Last month, audiences got to properly experience Joe Manganiello's take on Slade Wilson/Deathstroke, after the character factored into Zack Snyder's Justice League. The onscreen appearance — which was much more significant than his single-scene cameo in Justice League's theatrical cut — was the culmination of years of fans wanting to see his take on the DC anti-hero. That push from fans hit a fever pitch in late 2017, when a clip of footage of Manganiello in a Deathstroke costume test was posted on social media by Justice League star (and, at the time, the planned writer-director of a The Batman solo movie) Ben Affleck. The clip set off a flurry of speculation, culminating in Manganiello officially being cast in the role days later.
During a recent appearance at the virtual JusticeCon convention, Manganiello spoke about the experience of that test footage being made public, and offered some amusing behind-the-scenes insight into how Affleck approached it all.
"That's me in the suit for the first time, fully fleshed out. I'd been flying back and forth to London that whole summer, testing the suit out," Manganiello explained. "Zack and Ben got behind the monitors, and the entire Justice League cast came out to watch, because they heard we were going to be doing a little screen armor test, of me in the armor. So the whole Justice League was crowded around the monitors, and I guess Ben pulled out a cell phone and filmed this off of the monitors during my test. And then, he was on a plane and tweeted that out, and then shut his phone off and went on a trans-Atlantic flight. So no one could yell at him, no one could stop him. He just leaked it out there."
"And even though I'm wearing a mask, everyone knew that it was me," Manganiello continued. "They figured out that it was me, immediately, because I guess they'd known that I was in London with a haircut, with a goatee, and they just surmised that that was me inside the suit."
While Affleck's original plan for The Batman movie did not come to pass, Manganiello has spoken about what the Batman vs. Deathstroke showdown would have been like in the context of that film.
“As you could kind of like infer from the proper Justice League end credit scene, Slade is summoned by Luthor, who offers a peace offering of information to Slade," Manganiello explained on ComicBook.com's Comic Book Nation podcast last month. "He knows that Slade lost his son and he blamed Batman for it. 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. So, now he's setting loose this unstoppable force on Gotham City and Bruce Wayne. 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."1comments
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Zack Snyder's Justice League is available to stream exclusively on HBO Max.