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 he 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 the evidence pointing to the villain being given the boot continues to mount.
This time, it comes from Arrow showrunner Marc Guggenheim, who revealed that the reason Deathstroke is able to have an increased presence in the upcoming sixth season of the hit CW show is because apparently, DC doesn’t need him in their films anymore.
“It was actually a function of… DC controls these characters, and we went through a period where DC was like, ‘We’ve got plans for Deathstroke that don’t involve Arrow.’ That changed at the end of the year, though.”
While Guggenheim doesn’t explicitly say that the character has been cut from the DC Extended Universe, it’s not too difficult to read between the lines here. Especially not when you factor in all the other reports we’ve been hearing lately, which all point to the same thing: Deathstroke being removed from not only The Batman, but Justice League, too.
Of course, there’s no confirmation on the matter just yet, but the actor is so perfect for the role and has put so much preparation into it that WB would be foolish to not include him in a future entry in the DCEU. Either put him in Chris McKay’s Nightwing movie or, perhaps, in Suicide Squad 2. You have to admit that a possible rivalry between him and Will Smith’s Deadshot would make for one heck of a viewing experience, right?