Although the DC Extended Universe has recovered over the last few years from a rocky start to the franchise, there are numerous stories of films originally planned out for the series that have since been abandoned. These scrapped projects were often a result of unique circumstances, either being disregarded by upper management or having disinterest from the DCEU actors involved with them.
Out of the handful of abandoned projects from Warner Bros, almost none have made as much news over the past couple of years as the rumored Ben Affleck Batman solo movie. After Bruce Wayne's team-up adventures in both 2016's Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and 2017's Justice League, Affleck was meant to star, write, and direct his own solo movie pitted up against Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke, but it never came to life due to Affleck vacating the role of Batman at the time.
Joe Manganiello recently explored some of what this movie's plot would have entailed, including how his character would have wreaked absolute terror upon the Caped Crusader.
In a recent interview with Yahoo, Deathstroke actor Joe Manganiello described the unrealized solo Batman movie in the DCEU as having "a strong David Fincher vibe." Manganiello gave this quote on how Slade Wilson would have dismantled Bruce Wayne's life, both as a leading citizen in the public eye and as a superhero:
"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."
When asked about the tone of the film, Manganiello said "it was really cool, really dark and really hard... I was very excited for it."
WHAT THIS MEANS
Joe Manganiello remains one of the most prominent "what if" stories in the DCEU's history, especially looking on what could have been a thoroughly fulfilling villain in the franchise's unsteady years. Slade Wilson appears to have been planned as a meticulous and detailed antagonist, taking down Bruce Wayne one small piece at a time as he reigned terror over Gotham City.
Although Manganiello is set to finally give more depth to the role of Deathstroke in Zack Snyder's Director's Cut of Justice League next year, there are no indications as to if or when he will reprise the villainous role in any future canon DCEU projects. The actor is still clearly passionate about bringing the iconic Batman villain to life, and it surely seems like it could be only a matter of time before he is truly included as a prominent part of the franchise.