Although Batman is all the rage at the moment for DC fans thanks to Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson, there are thoughts of what could have been with this character in the modern era. Specifically, DCEU star Ben Affleck was initially set to lead his own solo movie after his team-up efforts with other DC icons like Henry Cavill's Superman and Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman.
While teases for this universe were set up in Affleck's other movies, the action star's solo Batman movie that he would've directed and starred in wound up canceled. This outing was set to feature Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke as the main villain after popping up in the post-credits scene of Justice League, although this plotline never came to be.
Manganiello has spoken often about his willingness to play the role in full, having shared public support for this scrapped movie as well as the Snyderverse in the past. Now, as fans get more looks into what Affleck's Batman movie would have been like, Deathstroke returns to the limelight thanks to a newly released image.
Deathstroke Shown in Original Batman Movie Art
Concept artist Keith Christensen shared concept art on Instagram featuring Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke from Ben Affleck's canceled The Batman movie.
This art gives Deathstroke his classic orange and silver mask with an upgraded design, as the villain wears an armored tactical suit adorned with weapons and ammo. He sports a pistol in each hand and two swords hanging from his back.
Christensen included the following caption along with the image, as well as sneaking #joemanganiello among the hashtags.
"My design for Deathstroke from the Ben Affleck version of The Batman."
Slade Wilson Comes to Life for The Batman
Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke originally played a key role in the DCEU's future, particularly when Ben Affleck's Batman played a major part in the originally planned slate. He was such an important part that he would have found himself with upgraded tech and a new suit that makes him even more formidable for his first real time in the franchise.
While the reasoning behind the upgrade is unknown, fans likely would have seen Deathstroke evolve as a villain as he actually made his mark as a DCEU character. This suit even looks similar to the recently released tactical Batman suit seen in other concept art, potentially teasing a round of one-upping between the two.
Regardless of the details, this new tactical outfit would have given Deathstroke an exciting set of gear in his battle against Affleck’s Batman. Whether he joins the story in the future is still a mystery, but there is a solid foundation to use for his villain if he does.
Matt Reeves’ The Batman is currently playing in theaters. Affleck will return as Batman in The Flash, which debuts on June 23, 2023.