At one point in time, the future of the DC Extended Universe looked as though it had limitless potential, only for the disappointing critical reception of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and Justice League to end a number of planned paths for the series, with Joe Manganiello confirming that he was asked to keep his schedule clear in order to appear in a Suicide Squad follow-up. Manganiello would go on to appear in a post-credits scene of Justice League as Slade Wilson, which could have set up his involvement in both a Suicide Squad and a Batman film, only for the franchise to pivot to explore new directions.
"There were four or five different versions of Suicide Squad 2 that I was put on hold for, for dates, waiting for one actor to free up and we were going to go," Manganiello recently confirmed with the Happy.Sad.Confused podcast.
Following Manganiello's debut of the character, the planned Ben Affleck Batman movie was instead reimagined under filmmaker Matt Reeves, with Robert Pattinson stepping into the role of the Caped Crusader, while the upcoming The Suicide Squad from James Gunn won't feature Deathstroke. It's unknown when, or if, Deathstroke could get a full-fledged return to the franchise, but the actor reprised his role to film new sequences for Zack Snyder's Justice League.
Manganiello also noted that, at one point following Justice League, he wrote his own treatment for his character's origin story, which enlisted The Raid director Gareth Evans. That project, among many others, never came to fruition.
"When the dust settled, it was not seen as a priority to make a $40 million movie about a villain origin story in which you show the backstory," the actor admitted.
"The approach would've been interesting to kind of take on [the character's origins]," Evans previously shared with ComicBook.com about the project. "I wasn't interested in doing the bloated version of that film. I wouldn't have wanted it to be like a two-hour-plus version of a comic book movie. I think that there was a leaner, more aggressive version of that story. Something that felt a lot more in tune with Korean War films. That would've been my preferred angle on something like that. But who knows, it might get picked up again at some point, and I might get another phone call at some point down the line. But, it's eluded me."
Zack Snyder's Justice League hits HBO Max on March 18th. Stay tuned for details on the potential future of Deathstroke project.
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