With Zack Snyder's Justice League finally out, many DC fans are not only enjoying seeing what filmmaker Zack Snyder intended for the film but also wondering what might have been not only in terms of what Snyder had planned for more Justice League films but for Ben Affleck's solo Batman movie as well. That film would have seen Batman go up against Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke and now, Manganiello reveals a bit more of Deathstroke's story as audiences would have seen it in the Batman film.
During his appearance on ComicBook.com's ComicBook Nation podcast, Manganiello explained that the scene between Slade Wilson/Deathstroke and Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) in Zack Snyder's Justice League generally sets things up with Lex telling Slade Batman's real identity.
“As you could kind of like infer from the proper Justice League end credit scene, Slade is summoned by Luther, who offers a peace offering of information to Slade. He knows that Slade lost his son and he blamed Batman for it," Manganiello said. "Batman had a hand in it. And Luthor summons him to his yacht and gives him a key piece of information that Batman's secret identity is Bruce Wayne."
He continued, "So, now he's setting loose this unstoppable force on Gotham City and Bruce Wayne and the Batman film was going to be kind of similar to like, you know, imagine if David Fincher's The Game was real. [He] systematically dismantles Bruce’s life and starts murdering all the people in it. And destroy his finances and just basically paints him into a corner."
Manganiello also revealed that the film would have seen a showdown between Deathstroke and Batgirl who came to aid Bruce, but he also went a bit into the research and backstory he had started to build for the character when that Batman film fell apart.
"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 they're very superhero-ish," Manganiello said. "You know where Deathstroke's holding a submarine over his head and throwing it, you know? And and I wanted Deathstroke to be human and grounded and 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."
He continued, "The end of that six month period I wound up having a two-hour long Skype call with Gareth Evans which I've talked about before and and Gareth and entered into negotiations with the studio to make a a like stripped down version of Deathstroke that was almost like, imagine Deathstroke in The Raid 2 film, a revenge film with Slade, the mask, the patch, how he lost his son."
While the plans for Deathstroke in the Affleck Batman movie and even beyond are interesting,at this point it doesn't seem likely that fans will get to see that anytime soon. Warner Bros. has been clear that the Snyder Cut is the end of Snyder's work in DC Films and things have already begun to move on with Matt Reeves' The Batman on its way next year.
Zack Snyder's Justice League is now streaming on HBO Max.