Well, that didn’t take long. After Ben Affleck took to social media to reveal that iconic DC Comics villain Deathstroke would be joinin the DC movie universe, the new (official) head of all things DC has arrived to confirm not only his introduction, but who will be playing him. Fans will still need to wonder if Deathstroke the Terminator will be appearing in a small role in Justice League, or if a rumored role as the main adversary in Ben Affleck’s solo Batman movie, but DC Films boss Geoff Johns himself has now spilled most of the beans.
Deathstroke WILL be appearing in the solo Batman movie being developed by Affleck with Johns – and he’ll be played by actor Joe Manganiello (True Blood) when he does.
That report comes courtesy of The Wall Street Journal, who state that the casting has been confirmed by Johns in his first interview discussing the recent, quietly-made promotion of the DC Creative Officer to overseer of Warner Bros’ newly-distinguished DC Films division (formalizing a position largely held in an unofficial capacity, thereby granting a bit more authority – or so fans hope). The outlet doesn’t provide a direct quote from Johns, but states their information plainly: Johns confirms the casting once rumored for David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, but is keeping quiet on whether or not fans can expect to see Manganiello’s Deathstroke in Zack Snyder’s Justice League first.
The rumors suggesting that Manganiello had been brought back into the fold of the DCEU as Slade Wilson a.k.a. Deathstroke the Terminator began to fly not long after Affleck released footage of Deathstroke on the Justice Leagueset. While the evidence seemed either persuasive or total coincidence – Manganiello visiting London while Justice League was filmed not far away, the actor having recently followed Snyder on Twitter, etc. – the smoke has led to fire. And more than ever, it seems Affleck is putting that “executive producer” credit to work in linking Snyder’s Justice League with his own vision (and villains) for a standalone Batman story.
Previous rumors had also suggested that the Batman film could be pulling in a few familiar faces from the DCEU, primarily the Suicide Squad, pittingBatman and Will Smith’s ‘Deadshot’ against Jared Leto’s ‘Joker’ in a bargain. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to replace that role with Deathstroke, or even add him into the plot on either side of the conflict (he’s a contract killer, after all). And while Suicide Squad was nothing if not divisive, the prospect of Ben Affleck directing Leto, Smith, and Manganiello in a tough-as-nails detective story is something worth paying attention to.
Thankfully for fans, we already have one idea of what Manganiello could look like in the role, and a few of our own theories on how he could be worked into Justice League‘s plot, should Johns still be holding some amazing cards close to his chest. So the only things left to debate are: is Manganiello – a popular fan pick, though not on everyone‘s list – the right man for the job? And perhaps the question sure to linger even longer: what does this mean for the story of Ben Affleck’s Batman film?