Deathstroke, Joe Manganiello, Batman, Ben Affleck

Once upon a time, Ben Affleck was not only slated to star in THE BATMAN, but co-write and direct the film as well, but alas, it was not to be. The actor wound up stepping down from the role and the project was taken over by Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes) with Robert Pattinson (Tenet) playing the Dark Knight. We may never know exactly what Ben Affleck had in mind for his version of the film, but thanks to Joe Manganiello (Justice League), we now have a few details.

Joe Manganiello appeared in Justice League as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke, and at the time, the intention was that he would go on to be the main villain in Ben Affleck’s Batman movie. While speaking with Yahoo! about his upcoming film Archenemy, Joe Manganiello teased that the film would have had a strong David Fincher vibe. “There were similarities to The Game,” Manganiello said, adding that the original pitch would have found Deathstroke systematically destroying Bruce Wayne’s life piece by piece. “It was a really dark story in which Deathstroke was like a shark or a horror movie villain that was dismantling Bruce’s life from the inside out. It was this systemic thing: He killed everyone close to Bruce and destroyed his life to try and make him suffer because he felt that Bruce was responsible for something that happened to him.” Joe Manganiello also said that Zack Snyder’s original post-credit scene for Justice League was put in place to set up The Batman, with Deathstroke discussing with Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) what to do with the Dark Knight. When Joss Whedon was brought onboard, the scene was reworked to set up Justice League 2 instead.

They reshot all of Jesse’s dialogue to tease Justice League Part 2, which was going to be about the Injustice League. All of that dialogue was about Batman originally, and it was changed to lines like ‘Shouldn’t we have a league of our own?’

The original post-credit scene is expected to be restored for Zack Snyder’s Justice League, and Joe Manganiello actually returned to shoot new footage. “Zack called me one day and asked, ‘How’d you like to do it again?’” Manganiello said. “So I said, ‘Sure, man, I’ll be there.’ And he told me, ‘OK, we’re getting your armor out of storage in England, and we’re going to fly it over here. Is there anything you want to do differently?’” One new element that Manganiello brought to the reshoots was Deathstroke’s bad-ass mohawk. “The greatest warriors are the ones who walk into battle already dead or assuming that they’re going to die,” Manganiello explained. “They’re looking for someone who could actually kill them. There’s almost an excitement around that, like ‘Is today going to be the day?’ So there was a climatic moment in my standalone story where I wanted Slade to shave his head into this war-like Mohawk knowing that he was going off to his own death. I said to Zack, ‘I always envisioned him with a big white Mohawk,’ and he was totally down for it.” Zack Snyder’s Justice League will debut on HBO Max next year, with The Batman slated to hit theaters on March 4, 2022.

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