In an unexpected twist, Warner Bros. has decided to move forward with plans for a Deathstroke film as a part of the DCEU. This, of course, follows reports that Joe Manganiello was cast in the role. The character allegedly would have had a part in Ben Affleck’s solo Batman film. However, after Affleck stepped down as director, a number of creative elements of the film changed. With those changes came the question of whether Deathstroke was still involved. That question is still out there, but now we at least have information on this new project. So fans of the character will likely be sated, either way.
One of the rumors surrounding Affleck’s solo Batman film is that the movie was looking to have more of an emphasis on the detective element of the character. One could understand, then, if Deathstroke was written out in favor of a more cerebral or psychological villain. The Riddler could fit such a role very easily, while not sacrificing the more grounded approach that the DCEU favors. However, Batman has an enormous rogues gallery to choose from. Deathstroke, by comparison, is much more of a physical match to Batman. While he’s certainly intelligent and cunning, he’s far from enigmatic, and his involvement doesn’t tend to mean a lot of detective work is ahead. He’s also not strictly a Batman villain and is more associated with the Teen Titans. Though he and Batman have clashed on many an occasion. Especially considering Deathstroke’s relation to one of Batman’s former wards.
A solo Deathstroke film is clearly a move that takes the characters more recent resurgence in mind. Since the New52, he’s taken on a role far more akin to that of an antihero. In fact, he’s had multiple solo titles, in that time. He’s a mercenary and has a code of honor. That said, if he does appear in a Batman film, there’s always the possibility he could escape, should he be defeated. Thus his appearance in the film wouldn’t need to compromise much. Either way, a solo Deathstroke film has potential to be a solid addition to the DCEU.
One should also consider the popularity of another recent movie that may have somehow helped this decision – Deadpool. It’s no secret that Deadpool is a parody of Deathstroke, and characters like him. With Deadpool having yielded one of the most successful “superhero” movies of the past few years, a Deathstroke film was almost inevitable. So, of course, there’s the desire to show people what the original can do.
Reports suggest that Manganiello is still locked in for the part. Meanwhile, Gareth Evans (The Raid) is in talks to write and direct the film. However, nothing has been confirmed, as of yet.