When the Batman movie was initially announced, not only was the plan initially for Ben Affleck to direct on top of suiting up as Batman, but he was also co-writing the script with DC Entertainment president Geoff Johns. However, with War for the Planet of the Apes' Matt Reeves now in the director's chair, many have been wondering how much of the existing story material would be kept. Well, it turns out that Reeves is starting from scratch in that department, and we can't help but wonder if this is bad news for Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke. When asked if he was using any of Affleck and Johns' script for the Batman movie, Reeves said:
No, it's a new story. It's just starting again. I'm excited about it. I think it's going to be really cool.
It was reported back in March that the Batman movie script would be re-written entirely, and Matt Reeves confirmed as much while appearing on MTV's Happy Sad Confused podcast. The director didn't elaborate on what this means for Deathstroke, but it certainly doesn't bode well. Joe Manganiello was cast as Slade Wilson last fall, and when Affleck was leading the charge, the mercenary was intended to be the lead antagonist. Depending on what kind of story Reeves crafts, it's possible there might still be room for Manganiello to appear as Deathstroke, but if Reeves is keen on using other Batman villains, then they will obviously take priority over the one-eyed assassin. Reeves also mentioned that he hasn't begun any work on casting yet because he's been focused on War for the Planet of the Apes, so it will presumably be a while until we learn what new characters will be featured in the Batman movie, be they good or bad.
Deathstroke has been a DC Comics heavy hitter since 1980, and in recent years he's enjoyed popularity on Arrow, where he's played by Spartacus' Manu Bennett. Including Deathstroke in the Batman movie would be the best way to introduce him to audiences who don't check out comics media, and his feud with the Caped Crusader would make a compelling story. Matt Reeves has also expressed interest in telling a "noir-drive" detective tale, and Deathstroke could certainly fill the role of killer (or at least one of the killers) quite nicely. Nevertheless, in the end, it's now up to Reeves to decide which villain is best suited for the kind of Batman movie he wants to deliver to the public, whether it's someone already established in the DCEU (like Joker), someone who hasn't appeared in a movie in a long time (like Penguin) or someone who hasn't been adapted for the big screen yet (like Hush).
While we wait for more word on what's in store for Matt Reeves' Batman movie, you can see Bruce Wayne back on the big screen both in and out of costume when Justice League comes out on November 17.