Justice League’s Joe Manganiello Clarifies Original Plans For Deathstroke

Joe Manganiello in the Knightmare scene

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As far as superhero projects go, none have had an unprecedented life like Zack Snyder's Justice League. The titular director's vision was finally revealed on HBO Max last week, with a ton of new footage including the Knightmare sequence. Joe Manganiello got to appear as Deathstroke, and the Magic Mike actor recently explained the original plans for his DC villain.

Joe Manganiello made his DCEU debut in the post-credits scene of Justice League's theatrical cut. This was made to set up his future in the franchise, which never came to fruition. And it turns out that he didn't expect to show up in Justice League when it hit theaters back in 2017 theatrical cut. The True Blood alum explained the progression for his role, saying,

A lot of people don't realize I actually wasn't technically a part of the original Justice League. I was cast in Ben Affleck's Batman to play the villain, and we shot a scene to tease our mashup that was going to appear at the end of the film.

It all makes more sense now. Deathstroke was never mentioned or seen before he showed up to speak with Lex Luthor in Justice League. And this is because rather than setting up the events of Justice League 2, his cameo was actually meant to be a connection to Ben Affleck's Batman movie. Of course, we all know what happened to that title.

Joe Manganiello's comments to ET help to show what a unique tenure in the DCEU the hulking actor has had. A number of potential Deathstroke projects have popped up throughout the years, but Manganiello has yet to really take the spotlight as the Batman villain. This includes Ben Affleck's scrapped movie, as well as his own solo flick. But now he's back thanks to the Snyder Cut.

Zack Snyder's Justice League is available exclusively on HBO Max. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.

Later in his same interview, Joe Manganiello went on to explain why he was so surprised to even show up in Justice League's theatrical cut. Despite filming his scene with Jesse Eisenberg, he wasn't cued into his inclusion until late in the game. As Slade Wilson himself put it,

And two weeks before Justice League came out theatrically, I got a call from one of the executives who said, 'Oh by the way, we re-tooled the scene, and it's back in at the end to advertise a Justice League 2 movie.’ I said, like, 'You could have told me...'

Well, that's one way of finding out that you're going to be in a giant blockbuster. Fans were indeed thrilled to see Joe Manganiello wearing Deathstroke's iconic costume and eye patch, as Lex Luthor teased the villains creating a league of their own. But it seems that things were a bit last minute on the studio's part. And given how much Justice League was being altered from Zack Snyder's original vision, this makes a great deal of sense.

While Deathstroke's future in the DCEU remains unclear, Joe Manganiello got to step back into his boots for The Snyder Cut's reshoots. Zack Snyder added a new Knightmare sequence, showing a bleak alternative future where villains and heroes have been forced to unite. For his part Manganiello seemed to love returning, but it's unclear if Warner Bros. is planning on bringing Deathstroke into future projects. We'll just have to keep our fingers crossed, because who doesn't love that sweet mohawk?

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.