The Batman is a project that has struggled to escape the spotlight ever since it was tentatively announced in the aftermath of last year’s Dawn of Justice.
In that time, Ben Affleck ceded directing control to Matt Reeves (War For the Planet of the Apes), who ordered a page-one rewrite of the script as Reeves set about placing his own stamp on the Caped Crusader’s next solo outing. But before the changeover occurred, and Affleck was still in the director’s chair, the Oscar-winning filmmaker released an all-too-brief reel of footage featuring Joe Manganiello as Deathstroke, the fan-favorite mercenary otherwise known as Slade Joseph Wilson, who was seemingly all set to become the film’s primary antagonist. How times change.
Since Matt Reeves climbed on board, the director’s decision to completely overhaul The Batman‘s screenplay naturally cast doubt over Manganiello’s involvement, as many believe Reeves and Co. have selected another villain from the Dark Knight’s world-famous rogues gallery (Penguin, perhaps?) and kicked Affleck’s initial story to the curb. As things stand, Warner Bros. is yet to deliver an official answer to that question, but when The Hollywood Reporter presented the situation to Joe Manganiello in a recent interview, the actor stated, “it’s not up to me. That’s a good question for Warner Bros. and D.C.”
Manganiello’s response doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, and only raises more question marks over Deathstroke’s involvement in the spinoff- or lack thereof. Chances are Warner Bros. will wait until the cameras are rolling in 2018 before making an official announcement, so until then, expect the rumor mill to operate at full tilt.
The Hollywood Reporter: I think a lot of people are wondering what the status of Deathstroke is in the next Batman movie now that Ben Affleck is off the project as director. Do you have any information about that?
Joe Manganiello: I don’t. Well, I do but nothing that I can share. I know everything but I can’t say any of it.
THR: Was that imparted in a happy way or a downtrodden way? I’m trying to interpret the fluctuations in your tone.
JM: [Pause.] I’m shooting for a neutral tone.
THR: You’re succeeding.
THR: Any idea when we’ll find out?
JM: It’s not up to me. That’s a good question for Warner Bros. and D.C.
After reaffirming his commitment to the DC Extended Universe, when it comes to The Batman, Ben Affleck seems to be in it for the long haul. He’ll next don the cape and cowl for Justice League on November 17th, which is currently undergoing extensive reshoots across parts of England.