Matt Reeves’ The Batman is obviously turning out to be great. But one of the biggest missed opportunities with Batman has been Ben Affleck’s abandoned solo movie. Keeping the Justice League controversies aside, people absolutely adored Affleck as the Caped Crusader. For the first time, we got a big, brawling comic accurate Dark Knight. And, he was going to take on Deathstroke in his own solo outing. Sadly, Affleck couldn’t finish his script, and the project fell apart.
Joe Manganiello was supposed to reprise his role as Slade Wilson in the Batfleck project. He stated in the past that Affleck’s script was the best Batman narrative he ever read. Now, he has revealed some cool new details about the abandoned Batfleck movie that the fans are hoping to revive on HBO Max. While promoting his new and coming film, Archenemy, he spoke to Yahoo Entertainment about The Batman.
Referring to David Fincher’s 1997 cult favorite, he said that “There were similarities to The Game.” In the film, Michael Douglas played Nicholas Van Orton, who lost everything overnight after receiving a voucher for a certain game. This so called “game” was orchestrated by a shadowy organization that had Orton falling into all sorts of trouble.
Similar to this plot, Deathstroke would have made Bruce Wayne suffer big time. He was going to systematically destroy his public figure persona as one of Gotham’s elites, and his private crime fighting existence as the Dark Knight. The film was supposed to be very dark and personal due to the history that Batman and Deathstroke share.
Manganiello continued to say that “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.”
This is the kind of story that would have put even Alfred in grave danger. Besides The Game, a few similarities were also being drawn from Frank Miller’s classic run on Marvel’s Daredevil, called “Born Again.” Clearly, Bruce Wayne would’ve been beaten and lonely. He would have had to get back on his own two feet against Slade Wilson’s villainy!
Manganiello further revealed that he was really excited for The Batman, and so was Snyder. The original Justice League post credits scene between Deathstroke and Lex Luthor would have set up the solo Batfleck movie, instead of the so called “Injustice League.” A lot changed for Deathstroke over the last four years or so. Manganiello iterated, “There were maybe seven different Deathstroke projects that all didn’t happen over the course of four years.”
Besides his arc in the Batfleck project, Manganiello was supposed to feature in Deathstroke’s solo origin movie. “We landed on an origin story that everyone I’ve ever pitched it to has gone crazy for,” the actor said. Hopefully, Zack Snyder’s Justice League will lead a resurgence, and we will end up getting Ben Affleck’s solo Batman project on HBO Max, a Justice League sequel, and even this Deathstroke movie that was supposed to be directed by The Raid director, Gareth Evans.