The epilogue of Zack Snyder's Justice League sets up The Batman, the never-made solo movie that would have pit Batman (Ben Affleck) against the one-eyed assassin Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello). Spoilers for the Justice League Snyder Cut follow. After Batman makes it his mission to recruit and unite the Justice League — Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and a newly-resurrected Superman (Henry Cavill) — a new age of heroes begins with the defeat of Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds), the herald of Darkseid (Ray Porter). Elsewhere, a deadly duo plots their revenge against a common enemy: the Batman.
In the Snyder Cut epilogue, criminal mastermind Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) escapes from Arkham Asylum after he's put there by Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Luthor deduced the secret identities of both Batman and Superman, manipulating them into battle before unleashing the Kryptonian-killing monster Doomsday.
Over a glass of Goût de Diamants aboard his yacht, Luthor meets with the masked mercenary Deathstroke, real name Slade Wilson, who has "volunteered to destroy the Bat free of charge." Asked to reveal his reason for the pro bono work, Wilson growls: "It's personal."
Noting Wilson's eye patch, Luthor quips: "Let me guess. An eye for an eye." Luthor said he has something Wilson wants, and he's here to collect.
"If you want the Batman," Luthor says, "here is something that can help you: his name is Bruce Wayne." Intrigued, Wilson takes a glass of luxury champagne. "On second thought… we do have something to celebrate."
In the version of Justice League completed by Joss Whedon and released into theaters in 2017, a post-credits scene plays out differently. Instead of conspiring with Deathstroke to destroy Batman, Luthor says the return of Superman and the emergence of the Justice League means they have to "level the playing field" with "a league of our own."
Zack Snyder's Justice League — the never-before-seen four-hour director's cut fulfilling the Man of Steel and Batman v Superman filmmaker's vision for his superhero ensemble — restores the Luthor and Deathstroke scene that queues up The Batman, the once planned Affleck-directed solo movie set in the DC Extended Universe.
After studio Warner Bros. retooled The Batman into a reboot set outside the DCEU — Robert Pattinson stars as a younger Dark Knight in the 2022 standalone film from director Matt Reeves — Manganiello described Affleck's version as "really cool, really dark, and really hard."
"It was a really dark story in which Deathstroke was like a shark or a horror movie villain that was dismantling Bruce's life from the inside out," Manganiello told Yahoo in 2020. "It was this systemic thing: He killed everyone close to Bruce and destroyed his life to try and make him suffer because he felt that Bruce was responsible for something that happened to him."
Snyder still hopes to see Batfleck versus Manganiello's Deathstroke, but the director believes the Snyder Cut is "all you're gonna get from Zack Snyder's DCEU." Along with The Batman, Manganiello was to reprise his Justice League role in a since-canceled Deathstroke movie from The Raid director Gareth Evans.
Zack Snyder's Justice League is now streaming on HBO Max.