Joe Manganiello Says Ben Affleck’s The Batman Was Going To Be Really Dark

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When The Batman finally arrives in March 2022 with Matt Reeves directing and Robert Pattinson under the cape and cowl, almost eight years will have passed since the movie was first announced, and the finished product is going to be completely unrecognizable from how the Dark Knight’s latest solo adventure was originally envisioned. After all, when the project first entered development, Ben Affleck was still Warner Bros.’ one and only Caped Crusader, but by the time Reeves’ version hits theaters, he’ll be one of three alongside Pattinson and Michael Keaton.

We know that the two-time Academy Award winner was set to be handed a level of creative control that no actor in a major comic book blockbuster had ever been given before, though, after being tasked to direct, co-write, star and executive produce the movie. And Joe Manganiello was drafted in as villain Deathstroke to build on his post-credits cameo in Justice League, a stinger that ultimately went nowhere for years until he was welcomed back for Zack Snyder’s recent batch of reshoots.

Now, in a new interview, the 43 year-old has revealed some tantalizing tidbits about where the story of The Batman was headed, explaining the following:

“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. 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. It was really cool, really dark, and really hard. I was very excited for it.”

Of course, since Affleck and Manganiello have both returned to the fold, rumors have constantly been swirling that the original plans for The Batman might yet end up coming to fruition, especially with Warner Bros. hedging their bets on both HBO Max’s ability to draw in millions of new subscribers and the DCEU’s multiverse in a big way. Fans would love to see it, no doubt, and Affleck certainly deserves the opportunity to show what he could bring to a solo Dark Knight movie, but for now, nothing’s been confirmed yet.