The theatrical cut of Justice League ended with a tantalizing teaser. Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor had escaped prison and was lounging on a yacht. A mysterious armored figure approached, revealing themselves to be fan-favorite DC villain Deathstroke as played by Joe Manganiello. Luthor offered proof of Batman’s secret identity and the pair celebrated, hinting at a future DCEU movie in which Affleck’s Batman squared off against the master assassin.
The humiliating failure of Joss Whedon’s Justice League meant that movie never happened, though Zack Snyder brought Manganiello back for the post-apocalyptic ‘Knightmare’ coda at the end of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. But with that film now receding into the distance and Warner Bros. clearly having little to no interest in working with the remains of Snyder’s DCEU story, are we ever going to see Deathstroke in action?
Fans on r/DCEU are discussing the chances, though the general tone is skepticism. Only the most ardent fans still hold out hope Snyder will get to conclude his ‘Knightmare’ story, as all comments from him and Warner Bros indicate their professional relationship is over.
But there is a ray of light on the horizon in the form of James Gunn. The Guardians of the Galaxy director reportedly wanted Manganiello’s Deathstroke to appear in The Suicide Squad, with the character appearing in concept art showing him leading Peacemaker, King Shark, Polka-Dot Man, and Ratcatcher II into battle.
With Warner Bros apparently pleased with Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, the door should be open for a sequel. Other options might be Deathstroke appearing in the long-delayed (but still theoretically coming) Nightwing movie, or perhaps in a Batgirl sequel.
But however Deathstroke comes back, we hope they keep Manganiello in the part. He was obviously excited to play the character, and it’s cruel to restrict his time in the armor to a few quick cameos.