The Dark Knight has arguably the best villains in all of comics -- DC or otherwise. From The Joker to Clayface, there's a bad guy for just about every taste and preference. Despite that fact, Ben Affleck has decided to use Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke -- a character with a rich history outside of the Batman mythos -- to headline The Batman as the film's big bad. According to the director, there's a very important reason for that creative decision. Affleck explained:
I just had an instinctive feeling that he would match up with [Batman] well. You know, I'm a big admirer of that character as well, especially in the New 52, the way that they did Deathstroke, and I thought that it could work.
Ben Affleck recently spoke to Collider while promoting the upcoming release of his new movie, The Accountant, and explained his rationale for bringing Deathstroke into the fold for The Batman. During this conversation, he went on to admit that he has a personal affinity for the character, and thinks that Slade Wilson makes a perfect pairing as an antagonist against the DCEU's Bruce Wayne. In particular, he noted that he's quite fond of the New 52 incarnation of Deathstroke, and he believes that particular take on the legendary DC mercenary will make a perfect story -- although he didn't provide much concrete information on the actual narrative.
Knowing that the New 52 version of Deathstroke will make an appearance in The Batman goes a long way towards establishing the type of Slade Wilson that we will see in the film. Overall, the Slade Wilson we meet in the New 52 run is an older, more experienced Deathstroke -- which lines up with the older, more experienced Batman. This seems to indicate an impending battle between two cynical warriors whose best days have come and gone.
The New 52 also features Deathstroke as a member of several teams, such as Amanda Waller's Team 7, which could potentially indicate that the mid-credits sequence of Suicide Squad will have much bigger consequences on The Batman than we thought. Could Amanda Waller be the one pulling the strings behind the scenes in The Batman? We will have to wait and see.
It's not surprising to learn that Ben Affleck is going to adapt the New 52 version of Deathstroke in The Batman, as the DCEU has gravitated towards that line of comics quite a bit. Everything from Cyborg's origin, to the imminent threat of Darkseid and Steppenwolf's force from Apokolips seems ripped straight from the Justice League: Origins storyline that kicked off the New 52 in 2011. Additionally, most of the animated DC films that have come out in recent years have taken ample inspiration from several iconic New 52 story arcs; Warner Bros. clearly has a vested interest in embracing this line of comics for the foreseeable future.
We will bring you more information related to The Batman as new details become available to us. The solo Batman film does not have an official release date yet.