of the Apes' Matt Reeves has stepped in to helm the film. Reeves is taking time to put his own stamp on the ideas that Ben Affleck and DC Films head Geoff Johns wrote into their Batman script; however it's clear that one element of the original plan is remaining the same: Joe Manganiello is playing Deathstroke The Terminator.
The Right Kind of Villain
Deathstroke/Slade Wilson has been both a villain and an anti-hero within DC Comics lore. That grey area of character is what makes him so exciting and compelling to follow - and, honestly, so versatile in his applicable roles within the DC Universe.
On the surface, Slade is a unapologetic killer for hire - a deadly force of nature that will make him live up to his name, "The Terminator" when he appears in Justice League to (presumably) hunt down and take out Batman and/or the team. Under the surface, however, he's been shown to be deeply complex: his comic book mythos includes Shakespearean family drama - and even his adaptation for TV's Arrow resulted in a well-layered villain role that carried a whole season.
According to Joe Manganiello, Deathstroke's well-rounded grey areas are what made him an attractive character to play:
"There were a lot of superhero and supervillain roles that came my way and my gut said those were not the right fit for me. This one was perfect. This was exactly what I was looking for.
"...there was a TV show but I haven’t seen it. I won’t watch it. This is my character, an exciting one, and has the capacity I think, to be a great villain. And what all the great ones can do is polarize an audience. When I was a kid I always rooted for the villain. As a kid I think I would have rooted for him and I think fans will."
A Bright Future in the DCEU
Of course, this being the DC Extended Universe, Manganiello knows that Deathstroke's introduction in Justice League, and further development in The Batman may only be the beginning. His character is one that could easily have a bigger future in the franchise, and he, for one, is excited for that future - and building it with some skilled creative people.
"I’m very excited to be working with the people I’m going to be working with. I’ve known Jon Berg (producer) prior to joining the DCEU. I met everyone, Zack Snyder included, when Man of Steel came out. I’ve known them all for years and I’m very excited to work with everyone. Ben Affleck makes great films and he’s a great Batman. Geoff Johns certainly is a really fun guy to hang around with and has a great grasp on this steering wheel that is the Titanic of the DCEU. Knowing what they have planned for the future, I think fans are really gonna love."
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Justice League hits theaters on November 17, 2017, while The Batman lands sometime in 2018.
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