Even with the lackluster critical response to Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and its follow up, Suicide Squad, anticipation is high for director Zack Snyder’s next vision for the DCEU, Justice League. The initial trailer, released this year at San Diego Comic-Con, garnered significant buzz on the internet for its look at the first team up between the titans of the DC universe as the DC cinematic series continues into its next stages.
The film reteams Ben Affleck’s Batman with Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman as the two begin the process of putting together a team of enhanced individuals to protect the citizens of Earth. First teased in Dawn of Justice, the film will also feature the first full appearances of Ezra Miller’s (Trainwreck) The Flash, Ray Fisher’s (The Astronaut Wives Club) Cyborg, and Jason Momoa’s (Game of Thrones) Aquaman in the epic crossover. Affleck previously teased that the villainous Deathstroke (now confirmed to be played by Joe Manganiello) is appearing in Justice League too - and now Snyder's also getting in on that fun.
Snyder tweeted out the following picture of himself wearing Batman’s gauntlet for his followers to pore over looking for details. While, at face value, the photo doesn’t appear to reveal much, it was quickly pointed out that the director was working on putting together a storyboard for the film that features Deathstroke. You can get a better look at that hidden gem, below:
— DC Extended Universe (@TheDCEU) September 29, 2016
Affleck set off an Internet fire when he revealed test footage of the famous assassin, on the Justice League set. An appearance by Deathstroke in Justice League is still technically unconfirmed, for the time. While it’s possible that Snyder is going over something related to Justice League that does not involve Deathstroke here, it seems more likely that the villain will be playing at least a small role in Snyder's upcoming film.
Deathstroke’s appearance would create a greater tie between Justice League and Affleck's upcoming Batman solo movie, helping to bridge any narrative gaps by setting up the future of the character in later works. It was recently projected by Warner Bros. Pictures that Affleck's own DCEU movie could be “18 months out,” so there might not be too long a break between Justice League and Affleck's Batman film either.
Creating that bridge could go a long way towards legitimizing some of the narrative choices DC and WB have made so far for their cinematic universe. Setting up an appearance from Deathstroke would not only inflame anticipation for the upcoming Batman film, but it allows the studio to establish a definitive through line which will connect the franchise in more tangible ways.
It’ll also allow fans a chance to see Manganiello in action, which would be a smart move to make considering the popularity of the character and the shoes the actor has to fill. Deathstroke was featured in a critically acclaimed and fan-adored arc on The CW’s Arrow played by actor Manu Bennett. Bennett certainly sets a high standard for Manganiello to meet when he makes his debut, but he seems more than capable of living up to expectations.
At any rate, it seems now that we’ll know for certain when Justice League premieres next year. While far from an official confirmation, Snyder is known for teasing fans before official announcements are made, and the photo revealed today is certainly in line with his history. We’ll keep our ears to the ground for more news about Justice League and Deathstroke and will keep you updated as more information becomes available.
Suicide Squad is now playing in theaters. Wonder Woman opens in theaters on June 2, 2017, followed by Justice League on November 17, 2017; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020. The Flash, The Batman solo movie, Dark Universe and Man of Steel 2 are currently without a release dates.
Source: Zack Snyder