Although Joe Manganiello is the only actor to play Slade Wilson, a.k.a. Deathstroke, in a live-action movie, he hasn’t gotten a lot of screen time as the character. Regardless of which version of Justice League you’re watching, his role in the superhero team-up tale is basically a cameo, and plan to feature him as The Batman’s main antagonist obviously fell through when the project was turned into a reboot. Well, nine months after the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League on HBO Max, Manganiello has delivered a blunt response about if we’ll see more of him as Deathstroke.
There was a time when a Joe Manganiello-led Deathstroke movie was in development for the DC Extended Universe, and because of his slightly-expanded role in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, fans suggested that the project be reworked into an HBO Max exclusive offering. However, when ComingSoon asked Manganiello if he was optimistic about getting to portray Deathstroke more in-depth down the line, the actor responded:
Well that’s a shame; as Joe Manganiello sees it, it’s unlikely he’ll ever reprise Deathstroke. That’s a shame, because although he looked badass as the one-eyed mercenary, we never actually got to see the character in action. At least actors like Manu Bennett and Esai Morales were able to show why Deathstroke is such a formidable villain during their respective runs on Arrow and Titans.
Still, given how the DCEU continues to move away from the vision filmmaker Zack Snyder built in Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and his version of Justice League, this isn’t terribly surprising. Still, I doubt I’m alone in having hoped that like with Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman and Ezra Miller’s Flash, the DC Films division would have found a way to keep Joe Manganiello around as Deathstroke. Evidently though, no one’s contacted him about playing the role again, so Manganiello’s made peace with the fact that his time as the character is likely done.
Following the main events of Justice League, Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke meets Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor aboard the latter’s yacht after he escapes from Arkham Asylum. In the theatrical cut, Luthor tries to recruit Slade Wilson into his own league to combat the Justice League, while in Zack Snyder’s version, Luthor reveals to Slade that Bruce Wayne is Batman. Had Ben Affleck’s version of The Batman moved forward, we would have learned about why Slade had beef with the Dark Knight and seen him slowly dismantle the superhero’s life. Zack Snyder’s Justice League also showed Deathstroke as one of Batman’s allies in the Knightmare future.
When the Deathstroke movie was initially conceived, the plan was for The Raid’s Gareth Evans to direct it. However, by 2020, Evans said he was no longer involved with the project, and Joe Manganiello revealed in March that there have been around “seven different Deathstroke projects” that have been cancelled. If news comes in about DC and Warner Bros deciding to revive the Deathstroke movie, whether it’s with Joe Manganiello or a different actor, we here at CinemaBlend will let you know.
For now, Joe Manganiello’s latest movie, The Spine of the Night, is now playing, and his upcoming TV endeavors include Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas and Moonhaven. Look through our upcoming DC Comics movies guide to learn what this superhero franchise is lining up for the coming years.
Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.
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