Zack Snyder’s Justice League is proof that Warner Bros. wasted a lot of great potential. Everyone who has got the opportunity to watch the film by now has nothing but praises for it. And, one of the elements that they are admiring is Deathstroke. Even though Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke doesn’t play a huge role in the film, he is still a perfectly cast missed opportunity for Warner Bros. There were multiple projects involving Deathstroke which were under development. But, all of them were canceled. In the words of Joe Manganiello, “There were maybe seven different Deathstroke projects that all didn’t happen over the course of four years.” Let’s take a look at every canceled Deathstroke project that we know of:
It is known that before Matt Reeves got control over The Batman, Ben Affleck was developing a solo Batman movie with Deathstroke as its villain. A while back, Manganiello revealed his arc in the film. He said: “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.”
Due to Zack Snyder’s departure, the ongoing drama on the Justice League set, and his own personal battle with alcoholism, Affleck couldn’t complete The Batman script. He lost interest in the project and Warner Bros. started looking at new options for the project. We were all so bummed about the cancellation of this one in particular because it would have involved an Arkham Origins-style fight sequence between Batsy and Slade. Now, we’re hoping that HBO Max would revive it after Justice League‘s success!
The Deathstroke Solo
Warner Bros. was also developing a solo Deathstroke origin story with director Gareth Evans. “We landed on an origin story that everyone I’ve ever pitched it to has gone crazy for,” Manganiello said a while ago. Sadly, this project was also canceled once the Snyderverse was killed by the Josstice League. THR recently reported that the project was axed when executive changes took place at Warner Bros., and Manganiello said: “When the dust settled, it was not seen as a priority to make a 40 million movie about a villain origin story in which you show the backstory.”
Suicide Squad 2
Before James Gunn came on board with his own new vision, multiple other directors were pitching different storylines. And apparently, most of them involved Deathstroke. Joe Manganiello recently spoke about it on the Happy Sad Confused podcast:
There were like four or five different versions of Suicide Squad 2 that I was put on hold for, for dates, waiting for one actor to free up and we were gonna go. And like that happened four or five times and never came to fruition…There was a Zak Penn script, then there was a Gavin [O’Connor] version. There was a with Will Smith, without Will Smith, there was just me and Will Smith. It just went on and on.
Just imagine what we could have got with both Deathstroke and Deadshot in one movie! It’s too bad that all this great potential was wasted.
The post-credits scene of the Justice League movie had potentially set up an Injustice League project. But as we know, that film also did not happen either. Apparently, every project that Manganiello’s Deathstroke was supposed to be a part of was axed.
Justice League 2 & 3 (Possibly)
Zack Snyder recently revealed a bunch of storyboards for his Justice League sequels. In those Storyboards, Batman and Deadshot were supposed to team up in the Knightmare future. But, instead of Deadshot, Snyder has recently added Deathstroke and Joker to the Knightmare sequence of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. So, this proves Deathstroke will supposedly be a part of Justice League 2 and 3’s post-apocalyptic future if these films were to happen. But since Warner Bros. has no interest in continuing Snyder’s vision, we have to hold Justice League 2 as “Cancelled” for now.
Joe Manganiello is still hoping to return as Deathstroke in future DC projects. And I really hope that this turns out to be the case. But first, we’ll have to wait and see the reception of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. That will ensure the future of Deathstroke, and everything else that Snyder established in the DCEU.