Despite being the breakout star of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Ben Affleck’s Batman has had a difficult time getting his solo movie off the ground. Part of the trouble is directly connected to Affleck’s dwindling role with The Batman in total. At first he was scheduled to not only star, but also write, direct, and produce – quite the task for one man to take on. Since then, he has stepped away from directing duties and previously handed off scripting duties to Chris Terrio.
With Matt Reeves now directing the picture, he has reportedly ordered a page one rewrite of the script. This has left all previous reported plot points and character statuses up in the air, but many still assumed that Joe Manganiello would stick around as the villain, Deathstroke. He has been a constant source of positivity for the project, but now he isn’t sure he’ll be making an appearance.
While speaking to Pittsburgh Today Live (via Batman-News), the interviewers asked Manganiello about his status with the film. When asked if it was true he would be appearing in The Batman as Deathstroke, he simply (and surprisingly) said after throwing his hands in the air, “Umm. Maybe. We’ll see.”
This is a drastic change in tone for Manganiello who previously has stated that he’ll be involved whenever the project is ready to go and he’s continuing to train for the part. It seems unlikely that the timing of this change so soon after the recent reports of Reeves’ desire to implement his ideas into the script is by accident; it was Affleck and Geoff Johns who wanted Deathstroke to be the villain this time around, but Reeves may have other villains in mind. Then again, he could also find a role for Deathstroke in his story if WB pushes him to do so, just maybe not as the main bad guy.
Even if Manganiello does not make an appearance as Deathstroke in The Batman, it would be rather shocking for him never to bring the character to life on the big screen. He has already gone through costume tests, leading to speculation he could appear in Justice League, although WB also wanted him for Suicide Squad originally. If Deathstroke is kicked out of The Batman, the studio will surely find a spot for him in one of their countless other films being developed. Possible appearances in Suicide Squad 2, Gotham City Sirens, or even some amalgamation of The Flash and Cyborg becoming a Titans film could all work.
The current unknown status of Deathstroke in The Batman could stay this way for some time as Reeves is not expected to begin working on the film until later this year. Hopefully for the sake of Deathstroke fans and Manganiello – who has been extremely excited to bring the character to life – the killer will make his big screen debut sooner rather than later.