The theatrical version of Justice League introduced Deathstroke to the big screen, with the villain due to later appear in Ben Affleck’s Batman movie, as well as a planned a solo film. Both those projects were scrapped – but actor Joe Manganiello has shared new details about the movies, as well as the plan for Justice League 2.
“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,” Manganiello told Yahoo! Entertainment. “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.”
He added that the film resembled David Fincher’s The Game, and commented: “It was really cool, really dark, and really hard… I was very excited for it.”
In fact, the Justice League post-credits scene that made it to cinemas was altered from the original version, which teased Affleck’s Batman film, with Deathstroke and Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor talking about the caped crusader – and so setting up the mercenary's plan to take him down. “I thought that scene was gone, but [producer] Jon Berg called me up and said, ‘We’ve reworked the scene and put it back in,’” Manganiello reflected. “I was as surprised as anybody!”
The new post-credits scene set-up a sequel to Justice League instead of Affleck’s movie. “They reshot all of Jesse’s dialogue to tease Justice League Part 2, which was going to be about the Injustice League,” Manganiello said. “All of that dialogue was about Batman originally, and it was changed to lines like ‘Shouldn’t we have a league of our own?’” Zack Snyder recently revealed that his own plan for a Justice League follow-up would have involved Darkseid.
Now that the Snyder Cut – officially titled Zack Snyder’s Justice League – is going to see the light of day, Manganiello’s take on Deathstroke, aka Slade Wilson, has also being given a second chance. The actor explained that he brought elements of the cancelled solo film to his appearance in the HBO Max miniseries.
“The greatest warriors are the ones who walk into battle already dead or assuming that they’re going to die... 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," he said. "I said to Zack, ‘I always envisioned him with a big white Mohawk,’ and he was totally down for it.”
Manganiello also shared his hopes that the mooted solo outing could live again: “Hopefully this will reinvigorate interest from the fans as far as wanting to see this version of the character get told. We landed on an origin story that everyone I’ve ever pitched it to has gone crazy for. There’s been so many versions of this character over the years, and I just wanted to put my own stink on him.”
We’ll have to wait a while longer to see Manganiello’s Deathstroke again, though hopefully not too long, with the Snyder Cut apparently arriving in the next few months. For now, check out our guide to watching DC movies in order to get up to speed.