Now that Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes) has taken over from Ben Affleck in directing The Batman, some pretty major changes are afoot. For one thing, Reeves is completely rewriting the original screenplay written by Affleck and Geoff Johns. In the previous iteration, Joe Manganiello (True Blood, Magic Mike) was to play the villain Deathstroke, as was announced over 10 months ago by Johns in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
Deathstroke, a.k.a., Slade Wilson, is a one-eyed supervillain in the DC Universe who wears a militarized orange/black costume. The character was introduced in the early 1980s as an assassin/mercenary and enemy of Batman, the Geen Arrow, and the Teen Titans.
In a recent interview, Manganiello had the following exchange with The Hollywood Reporter:
I think a lot of people are wondering what the status of Deathstroke is in the next Batman movie now that Ben Affleck is off the project as director. Do you have any information about that?
I don’t. Well, I do but nothing that I can share. I know everything but I can’t say any of it.
Was that imparted in a happy way or a downtrodden way? I’m trying to interpret the fluctuations in your tone.
[Pause.] I’m shooting for a neutral tone.
Any idea when we’ll find out?
It’s not up to me. That’s a good question for Warner Bros. and D.C.
It doesn’t sounds like Manganiello is overly thrilled with the changes in The Batman movie. We can only speculate that his role is being significantly reduced for Reeves’ new version. Who can blame him? Manganiello’s road to the role has been going on for at least a couple of years. His connection to Deathstroke was mentioned as far back as March 2015 when it was rumored he would appear in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad (which didn’t happen). For Manganiello and Deathstroke fans, let’s hope the supervillain’s role doesn’t wind up on the cutting room floor. It remains to be seen; stay tuned.