Joe Manganiello has always been a popular fancast for the part of Deathstroke, but it seems he was actually cast for the role after DC Film's Jon Berg googled the character and saw fanart. That led to Manganiello being offered the role in Justice League.
The nascent DCEU has had a lot of missteps, but the casting of Joe Manganiello was one of the smartest decisions to date. Countless fancasts have long pushed for Manganiello to take on the role, and some fan artists - including the renowned BossLogic - have even created fanart showing Manganiello in the role.
That fanart may have subtly changed the shape of the DC Extended Universe. Speaking at Melbourne's Oz Comic-Con, Manganiello revealed that Geoff Johns and Ben Affleck were working on the script for The Batman, and wanted to introduce Deathstroke at the end of Justice League as setup. Jon Berg googled the character, and saw BossLogic's fanart showing Manganiello in the role. Impressed with the idea, DC actually approached Manganiello for the part. Needless to say, BossLogic was absolutely delighted, and posted an excited response on Instagram.
Unfortunately, as popular as this cast choice may be, Deathstroke's future in the DCEU is currently unclear. Shooting on The Batman was expected to begin in early 2017, but Affleck stepped down as both writer and director of the film in January of that year. Matt Reeves took over, and since then there have been reports that the script is being heavily rewritten. It's unclear whether or not Deathstroke will actually be part of The Batman after all, which would be a tremendously disappointing turn of events.
At the same time, though, it's possible Deathstroke could actually turn up in some sort of Justice League sequel. The end of Justice League clearly teased the creation of the so-called "Legion of Doom." In the comics, the Legion of Doom is essentially the supervillain answer to the Justice League, a team-up of some of the DC Universe's most notable evildoers. Justice League set both Lex Luthor and Deathstroke in place to become founding member of the DCEU's Legion of Doom. It's also highly likely that the Joker would become a part of this team as well.
This is hardly a sure thing, though, given Justice League hardly proved to be a resounding triumph for Warner Bros. The film earned a harsh critical response, performed poorly at the box office, and has divided the fans. Conversation around Justice League remains centered on the differences between Zack Snyder's and Joss Whedon's visions of the film. This was an inspired casting choice, but the sad truth is that we have no way of knowing when and if Manganiello will reprise the role.
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