Justice League director Zack Snyder "would love" to see Ben Affleck make his planned Batman movie pitting the Dark Knight against the assassin Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello). After signing on to play a rebooted Bruce Wayne in Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Affleck attached himself to direct and star in a standalone movie co-written by Geoff Johns tentatively titled The Batman. Once planned for a spring 2017 shooting start, Affleck's Batman lost the Argo filmmaker as its director in January of that year. When Matt Reeves signed on as Affleck's replacement and the actor announced his departure from the role, The Batman was retooled as a reboot starring Robert Pattinson as a younger caped crusader.
"Look, I would love for Ben to make that Deathstroke movie. That would be amazing," Snyder told John Doe Movie Reviews. "I don't know that he's going to, or that they [studio Warner Bros.] want him to, but I would love for him to do it. That would be so cool. And Joe is amazing."
Manganiello, who returned for additional photography on the director's cut of Zack Snyder's Justice League coming to HBO Max in March 2021, recently revealed Affleck's never-made Batman movie would have been "really dark."
"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! Entertainment. "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."
Comparing Affleck's Batman to the "Born Again" storyline from Frank Miller's Daredevil, Manganiello added, "It was really cool, really dark, and really hard. I was very excited for it."
After his debut appearance in a post-credits scene ending the version of Justice League released into theaters in 2017 — in it, Slade Wilson meets with Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) — Manganiello was set to star in a since-canceled Deathstroke spinoff that saw a treatment from The Raid director Gareth Evans.
"I worked with an Oscar-nominated writer on that treatment, and it was one of those projects that got canceled during that period," he told Yahoo. "There were maybe seven different Deathstroke projects that all didn't happen over the course of four years. It's one of those funny things in Hollywood and in life where you've just got to let it go."
The Reeves-directed The Batman is set outside of the DC Extended Universe and opens in theaters on March 4, 2022. Affleck reprises his role as the DCEU Batman in Andy Muschietti's The Flash, releasing November 4 of that same year, opposite two-time Batman star Michael Keaton and Justice League's Ezra Miller.