Last month, DC fans were rocked by the news that Warner Bros. is developing a Deathstroke solo movie from The Raid director Gareth Evans. The project excited plenty of fans, especially after months of previous updates surrounding Deathstroke's potential introduction into the DC Extended Universe.
As fans will remember, Ben Affleck broke the Internet a little over a year ago by sharing a short video clip of Deathstroke inside a plane. The actor wearing the mask was revealed to be True Blood alum Joe Manganiello, who was set to make his DCEU debut as Deathstroke in Affleck's The Batman.
As time went on, Affleck stepped down from directing the picture, letting Matt Reeves eventually take on the helm. And with that, fans seemed to have an understanding that Reeves' script was starting from scratch, with Manganiello Deathstroke's presumably not in the film.
But now, Manganiello's Deathstroke has a clear outlet to be introduced into the DCEU. And, putting aside the frequent speculation about Affleck's tenure as Batman, we couldn't help but wonder if there was a way we could see Manganiello and Affleck bring the Deathstroke/Batman rivalry on the big screen, but in the Deathstroke solo film?
When you look at the past (and current) trajectory of the DCEU, it isn't too difficult to see how Ben Affleck's Batman could make his way into the Deathstroke solo film.
As DCEU fans know, the cinematic universe has experience with throwing in cameos from Batman -- namely in last year's Suicide Squad. The caped crusader was shown in flashbacks, apprehending a few of the villains that starred in the film's ensemble. And regardless of what you think about Suicide Squad, it's hard to deny that Batman's three minutes of screentime were fun to watch, and didn't detract from the film's main narrative.
Sure, there's an argument to be made that Deathstroke doesn't need a cameo from Batman. The antihero's origins don't really link to the Dark Knight, the way that Suicide Squad's Joker, Harley Quinn, and Deadshot did. But Suicide Squad does serve as a blueprint for how Batman could factor into another DCEU film, without taking away from the main character's story.
In recent months, the DCEU has adopted a policy of not requiring every DCEU film to connect, and namely leaving it at the discretion of each director. But it isn't out of the question that Gareth Evans could factor Batman into the film, and he may have already hinted at how he could do it.
A few days before the Deathstroke news was officially announced, Evans shared a picture related to the character on his Instagram post. The photo was of the Deathstroke trade paperback Gods of War, which fans have already begun to speculate could be tied to the film.
Gods of War collects the first six issues of Tony S. Daniel and Sandu Florea's Deathstroke run, which was released from 2014 to 2016. The series finds Slade on a hunt for revenge, after he loses everything and is presumed dead by the world. His crusade causes him to cross paths with (spoiler alert) his father, Odysseus. Along the way, Slade crossed paths with a few DC Comics favorites, including Harley Quinn, Amanda Waller, ...and Batman.
While it's far too early to tell exactly what the Deathstroke film would draw from, a storyline inspired by Gods of War could easily factor in a Batman cameo in the form of a pretty gnarly fight scene, something fans of both characters would certainly love.