In a post sure to enflame legions of Zack Snyder’s DCEU and Deathstroke alike, director and artist Jay Oliva has shared a bit of storyboard art from the abandoned Ben Affleck Batman solo film, showing the assassin Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke, brandishing a sword.
Oliva was a storyboard artist on Man of Steel and has worked on dozens of DC projects as a storyboard artist as well as directing many of DC’s animated films, including Justice League Dark, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, and Young Justice.
Oliva tweeted the image to actor Joe Manganiello who has been attached to the DCEU as Deathstroke/Wilson since his first and only brief appearance as the character in 2017’s Justice League (although he appeared in an extended sequence in Zack Snyder’s 2021 director’s cut of the movie). Oliva hashtagged the post #InternetNotReady.
The post was met with the now ubiquitous demand to restore Zack Snyder’s vision of the DCEU and accompanying #restorethesnyderverse hashtags. The dynamic picture, which undoubtedly shows Deathstroke menacing the Dark Knight in a showdown fans have anticipated for years, is acting like a lit cigarette on a patch of dry brush.
Oliva posts his storyboard panels to his Twitter page fairly often, but it generally highlights projects that have been completed. Affleck famously has walked away from the DCEU after being originally slated to write, direct, and star in The Batman, stating that he had lost passion for the project and telling AP News, “My tastes have changed. I’m interested in different kinds of movies.” Although The Batman was eventually made with actor Robert Pattinson and Matt Reeves directing, the standalone movie is not an official part of the DCEU in the way the original film was intended to be.
Given Affleck’s lack of interest, it’s unlikely fans will get to see “Batfleck” face down with Deathstroke — easily one of the most popular DC villains to never have made it to the big screen _ anytime soon, if ever. Although there have been the occasional rumors about the upcoming Flash movie providing an entrance for Affleck to re-enter the cinematic universe proper, it’s anybody’s guess what the future of that franchise is, given its star Ezra Miller’s bizarre and allegedly criminal behavior as late.
It is certainly a really cool pic, though, and a taste of what might have been.