There was once a time when Joe Manganiello was going to star as Slade Wilson in a solo movie set in the DC Extended Universe. The Deathstroke feature, naturally, would have provided a proper origin for the fan-favorite mercenary, and according to Manganiello himself, it would have been a grounded affair akin to Matt Damon's Bourne franchise.
"I want to make it clear that it wasn't a script yet, it was a treatment. It was an outline for how the story could go. Who were the characters involved? It involved Adeline [Kane], the kids, who were going to be young, Wintergreen, Talia [al Ghul]," Manganiello said Saturday at Justice Con. "In my script, there was an origin story for the sword and there were League of Shadows ties and things like that."
The actor added, "It was more of a Tom Clancy ripped from the headlines sort of story, or even like a Bourne Identity where it was going to be really grounded, and political with military drama as far as what it would take to go from devoting his life to his country for this life he believed in to, you know, having the rug pulled out from underneath him and being stabbed in the back and not knowing who to trust."
That's when the Justice League star said the movie was going to be a revenge-fueled movie based in Washington DC as Deathstroke worked his way through the US government and those who wronged him.
Just last month, Manganiello told ComicBook.com's ComicBook Nation everything is still in place for Warner Brothers to pull the trigger on the movie all these years later.
"The studio was very much enthralled by all of the research that I was doing. I was starting to build the character out and pitch them ideas and I build a back story and kind of build. You know, because I think a lot of times the comic book stories of Deathstroke are very, very far-fetched. You know, they're very superhero-ish," Manganiello said.
"You know where Deathstroke's holding a submarine over his head and throwing it, you know? And I wanted Deathstroke to be human and grounded and so I started with, you know, he was a part of the American military. OK, well what part? What branch? What would he have done? Where would have been, you know what did? What did his wife do? You know, and then of course, like the League of Shadows influence? And why does he carry a sword? And how do you learn how to use a sword? If you're, you know, most military guys don't mess around with katanas, it's just not what they do. So that part of the story needed to build out. And so I was really grounding it and they really, you know they loved it. So I worked on that for six months."
Zack Snyder's Justice League is now streaming on HBO Max.