Joe Manganiello is ideally cast as the DCEU’s Deathstroke, with the hulking actor’s sheer size and grizzled charisma perfectly suited for Slade Wilson. However, you could make the argument that nobody to have ever joined the franchise since its inception eight years ago has suffered as much misfortune as he has.
Fans were hyped when he debuted during the post-credits scene of Joss Whedon’s Justice League, even if the rest of the movie was a damp squib. He was set for a major role in Zack Snyder’s Justice League Part 2, landed the role of primary antagonist in Ben Affleck’s The Batman in what would have been a psychological superhero riff on David Fincher’s The Game, and was getting a mid budget solo outing that would’ve marked the Hollywood directorial debut of The Raid‘s action maestro Gareth Evans.
Precisely none of that happened, and even though he made a brief return in the epilogue of HBO Max’s Justice League, the jury is still very much out on whether that’ll lead to something more substantial in the future. Continuing his run of bad luck, Manganiello also revealed he’d cleared his schedule after being told he was part of The Suicide Squad, only for him to be jettisoned from the script when James Gunn came on board.
As you can see in the images below, it’s been revealed in behind the scenes documentary The Suicide Squad: The Way of the Gunn that Deathstroke was still part of Gunn’s vision during the storyboarding process.
It looks as though a straight swap was made with Bloodsport in for Deathstroke, continuing Manganiello’s rotten run of DCEU luck for just that little bit longer.